Cinema Cafe - Take 2

There are some restaurants that I really want to like for various reasons, but just can't. Whether they have a great atmosphere, great location, outdoor seating, etc. Cinema Cafe is one of those. It has such's 2 blocks from my apartment, has great outdoor seating with very amusing people watching (at the prime intersection of Murray Hill), and a menu with a wide variety of food. Problem is, every time I've gone there, I've found the portions to be on the smaller size and very overpriced, and the service to be subpar.

When SS and I decided to meet there for brunch one Sunday morning, a few things went through my mind. 1) I hadn't been there for brunch in years. 2) I hadn't written about Cinema Cafe on Miss Menu. 3) I saw signs in the windows showing recession specials and prix fixe options. 4) It was pouring down rain and it was so close to both of our apartments.

Ok, maybe it was time to give Cinema a "Take 2." Even at the peak brunch hour, we were able to get a table with no wait. Things were looking up! I noticed that the prices were more in line with a normal brunch menu, so that was encouraging too. The brunch menu features an entree, a cocktail, and coffee/tea for $13.95. The same entrees are available on the regular menu for $10.95 and $11.95.

Not really in the mood to drink, I decided to order off the regular menu. I went with the wild mushroom & gruyére omelette, with shiitake, portobello, crimini, and button mushrooms. I am a huge fan of gruyere and pretty much order any dish I see that features this great cheese. The mushroom variety was a nice change from the standard button-only mushrooms. All the brunch items are served with home fries and seven-grain toast. The home fries were delicious...had a nice crunchy texture on the outside, and had onions and red peppers mixed in for a little extra flavor.

SS ordered the brunch menu and started with a screwdriver and coffee. She got the four seasons egg white omelette, with spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, and tomatoes. Pretty straightforward dish, but she enjoyed it a lot.

The service was a little water glass remained empty for most of the meal. But, I think they may have been short a server or two. Our server was friendly and very apologetic for running around so much. The ambiance is just so-so. The cinema theme gets sort of lost in the shuffle unless you're there at night, when the large projection screen showing black and white silent films is more apparent. If you have the choice, opt for a table to the right of the bar in the "lounge" area...very comfortable arm chairs!

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by my most recent experience at Cinema Cafe. Guess it helps to go in with lowered expectations, but I will definitely keep it in mind for future meals.

505 Third Avenue
@ 34th Street
Menu Pages listing


Matt G said…
I wasn't such a big fan of their sliders. There were only 2 per serving, with hardly any meat and a rock hard bun.