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Dennis Foy (closed)

November 5th, 2008 · No Comments


For those of you who are regular readers of Cleaned My Plate, you’ve probably noticed a theme that runs through many of my dinner reviews: cost. I feel very fortunate to be able to dine in NYC without a corporate expense account or newspaper paying for my dinner tabs. (At press time, Cleaned My Plate had not yet been picked up for syndication.) But that’s one of the main reasons why cost always factors into how I feel about the food a restaurant serves and the experience it provides. I’m always asking myself, “Was it worth it?”

With a recession looming over us like a rain cloud, it was time to put my money where my mouth is and try one of the restaurants courting the penny pincher. Enter Dennis Foy’s $27 two-course prix fixe.

Any review I’ve read of Dennis Foy has mentioned that it’s one of TriBeCa’s best-kept secrets. With only three tables of diners in the restaurant, it might not be just a well-kept secret, but perhaps, a dying one. It’s entirely possible that the new prix fixe menu is meant to woo new diners, not to necessarily keep old ones.

After looking around at the sparsely populated dining room, my friend leaned into the table and whispered with a smile, “We better have some really good service!” It was certainly gracious, and fairly professional, but I wouldn’t put it in the “really good” category.

Before Dennis Foy rolled out its budget-conscious prix fixe, appetizers ranged from $8-$14 and entrees from $22-$28. Paying $27 for a choice of appetizer and entrée from the original menu was clearly a bargain for my wallet. As it turned out, my taste buds paid the price.

The appetizer described as a Warm Goat Cheese Tart was in fact, served cold. Foy’s version cleverly substitutes robust tomato confit for dough, but that wasn’t enough to rescue the dish. Poor quality cheese and a sprinkling of store bought breadcrumbs (yes, I’m talking about the kind that comes in a blue canister) were shameful.

While none of our other dishes were as egregiously dishonorable as the tart, they were mundane at best. The Day Boat Scallops and Seared Red Snapper were reminiscent of meals I’ve made in my own kitchen, their moderate success never deserving of repetition. In short, fine but forgettable.

The homemade pastas were the only displays of culinary accomplishment, though their preparations did nothing to bolster their merit. Gnocchi were firm, yet pillow-like. They were primed for simple goodness, but were instead doused in flavorless garlic and sage dressing.

The Classic Veal Bolognese made with ribbons of handmade fettuccini deserved credit for its sauce-to-pasta ratio, but for a dish that’s meant to be hearty, it was devoid of robustness. Parmesan cheese wasn’t offered with the pasta; not quite shameful, but far from acceptable.

I had never eaten at Dennis Foy before the $27 prix fixe was introduced and I cannot compare the quality of the two menus. On this particular evening, we were lured by the promise of fine dining at a reduced cost. In the end, we got what we paid for.

Dennis Foy
313 Church Street
New York, NY 10013

Neighborhood: TriBeCa

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