My husband and I went to Empire State South for dinner this past Saturday. Earlier in the day, I attempted to make a reservation, but the response we received from the restaurant was that they were "fully committed" but patio seating was first come first served. This led us to believe this places really was worth venturing out for! Our expectations were high. We were determined to get one of these "coveted" patio seats. We pulled into the entrance and no where was a sign that said "park here, validation provided, etc." So we parked in an adjacent garage and paid $7. Only later did we find out our parking would have been validated at the restaurant. The restaurant should also provide this information when making reservations, etc.
Now... on to the drinks. The menu is structured fine--starters, entres, sides, etc. The wine list was also fine--they also provided information on a few house cocktails, which sounded interesting. My husband ordered a house cocktail and it came in the tiniest little glass--it was about a shots-worth of liquid. I ordered a margarita with Espolon tequila. I expected the margarita to be made expertly, but it had way to much cointreau/grand marnier... you could not taste lime juice or the tequila--only a heavy orange liquor taste.
The menu described to food in such a way that it was difficult to decipher what you were even ordering. Don't get me wrong, we like good food, we like creativity, but reading a full description of an entree and not even knowing what it is, is a bit off-putting. This should have been our signal to run for the door.
We ended up ordering a charcuterie platter for 1, the braised octopus, the coulotte (steak--who knew?), the soft shell crab, the farm egg, the pork belly, and a garlic bread "compote". The charcuterie platter was ok. Basic meats on a wood cutting board. The grilled bread was the best part. The meats were ok, but nothing to write home about. The braised octopus was chewy and rubbery. Not at all good. It was served cold--by the description you would never know this. It was an awful dish that we didn't even eat. (you would think our waiter might offer to take it off the bill??) The coulotte (steak) was rubbery and chewy as well. Where is Chops when you need a good piece of meat?? Do NOT go to Empire SS for a good steak--you are not going to find it. There was absolutely no flavor to this piece of chewy meat. The farm egg was the best course--although not spectacular because it was served luke warm. In fact, nothing came out hot. The pork belly was tough to cut and chew and was devoid of flavor. Finally the garlic bread compote was actually rice that came in a fancy little iron pot with a lid. All we tasted was rice and lemon. No garlic, no bread, no crunch.
Over all, the meal was a total disappointment. Do NOT waste your money here. We had a mid-range bottle of wine, two cocktails that we didn't even like, and horrible food for $250.
We left with a bad taste in our mouth--literally.