POST BY ANNE JOHNSON
New Food Cafe at the New Museum.
THE CHALLENGE: AFC editor Paddy Johnson gave me 40 bucks to spend at four art museums in New York — 10 dollars per café. Where will I have my best meal? After a week of visiting museums, I have a few results to share.
The award for best food goes to MoMA's Café 2, even though only about four dishes are less than ten bucks. The soup for $6.50 with escarole, parmigiano, lemon, and mint was delicious.
Even with a serving smaller than a cup of coffee, it was still better than the soup bar at PrÃªt-a-Manger around the corner from the museum. If I had friends with me, each with $10, we might actually be able to come up with a full meal.
Admission to the museum is required (free admission for art students in the city, including NYU — finally something useful for my tuition) and a 10% service charge is added to your bill at the café. I guess that's what you have to pay for actual plates and glasses.
â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜†â˜† Good food, but so expensive you'll have to limit it to special occasions or when your boss picks up the tab. Thanks Paddy.
More challenge results after the jump.
The huge cafeteria serves every kind of palate, from sushi to pasta to burgers to veggies. Ten bucks bought me a pound's worth of pasta and peas, butternut squash and apples, and olives from the salad bar. The pasta was nothing special, the squash dish tasted like baby food that someone just forgot to blend up for me, and the olives . . . well, the olives were good.
A fellow diner said the restaurant is “convenient and worthwhile” and that her $19 dinner from the salad bar was “cheaper than anything in the neighborhood.” Both statements I'd have to disagree with.
If I could pass for 12-years old, the kid's special — a sandwich, fries, an apple, and milk for $8 – looked like a pretty good deal to me. And it comes in a taxi-shaped tray.
â˜…â˜…â˜†â˜†â˜† Wide selection.
The Whitney Museum
The Whitney Museum’s Sandwiched café looked promising on account of the fact that as part of the Union Square Hospitality Group, the menu is a compilation of sandwiches from venerated New York City restaurants such as the Gramercy Tavern. I went with the lemon pancakes with honey roasted pear compote which seemed like a good bet for $8.50 plus tax.
The weren’t. The three, small microwaveable “pancakes” tasted like rubber and the pears and syrup did nothing to hide that. Neither did the water in my insanely small plastic cup. Neither did the view: it’s just a concrete wall and a wooden sculpture of film cases I mistook for moving equipment.
But maybe I made a wrong turn with the brunch menu. Hyperallergic publisher Veken Gueyikian found the grilled chicken sandwich satisfactory, seeing as the only other option in the area is the hot dog cart outside.
â˜…â˜†â˜†â˜†â˜† For the possibility of tasty sandwiches.
The New Museum
The New Museum's café, New Food, does not live up to its name. Bacon and cheddar cheese sandwiches are neither inventive nor fresh. Out of the four sandwich options available, all for $8.50 plus tax, this was the server's suggestion. It tasted like its description.
But at least they have their own hot pink disposable cups that pop from a dining area full of amoeba-shaped tables and chairs made of seatbelts. It’s important that patrons can look chic while downing their overpriced goods.
â˜…â˜†â˜†â˜†â˜† At least you get to look at works from the Skin Fruit exhibit instead of a stone wall while you eat your crappy food.