I must admit that there were a few months toward the end of 2010 and into 2011 where I was the sucker that sites like Groupon and Gilt City were hoping to reach. With every new day or week, I seemed to find an “awesome deal” that I had to have. At least once a week, Open Table’s Spotlight Deal was at a restaurant I “had to try” or Gilt City was offering a cheap brunch right by my apartment. My coups accumulated and I found myself having to plan out a bunch of different excursions to make sure I actually used them all before they expired. While I did manage to use all but one(damn you, Teqa, and your crowds), a coupon for the Four Seasons Grill Room was the last one I had left before I cut myself off from my coupon craze. (I still browse, but in an effort to not go bankrupt, have become a lot more picky about actually going through with a purchase.)
The Deal: For 58 dollars, I was able to enjoy 2 cocktails, a half dozen oysters, and 2 appetizers. Not the cheapest deal I ever purchased, but for the iconic Four Seasons, this was a deal and I knew I would never be able to afford a normal dinner here so I figured it would be a chance for me to experience it without completely draining my bank account.
Emily accompanied me, per usual, and we were seated in a booth that seemed rather large for just the 2 of us. Whether it was just a quiet night, or this was just the normal atmosphere they were trying to create, it seemed relatively peaceful inside and it was pretty nice to enjoy a conversation without having to talk over the house music that “energetic” restaurants like to play. We took a look at the cocktail menu first and when I saw that every one was listed at 21 dollars, I knew that 58 dollars was going to take me a lot further than normal. I don’t often venture beyond a Gin and Tonic when it comes to cocktails, just because that is my favorite but I thought I’d get something fancy from their signature drink menu. I ordered a Side Car and Emily a Gin Fizz. As is my luck, I always seem to choose whichever drink comes in a girlier glass than Emily.
I will say though that it did taste delicious. After scanning the appetizers, we settled on the Tuna Sliders, as well as the bacon and carmelized onion pizza. The oysters came first, presented in traditional fashion on a bed of ice and they had 3 different sauces we could try. Since we each got 3, I tried one sauce with each oyster. While all were good, the best was the classic cocktail sauce. We polished off the oysters and the sliders and pizza followed soon after.
The first thing I tried was the pizza and I was immediately sent to appetizer heaven. While I do believe that there is a considerably strong argument out there that you can make anything great, simply by adding bacon, I was still amazed at how something with just a few simple ingredients seemed to be done so perfectly. This is what an appetizer should be. If I were not with someone and in a public place, I would have downed this whole thing in under a minute and not even felt bad about it. I was able to restrain myself, however, and did let Emily eat half of it, although I did have to substitute the tuna sliders in as something to eat to prevent myself from giving in as it tempted me.
Speaking of the sliders, there were three, so we each ate one and split the third in half. I must point out that I think every restaurant in America seems to be ordering their skewers from the same factory these days as I have seen these bamboo twisty knot skewers everywhere I go. The burgers were pretty good and had a kick to them. The one we split seemed to have a lot of spice to it, which I liked but I think was a bit much for Emily. Her full burger also seemed to be a little too spicy for her taste, while my full burger seemed to lack the kick that I enjoyed from the half burger I ate first. While overall, I think we did enjoy them, it seems they were a little inconsistent in flavor. Maybe we would have been better off if we happened to pick the opposite ones we ended up with but “Que Sera, Sera.”
We finished the meal with a few complimentary cookies that were pretty good as well, although we weren’t as enthusiastic about them as the couple next to us. The more vocal of the two exclaiming to the waiter “O my god, I am obsessed with these cookies, like OB-sessed, is there any way we can get more?” This resulted in another set of cookies for their table, plus a third to take home, which made me seriously consider following suit, but I held back. Should I have tried this with the pizza? I guess I will never know. While the meal was already paid for, every “coup” experience I have had somehow manages to handle the settling of the check differently. Most, however, seem to somehow show you a zeroed out bill so that you know what your bill would have been in order to calculate a tip. While I did enjoy taking my time after the meal, I finally had to ask the waiter if we should expect anything, but he said the balance was zero, so I left what I thought was sufficient in cash on the table and we left.
Because I don’t feel like crunching numbers to the exact dollar, nor do I think too many would care if I fudged it by a few dollars, I think our bill would have been around 110 dollars without tax and tip. This means we ended up saving about 40 percent, which was enough for me to feel like it was worth it. Remember we didn’t even look at entrees so while the food and drinks were delicious, know exactly what you are getting yourself into financially if you choose to go.
P.S. The Four Seasons business card pictured above. Four trees from four seasons? Predictable but as can be expected from a place that is supposed to be an NYC staple. B+