All Reader Reviews of...
45 W. 81st St., New York, NY, 10024
nr. Columbus Ave.
Amazing meal on UWS
By felby on 5/29/2009
had an amazing meal! beautiful room and attentive service
UWS dining at its finest!
By Kain279 on 8/29/2008
I don't know where my fellow reviewers ate, but it was most certainly not at eighty one! I wholeheartedly reccomend this restaurant to anyone serious about food, wine, or anything in-between. On my most recent visit, I tried the scallop and foie gras ravioli which melted in my mouth in a decadent harmony. I also sampled their poached duck breast. The breast was cut into two skinless strips and laid upon a rich corn puree dotted with bits of chorizo. Wild spinach and mushrooms formed a uniform line up the center of the plate. Wonderful and inventive as a whole. For dessert, I had the corn bread pudding, not too sweet with corn (yes corn) ice cream!! All in all, I'll be dining there weekly, hope to see you there!
Best of the west
By rschott on 2/29/2008
Food is awsome, space is beautiful, service is friendly and professionsl. Have the Lamb shank for 2 if you can find a partner and the scallop and fioe gras ravioli is to die for. Ed Brown is a superstar chef who i suspect will make an even bigger name for himself now that he has his own place! Go now while you can still get a table!!!!
Wonderful service and incredible food
By cvierra on 2/29/2008
From start to finish we had a fantastic dining experience. What a delightful addition to the neighborhood. They were very friendly, patient, and accomadating with the constant change in the size of our party (6 to 4, then to 7). The menu is creative and delicious. We had the sweetbreads, fois gras, winter salad, calamari, and tuna tartare to start. Everyone loved what they chose. Next time I want to try the pork belly. For entrees we tried - the lamb 3 ways (YUM!!), sirlon, hamachi and the black bass. Chef Ed Brown came out to our table when our entrees were served and shaved fresh black truffles on each of our dishes. Pricey - but what a delight! We decided to skip on dessert, but had some of the petit fours - just the perfect finish to a decadent meal. The menu is on the pricier side, but well worth the taste and experience. I would recommend this restaurant if your willing to trek to the UWS side for a business dinner, special occasions , or even a nice date night in the neighborhood. They have a great bar area to sit and have a drink as well.
Best of the 3 new UWS Hautes
By famished on 2/25/2008
Understated, cool vibe without being cold, 81 out classes both Dovetail and Bar Boulud. Decor - great comfy bar area with lounge seating/table up front, orange velvety dining room with space. Service- unobtrusive, professional, efficient, smiles, too! Food- Tuna Tartare Tasting: outrageously good, Foie Gras Terrine: really good, but really small!, Cod main: nice hunk of fish, Lamb 3 Ways: a plate licker. Did not attempt dessert, petit four good enough. Wine: made fun, informative and interesting by a very cool and energetic Bev Director. Someone did their UWS homework, perfectly tuned to the hood and you can tell they appreciate your biz and expect you to come back (with or without your parents). A tad pricey and a bit tight with the bread (only say this b/c the damn butter was so good).
Life is unfair
By VaninaG on 7/2/2009
81 deserves better than this. I have been there at least seven times, and I wonder why this restaurant is so underrated, compared to an Upper West Side rival like Dovetail (which is, in one word, awful). The service is impeccable, the meat is always topnotch, (the hanger steak is succulent and I have a dreamy remembrance of the cÃ´te-DE-boeuf). The desserts are excellent; the wine list is reasonably priced and diverse, the decor is cozy yet fun, the cocktails are inventive... their risottos are creamy and copious, their crabe cake special one night was amazingly lumpy, fresh, and flavorful, with the perfect balance to enhance the crab without overpowering it. The amuse-bouche of orange and olive salad was a rapture. What else can one ask for? Is it that NOT waiting an hour for a table makes it feel too little exclusive? Lastly, the recently added bar menu items, like the steak sandwich or the po'boy, even though a little too much loaded with a nonetheless zesty mayonnaise, make for a fine, unexpensive and substantial meal, for those who complain about the size of the portions. 81 is the Upper West Side gem.
A Wonderful Experience
By tcorri on 2/4/2009
A lovely experience, from the friendly greeting to the warm, cozy and pleasingly quiet and softly lit room. The waiter was charming, helpful and extremely knowledgable. Each of the 8 to 10 appetizers and mains were tempting because they contained unique ingredients or combinations. The appetizers and 3 out of 4 mains were outstanding including the vegetarian "cauliflauer steak." Desserts were truly exceptional, as was an incredible cheese plate - which could have been a bit more generous -mainly because each selection was so delicious and four of us shared it. While this isn't a place for budget dining, I don't mind the cost when the dishes are so skillfully and inventively composed of such superior ingredients. Given the warm, quiet and cozy atmosphere - it's a great place to dine when you want to talk to your dining companions, rather than be entertained by your fellow diners.
Portions too small
By ellen5181 on 8/2/2008
I thought the food was very good, properly cooked, we all had seafood and not everyone knows how to cook that in this city. I thought the blend of flavors in each dish were tasty, and everything seemed well seasoned. You tasted things and they blended together propely. My biggest issue had to do with the portions. Everyone in my party, inlcuding me, left feeling like the portions could have been larger...especially taking account of the price. I did think the decor was pretty and there was a fun elegant buzz once inside. Seems like what you'd expect for a hotel restaurant. Guess they assume people come for a one shot deal. I live here and don't need to go back.
Overpriced, slow service, average food - not worth it.
By SS2UWS on 5/11/2008
Service was terrible. it took over 30 minutes for our drinks to arrive. While waiting, the wine we ordered for dinner was brought over. The foie gras served was the worst foie gras I've ever had - anywhere. Risotto and asparagus appetizers were good, as were the cod and sea bass entrees. However, the entrees took forever to come. Overall, overpriced and not worth the hype, which is a shame since there is such a dearth of good restaurants in the neighborhood.
never again/ over-priced
By aquagirl22 on 2/1/2010
First of all, a restaurant without any customers is nothing but sad. If I am going to spend my hard earned money in this dismal economy on an expensive meal, it had better be good. Not the case at 81. I felt as though, I didn't get any value for my money. All the food was average at best. I wan't impressed with anything. The ravioli was the only positive part of our meal. I wish I stayed home and ordered pizza. Not going back
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