Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tom's Restaurant - Manhattan, NYC

My friend Wilson, his wife Ing and their friend Fiona from Toronto was in town visiting two weeks ago, so we decided to meet up for dinner. Wilson and Ing now lives in Sdyney and it's been 8 years (back during our college days in Subang Jaya) since I last saw Wilson. I've never met Ing and Wilson also never had the opportunity to meet Kevin, so it was good that we had a chance to meet up.

Initially, we wanted to take them to one of the 'nice and chic' restaurants in either the Hells Kitchen or Greenwhich Village area but decided to have dinner here instead. We figured that there are nice restaurants in Sydney too, so we opted to take them somewhere a lil more touristy, to give them the full NYC experience :P Can you recognise this restaurant?

Here is a close up. Looks familiar? Well, it's Tom's Restaurant, or better known as Monk's Cafe in the ever popular TV sitcom Seinfeld! This is where Jerry and his friends would go to eat, in the show. It's located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, nearby to Columbia University. Early Seinfeld episodes showed the entire neon sign but later on, to avoid paying royalties, the Tom's part of the neon was cropped out, showing only the "RESTAURANT" wraparound.

Ahhhh, the group with our food. Just like the 'Cheers' pub in Boston, the interior looked very little like what we see on the show, as indoor scenes were filmed on a set in California. However, the walls of the restaurant were adorned with Seinfeld memorabilia, taken from the original set. So, how was the food, the service and was it expensive? Well, all five of us ordered from their daily specials. We got to choose a main from 11 different dishes that changes everyday and it comes with a cup of soup and a green salad. I initially ordered Roast Leg of Lamb with Mint Jelly ($10.00) but the waiter came back to tell me that they were out of that. So, I changed my order to Roast Loin of Pork with Apple Sauce ($10.00). I believed Wilson and Fiona also ordered that. After 1 min, the waiter returned, apologised profusely and said that they only have one more serving of Pork left. Also, they were out of Roast Turkey with Cranberry and Stuffing ($10.95), Kevin's order. Sooooo, we all had to look at the menu once again and this is what we had.

Everybody got Cream of Turkey Soup and a Green Salad (part of the daily specials). Kevin took the last order of Roast Loin of Pork with Apple Sauce ($10.00) and chose mixed vegetables and mash potatoes as his side. It looked dry to me but he said it wasn't that bad.

Ing had the Shish Kebab ($14.00) that was served on a bed of rice, with some mixed vegetables. That looked pretty good actually, I believed she liked it.

Wilson and Fiona both had fish, the Broiled Fillet of Sole ($14.00) with potatoes and vegetables for Wilson and the Stuffed Fillet of Sole ($15.00) for Fiona. Her sole was stuffed with crabmeat and baked. I guess both was alright, not the greatest but not bad either.

I ended up having the Stuffed Mushroom Dinner ($12.00) - royal mushroom caps stuffed with crabmeat. Again, it was just alright. Nothing stood out, it was just alright.

Overall, the food wasn't the best but the waiters were really friendly and the price was pretty affordable. I guess it's just the thrill of visiting the 'Seinfeld cafe'. I would recommend the place if you are a big Seinfeld fan. There are many cool memorabilia on the walls and if anything, just to get your photo in front of the restaurant. If you don't really care for Seinfeld, then there are many other diners with better food around town. We had a great time catching up with Wilson and meeting Ing as well as Fiona for the first time. Let's hope it will not be another 8 years before we can go out to dinner again! :D

Tom's Restaurant (Monk's Cafe from Seinfeld)
2880 Broadway (corner of Broadway & 112th Street)
New York, NY 10025
Tel: (212) 864-6137

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