|Braised short rib empanadas - with one bite taken.|
The Carlton in the BNY Mellon building is just about as fancy as you can get. Everyone calls you sir, there are white table cloths, the patrons look like aging church-going wasps and the decor is subdued but extremely classy. If I ever had someone I wanted to impress I would probably take them to the Carlton - fortunately I gave up trying to impress people years ago.
The food at this restaurant is really the tops. I would describe the selections as typical continental cuisine, think meat, starch, vegetable. The menu is straightforward and traditional, something grandma would like. What really stands out is the quality of the food. Every dish I've ever had from the Carlton has been well prepared and well presented. The short rib melts in your mouth, the pork has the perfect texture and flavor and somehow, even their nachos don't seem to get soggy when covered in cheese and toppings.
On Thursday they were providing the bar patrons with a free sliver of quesadilla. The quesadilla slivers were wonderful, but not adequate for our passionate stomachs. I split the pulled pork nachos and short rib empanadas with a friend - both were exquisite. In particular, the empanadas stood out. A nice tomato mozzarella filing covered in succulent braised short rib.
Unfortunately, the only other thing that stood out was the extremely poor service we received in the bar area. Menus and drinks had to be ordered 3-4 times. The waitress threw away a glass of ten dollar pinot noir while I was in the bathroom. The waitress also threw away another guest's beer. At most times during our visit our server seemed confused, disoriented and lackadaisical. To her credit, she was very sweet, very cute and very overworked. She even offered to buy me a glass of wine after throwing mine away, and then inadvertently charged me for it when the check came. Sigh.