TFAW Reunite in NYC — The Wacky Dinner at Serra Bistro

For our one dinner together in NYC, we wanted to use a new site to book a reservation.  We were recently invited to join new website Village Vines. Currently only operating in NYC, Village Vines partners with several restaurants to offer discounts to customers when making a reservation through their site.  What’s the catch? The discount costs $10. Depending how many people are in your party, the $10 cost is usually worth it with the restaurant discount.  Our account was credited with $10 to get us started, so we were able to book a reservation at no charge. The other benefit of booking through Village Vines is that the discount is supposed to be “discreetly” (their word, not ours) applied to the check at the end of the meal. Keep reading to see how that played out!

We both searched the site to find the best deal that met our needs and decided to try Serra Bistro. We made a reservation for five people – the two of us plus A-Tooch’s BF plus Miss Yunks’ host and hostess for the weekend, E + Fiance. We were excited to try a fancier restaurant than we’d normally pick without the 30% discount. Kind of a bizarre NYC location (32nd St between Madison and 5th Ave) and choc-full of tourists and Italians, but hey if the food is good we don’t care about anything else.

The decor of Serra Bistro was very elegant. Think white cloth tablecloths, dim lighting and many servers to customers ratio. We were immediately greeted by the manager who was very honest with us. He warned us that we’d love the food but the service was only mediocre. We thought he was joking – what restaurant admits that before you even order? We quickly learned it was no joke! The food was amazing and the service was less than stellar. After attempting to order three or four different dishes that our waiter said they were out of, half of our party ended up with their second choice. Oh well.

We munched on a bread basket while we waited about 20-30 minutes for our salad course. The bread was average bread but the butter was real and soft, just the way we like it.

Miss Yunks ordered the Green Goddess salad - Thinly sliced romaine lettuce with cucumber, Granny Smith apples, black olives, hard boiled eggs, avocado and pistachio tossed with Lemon Dressing.  It was delicious! With such a random combination of ingredients it was a risky salad, but everything combined beautifully and her tastes buds were ecstatic. This is definitely a salad worth re-creating at home and bringing for a work lunch.

A-Tooch ordered the Arugala and Endive salad – Baby arugula tossed in balsamic vinaigrette with endive, pear, pignoli nuts and shaved Parmigiano. This salad was also unique and delicious.

Hostess E ordered the Beets and Carrots - Roasted beets and carrots tossed in Dijon mustard vinaigrette topped with warm goat cheese and mache greens. A beautiful presentation and a third unique taste, this salad was also a winner in our books.

Host Fiance ordered the Trio of Lamb, Beef, and Chicken Sliders – 3 mini burgers with caramelized onions on mini brioche with wasabi mayo, curry and cumin. [Saved by the Bell style Time Out here: Miss E attempted to order the Lamb burger for her main course. Our server told her they were out of the lamb burger. However, there was no problem serving the mini lamb burger. Bizarre? Yeah we thought so too...] He enjoyed his sliders!

For Miss Yunks’ entree, she order the Gnocchi - Potato gnocchi in a creamy porcini mushroom sauce. Miss Yunks recently discovered she likes the taste of mushrooms, but not the texture. This mushroom sauce was perfect – all the flavor with no actual mushrooms!  This dish was so delicious she struggled to eat as much as she could but failed to finish.  She’d happily eat this meal again.

A-Tooch ordered the Green Pea RisottoArborio rice risotto with green pea puree and aged parmesan. Somehow risotto is always tastier when prepared in a restaurant rather than at home.  This risotto was no exception.  We couldn’t have been happier with our ordering picks!

Even though we were stuffed from dinner, we felt we must order dessert to write a complete review.

We wanted to order the profiterole but they were out of that also – so we opted for the Lavender Crème Brulee ”Serra” with Almond. The creme brulee was more like a flan in consistency, and it tasted like potpourri, but that should be expected when ordering a lavender flavored dessert. The lavender flavor was very strong. We like pudding-style desserts so ate this creme brulee.  The more impressive part of the this dish is sitting on the left of this photo.  Blood Orange Gelato!

Eventually, it was time to end our fabulous dinner and get our bill.  We eagerly awaited to see if our discount would be discreet. We slowly opened the black check book and saw…no discount had been taken! We’re not shy. Miss Yunks brought the bill to our server and quietly explained, “We made this reservation on Village Vines.”  And our server replied, “Oh I didn’t know!”  That’s all that had to be said. He returned our bill with the 30% discount. Dinner was still on the pricey side, but without the discount we never would have eaten here.

Serra Bistro offers a unique menu full of options with delicious flavors and we’d all happily dine here again!  If you’re in the NYC area, check it out!

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One Comment

  1. MelissaNibbles
    Posted November 19, 2010 at 5:26 PM | Permalink

    The risotto sounds delicious. I would’ve spoken up too. I’m glad they were nice about it :)

One Trackback

  1. By Best of 2010: Our Top Foodie Experiences on December 30, 2010 at 6:03 AM

    [...] And we’ll both always remember our dinner at Serra Bistro! [...]

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