Thursday, February 19, 2009

Metro's Massive Menu

For JP's 30th birthday celebration, his wife MSP came to me for some suggestions of restaurants that could accommodate around 15 people. It didn't have to be anywhere swanky, but she was hoping for something pretty reasonable. I threw around a few ideas, but we ended up coming back to Metro Cafe & Wine Bar.


Three years ago a group of us wanted to go out to dinner for New Year's Eve and I came across Metro Cafe's NYE prix-fixe special (2 years pre-Miss Menu!). We had a really nice experience that night. The service was really friendly and helpful, the food was simple and tasty, and the whole menu is reasonably priced. But, I hadn't been back since and was eager to try it again now that I've become a bit more of a foodie!

Because we were such a large party, MSP reserved the mezzanine level. It was perfect for this kind of event and for this sized group. There was one server who was waiting on only us. She was friendly, very organized, and very patient.

As we started looking over the huge menu, it seemed like it had a bit of an identity crisis.
There were the usual slew of appetizers that can be found on a lot of wine bar menus: hummus and pita, fried calamari, artichoke dip, etc. But then there was a whole dim sum section. I love dim sum as much as the next person, but it seemed out of place in a modern wine bar. Then, there was an entire section devoted to Kobe beef items. Guess they're able to tout the fact that they can appeal to all kinds of palates!

Everyone started with a few appetizers. I shared the hummus appetizer, which came with pita wedges, celery, and cucumbers. I also tried RS's sesame chicken bites that were served with a honey mustard sauce. The chicken was light and crispy, and both the batter and the sauce were full of flavor. Other people ordered the fried calamari, vegetable chili, and salmon tartare with avocado...and everyone seemed to really enjoy their starters.

With such a vast menu, I debated for entirely too long what to order. Their pizzas looked good, as did their various burgers, but I ended up going with the grilled chicken paillard entree. It was flash seared with olive oil, and served with mashed potatoes and broccoli. Despite how plain that sounds, it was actually really good. The chicken was cooked well and both the broccoli and the potatoes were well-seasoned. Everyone else seemed to enjoy their entrees, and a few raved about the sweet potato fries, the lamb burger, and the mac & cheese.

As I mentioned above,
the prices are very reasonable. For only $60, I was able to split 2 bottles of wine, share 2 appetizers, and have a big entree. And, that was including tax and tip!

Metro Cafe & Wine Bar has a lot of perks. It's a great option for a big group dinner, or for a great glass of wine with something to nibble on. The staff is helpful and accommodating. What it doesn't have, though, is a "wow" factor. This may be why the bar area was packed, while most of the tables were empty on a Saturday night.

Metro Cafe & Wine Bar
32 East 21st street
b/t Park Avenue South & Broadway
website
Menu Pages listing

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