We don't usually post bad reviews of restaurants in this space because, really, what's the point? Unless it's a heavily-hyped place that fails, and fails badly, to deliver on its promise (and/or premise), and so deserves a warning before you go dropping a pile of your hard-earned dollars on a bad meal, it's so much more useful and fun to tell you about good places to eat, of which there are literally hundreds all over this beautiful city of ours. BUT, we're going to make an exception for Indie Food and Wine, a handsome, comfortable, casual Lincoln Center restaurant which opened last fall, right off the lobby of the nice new(ish) movie theater on 65th Street (the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center, to be precise) and, for reasons we can''t understand, sells terrible food.
Jason Denton Makes an Attempt with Indie Food and Wine
Indie Food and Wine is a Jason Denton project, a man who knows more than a thing or two about serving tasty, satisfying meals to large numbers of people, at his 'ino empire, which includes 'inoteca on the Lower East Side, and Corsino in the West Village, two reliable favorites. The menu at Indie Food and Wine is appealing, a mixture of salads, sandwiches, and entree-ish "cafe plates"; the prices reasonable, the service friendly, the design interesting, and the location is ideal for anything you might be doing at Lincoln Center. It could even be a solid neighborhood place for Upper West Side locals, including Glenwood's Grand Tier and residents at The Regent. All of which is why it's so genuinely sad, so utterly baffling, why they would serve you such uniformly awful stuff.
This Promising Lincoln Center Restaurant Falls Short of Upper West Side Standards
We've eaten at Indie Food and Wine four times since it opened, always hoping that they've gotten their act together, rooting for the kitchen to figure it out because, really, it has so much promise. But each meal has, if anything, been progressively worse. Just last week, for example, we stopped in before seeing (the by the way very good) Safety Not Guaranteed, and walked out hungry because the food was, basically, inedible. Take the roast beef sandwich (please!). This was two thickly-cut, gray slabs of bone-dry meat and a few limp pieces of watercress on a baguette. The menu had promised cucumber, and "jus" (not that this cut could have even delivered on that), and even pickled-horseradish creme fraiche, and we received none of it. Just the saddest sandwich you've ever seen. For $12.
Dear everyone at Indie Food and Wine: there is no way you would buy this roast beef, to bring home and serve to your family, if you saw it a deli, so why are you giving it to customers? Where's the love, people? And we couldn't even choke down the "special" side of bean-and-tomato salad because it was so salty (it was also refrigerator cold, as are all the sides and salads we've ever had here, which is always a bad idea, taste-wise). Again, did anyone taste this before it was served? And, if so, did you actually expect anyone to eat it? Who's paying attention here? When we complained (which we almost never do, but this was ridiculous), the manager was gracious and professional, and refused to let us pay for our (mostly uneaten) meal, but that's not what we want, to be notcharged for bad food. We want Indie Food and Wine to be at least decent and, in our dreams, actually good. Please.
Want to Take a Chance on Indie Food & Wine?
Indie Food and Wine is located on 65th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam, off the lobby of the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center, and beneath Lincoln Center's roof-top Illumination Lawn, above. Indie Food and Wine is open every day from 8:00 a.m. to midnight. For more information and a complete Indie Food and Wine menu, please see the restaurant's website, here.