Monday, June 01, 2009

DIY restaurant review: Balthazar in NYC (80 Spring St, NY, NY 10012)


The Story:

Saturday night - around 10-something PM, a VIP in the LOS (Life of Sujewa) was upset that I was not putting a sufficient amount of work into celebrating her birthday (I was tired from moving from one part of Brooklyn to another that day, & also was just into hanging out & enjoying the new apartment at that moment, & her birthday was technically not until the next night - even though we did plan on doing something to celebrate it that night - before the chance/request to move a day earlier came from the landlady...), so, anyway, to resolve the situation well we went out & got off the subway at Prince St. area (without any clear plans as to what restaurants, if any, may be open in that neighborhood at that time - about 11:30 PM). The first place we stopped at was a sushi joint, kitchen was closing. They recommended a couple of restaurants down the street, including Balthazar. So, naturally, I immediately got lost, took a wrong turn. Then I decided to give up on eating in that area & tried to get a cab to go to Lower East Side. No cabs were stopping, walk light came on. So we decided to walk another block & see what we could find. We found Balthazar - bright, red, like something out of an old French movie (not that I've seen too many old French movies, but, something like my idea of a grand restaurant from some period in French history).

Will have some photos & videos later.

Besides the aesthetic value, the most important thing at that moment was that the restaurant was open.

Here's my DIY restaurant review (though I no longer do film reviews since there is always a conflict of interest when filmmakers write film reviews, I can write a restaurant review since I am not a cook :):

80 Spring St., New York, NY 10012

The look: Awesome. And by awesome I mean it's a big place, with tall ceilings, with huge mirrors, looking like something out of a French movie.

The sound: good - old jazz, French rock that sounded like some 90's US indie rock - but in French, some other classical (pre-60's?) & good jazz/blues/pop standards

Service: Excellent. Very friendly hostess, great servers. Special note: the first waitress (shift changed while we were eating) had what I think was maybe a 60's French(?) hair style, something to keep in mind for a character in the future).

Food: Excellent. And such large portions. We were full & had leftovers by the time we were done.

Other customers: Mostly energetic, an eclectic bunch: some tourists, some locals, some hipsters, from early 20's to like late 60's/early 70's I guess - overall seemed like a nice group of people who were having a good time eating & hanging out at the venue.

Overall Effect: Girlfriend was very happy with the dinner, said it was one of the best birthday dinners she's had. Which makes my life easier (ladies have long memories when it comes to certain things like not doing something special for b-day, etc.) - thanks Balthazar.

Price: Mid-range I guess (not an expert on the price ranges, I don't usually compare restaurants nor do I ever read restaurant reviews - well, maybe one or two in my life thus far). I think it was less than $70 for two after tip. Not bad for an awesome birthday dinner in 2009 US, I think.

Filmmaking related note: The lighting, the large/old timey looking mirrors that take up walls, decorations create a very interesting look, might be a good place to keep in mind for set design, also possibly a good place to film a scene for a movie (plenty of space for gear & to move around, for one thing)

Also, fans of the French movie Amelie will probably enjoy the look of the restaurant.

And that's my DIY restaurant review. Go here for more on Balthazar.

- Sujewa

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