I met two of my friends for dinner after work in Bryant Park last week. They both happened to be in the area and I thought it would be easiest to come there as opposed to all of us having to commute and meet at some other location. Usually when I go out to dinner, I know exactly where I’m going and in most cases, what I’m going to order, too. Since I am not too familiar with the Midtown dining scene, I decided we would just survey the perimeter until we found a place. After walking around for several blocks, I realized that we had made a major mistake. All the eateries in the neighborhood are geared towards theater-goers and Times Square tourists, which means they’re way overpriced and probably gross, too.
After realizing how uninspiring our options were and how loud our tummies were growing, we settled for Virgil’s BBQ.
The dim lighting and wood-paneled walls gave the restaurant the air of a saloon that I found very relaxing after a full workday. To start, I ordered this beer. The Victory Monkey Ale was fruity, light and refreshing. And unfortunately, it was the best part of the meal.
The menu consisted of some barbecued items, some grilled items, and the traditional southern sides. Now, I don’t mind predictable menus at the least, but they have to be done right (like Acme, my favorite barbecue place in Williamsport, PA). I ordered the Kansas City Fried Chicken which came with two sides and cornbread. The chicken was dripping with oil and over-salted. The sad thing is that I stuffed my face with most of it out of sheer hunger. All those calories consumed without a bit of enjoyment – it just breaks my heart.
The mac and cheese was good but mac and cheese is rarely bad; the coleslaw tasted old, and the cornbread cake was just confusing because it barely even reminded me of cornbread, with its rubbery texture and inexplicably greasy outside. This meal was so, so not worth the $20.50 that I paid for it.
Fran Lebowitz once said that real New Yorkers never go to Times Square. If a New Yorker happens to be there and runs into a friend, they quickly try to come up with an excuse as to their presence there, like, “Oh! I’m just passing by on my way to Staples!” or, “I was just walking to the dry-cleaners and must’ve made the wrong turn!” She was right. If you ever find yourself hungry in Times Square, my advice is leave and find yourself elsewhere. If that’s not an option, walk west til you find 2 Bros Pizza and treat yourself to a ‘dollar slice’.