The Upper West Side is often deemed a culinary waste. A few good restaurants scattered into the mix of extremely mediocre ones. For brunch, I generally find myself making the short trek up to the W. 80s or taking a necessary subway trip elsewhere.
On this particular Saturday, I went against my best judgment and decided to try Luce, an Italian spot with white table cloths 1 block from my apartment. They advertise $6 cocktails and complimentary coffee, so I was lured. I should’ve known better that the cheaper spots (not in Alphabet City or Brooklyn) are usually a hoax.
I ordered my mimosa, followed by coffee a few minutes later, which the waiter didn’t even ask if I’d like. Fine. I ordered crab cakes with poached eggs spinach and hollandaise. My first mistake was to assume that this dish would be prepared Benedict style like most restaurants that offer this same dish.
It arrived with two over cooked poached eggs sitting above a pile of wilted spinach, drowning in hollandaise next to a breaded and fried puck that they attempt to pass off as a crab cake. I cut into the disc to reveal a dark grey inside containing some mystery meat. Since one portion to the meal was a bust, I turned to the eggs. Both poached eggs as over cooked, revealing a hard yolk inside. I rarely send dishes back, but this was unacceptable. The waiter, mad I called him away from the soccer game on TV, told me I should ask for it runny. I then said, poached eggs by definition are runny. He pouted and turned away.
My dish came back, with two new eggs and the exact same half bitten into crab cake. They didn’t even have the decency to make a new plate. I’ve watched Waiting… one too many times (a movie where they pull awful pranks on customers), as I sit here reluctantly staring at my plate of new, correctly poached eggs, old crab cake, wilted salad, and cold potatoes. I’m already dreaming of stopping back at the diner on the corner. Chug my mimosa and get the hell out of here. Thanks for confirming that if it’s empty for brunch, soccer’s in TV in a white cloth dining room, and the drinks are cheap… stay away. Oh and also, enjoy the flies swirling around your head, they’re everywhere.
Luce – 2014 Broadway – New York, NY