Double Crown and I have a love-hate relationship. At the best of times, we’re comrades in arms, partners in a Hendricks and cucumber crime, curious mashups of Brit love and commonwealth character… at the worst of times, we’re the most unpleasant kind of neighbours – civil, but wholly indifferent. Living, as we do, two floors apart, it’s hard for me not to have an opinion on Double Crown. Unfortunately though, it’s not an entirely consistent one.
Menu: First off, I love the menu. Executive Chef Brad Farmerie has done an outstanding job and his blog is well worth a visit. The broad theme has been described as “Colonial inspired South East Asian” and if you think that’s a mouthful, you should try the food. Imagine a bold collection of flavors, colors, textures and cultures, artfully tied together in a fusion of the familiar and the unknown – it’s truly an adventure for the palate. The menu draws influences from a number of different cuisines, including Indian, Cantonese, Japanese, Singaporean, Szechuan and yes, British. The result is a surprisingly fantastic ensemble of creative and beautifully executed dishes.
I’ve enjoyed many a dinner party, devoured multiple brunches, downed countless cocktails and even nommed several afternoon appetizers at Double Crown. My top three favorite dishes are the Singapore Laksa, the Roast Pork Belly and the Duck Steamed Buns. These easy-to-make, tough-to-master dishes are flawlessly prepared at Double Crown and are garnished, enhanced and flavored with an amazing set of herbs, spices and other touches that make them uniquely outstanding.
Ambience: The second big thing to note about Double Crown (and this could be a plus or a minus, depending on your mood) is that it is incredibly trendy. The AvroKO designed restaurant space oozes edgy character. An outdoor “garden” of white picket tables and planters decorate the entrance and work perfectly with the crazy busy, but also crazy beautiful, Bowery sidewalk to create a gastropub feel. Step inside and you’re greeted by a gleaming bar to your left and a maze of beautiful mahogany tables to your right.
On a typical evening, the dark interior is punctuated by splashes of candlelight, glowing lanterns and Robin Hood-esque chandeliers. The effect is a mix of intrigue, romance and edgy glamour. Walk further into the large recesses of Double Crown and you’ll come to an ante room with more tables and a “secret door” that leads to Madame Geneva, the bar next door.
So with all this awesomeness, why the debate? Well, the vibe is refreshing, the place is gorgeous. The food is good, yes, the menu creative. But really, Double Crown is kind of like REALLY overpriced. The dishes are pretty tiny and by the time you’ve ordered a few of them plus a drink, you’ve easily spent $70. I’m all for a fantastic dining experience, but just stepping into this place will burn a hole in your pocket.
Besides that, Double Crown can be really inconsistent on the actual food. Sometimes the fantastic ideas don’t follow through on the execution. Sometimes, they fail miserably. Like the spicy apple, lotus root, and lily bulb salad I had the other day. It just didn’t taste as cool as it looked. You have to be careful about what you order because there are a lot of artfully worded red herrings on this menu.
And one more thing, the service here can be really iffy. The waiters and waitresses are slow, forgetful and yknow what, they’re really just kind of snobby. That’s not the kind of service you should be getting at $70 per head. So.. the verdict is out. I want to love you Double Crown but there are still a few things holding me back.
Details: http://www.yelp.com/biz/double-crown-new-york Damage: $50-$70 for dinner with a drink. $30 per head for brunch.
Disclaimer: I actually eat here relatively often and my intention is not to poo-pooh it. If reading this has piqued your palate or even if you’re just slightly intrigued, I would encourage you to check it out. Brunch is a lot more reasonable, with a fantastic $20 pre-fixe ($32 with bloody marys), so consider grabbing a outdoor table and re-connecting with your inner hipster at Double Crown.