45 W. 81st St., New York, NY, 10024
nr. Columbus Ave.
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).
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.
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!!!!
By rburns22 on 4/24/2008
This Ed Brown needs to go back to culinary school and while he's there, he should take a course in hospitality management. The food (all of it) the tuna tartar & the lamb 3 ways...ALL incredibly bland. The lamb was dry. (it was literally barely edible) My wife and I finished our entrees and it took 15 minutes to get the plates cleared. Come on, is this brain surgery? What is going on in the kitchen..it is like the Bermuda Triangle..people go in and don't come out??? The place was empty and the service was still slow. The prices are ridiculous. They will shave truffles on anything for an additional $42.00 Gimme a break. If I was Ed Brown, I'd take my name off the place. Refund Please.....Never again
By kaysmith22 on 4/25/2008
I am NEVER going back. The menu is really limited and the portions are small. I had dinner there with 8 people and none of us were happy. The service was really slow. The appetizers came out right away and we sat there with empty plates in front of us for 20 minutes. The entrees took at least 40 minutes after that. What was with the delay? The place was empty. All of the people at the front desk did not make us feel welcome. Fool me once shame on you, Fool me twice.......
By melcanu on 4/25/2008
a big let down, from start to finish. The food was all incredibly bland. I had the Osso Bucco...really dry and bland. We left hungry with empty wallets
By avastern66 on 4/25/2008
I took 4 important clients to 81. The menu is really limited. We had a hard time ordering. Service was slow. (The waiter blamed it on the kitchen) My boss' were shocked by the prices when I submitted the bill. 81 was a all around bad experience. PLease learn from my mistake of going there!
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.
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.
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!