Café Medi, is the restaurant associated with the “Hotel on Rivington” and you guessed it, it’s on Rivington Street in New York City. Normally I don’t do referrals when it comes to a hotel eatery. However, I did receive quite a few tips about their breakfast and how good it is. Full speed ahead to the “Lower East Side” and Café Medi for my favorite meal of the day, breakfast. Upon reaching my destination I came across a chalkboard already setting me up for what I hope is a good breakfast experience.
As I enter, I see a nice layout. There is a sky-lit atrium and the main dining area comes with a view of a brilliant Spanish tile mural. I finish the short tour, head towards the dining room and the host of the establishment approaches me. He asks if I’m a guest of the hotel or a regular customer. After confirming that I am a regular customer, he ushers me over to a side annex where there are a few small tables. Instead of sitting in a luxurious dining area with pleasant surroundings, I get a tiny table overlooking an empty bar.
Strike one, a customer is a customer, whether they are a guest at the hotel or not. What’s even more aggravating, is that the place is totally empty except for a few people strewed about. As soon as I sit down the host who is also the server asks for my order. I look over the menu and deliberately ignore him at this point. After a few seconds, I ordered a cup of coffee and continue to peruse the breakfast menu. My coffee arrives just as I put my menu down and am ready to order. However, the server decides to walk away.
Strike two, I’m ready to order, don’t walk away from me. The menu is clearly out of my hands and laying on the table. This is “Restaurant 101”. If the menu is closed or not being read go take the order. As I sip my coffee and wonder what just happened, I realize that the coffee is very good. Some time passes and the server returns. Before he asks about the order, “I’ll have the three-egg omelet with bacon, cheddar, and mushrooms, Rye toast, butter and another cup of coffee.” I said. One of the associates arrives with the coffee and pours a much-needed refill into my cup. I continue to sip and a few moments later my food is in front of me.
The presentation is almost perfect. The butter packets are on the plate with my meal, I hate that. I’m not a big fan of toast being on the same plate either, however, I can deal with that. I take my first bite of the omelet and WOW, this is good. The right amount of seasoning is there, along with a perfect melding of the cheddar, bacon and mushrooms. The mushrooms are marinated to perfection and the cheddar is sharp. I dive head-first into the potatoes and there is no disappointment at all. What bothers me, is my coffee cup is empty. No one came to refill my cup or to see how I am doing.
That is a big strike three. Café Medi needs some serious fine-tuning on very basic serving skills. The breakfast is fantastic, everything is cooked to delectable superiority and the coffee is exceptional. However, that’s only part of the experience. It’s hard to enjoy a meal with service that is less than adequate.