Restaurant Review : Pier 701 Restaurant & Bar

Does a beautiful view and outdoor seating make up for mediocre food?  I say not.  Recently I was meeting friends from out of town for dinner and Piermont NY was a good central location since we were each in three different directions.  I’ve been to a few restaurants in Piermont which I liked, but chose to try a new one as I thought it would be nice to give the out of towners a view of the Hudson and the Tappan Zee Bridge.  With this in mind I made a reservation at Pier 701.  I was feeling optimistic for a nice day so we could sit outside, but unfortunately it was not to be.  We had a long, cold winter and spring seems to want to linger on this year.  And so we were seated indoor which was fine.

We ordered our drinks and a bowl of mussels arrabiatta to start.  The cocktails were good except that the bartender felt it was ok to substitute a wedge of lemon for lime in my friend’s drink and couldn’t understand why it made a difference.  Really?  She changed it upon our insistence.  We were all quite hungry after a long day of work, and so when our mussels arrived, we dug in.  The mussels themselves were just ok and quite small with too many shells empty, but the arrabiatta sauce was delicious with just the right amount of heat.  We would have been happy with a bowl of sauce and bread and would rather have skipped the mussels. If I were the chef, I would take the mussels off the menu rather than serve sub-par quality ones to my guests.

For our meal, we all ordered the special entrée which was a fillet of sea bream described as served on a bed of coconut jasmine rice with a curried carrot puree and spring vegetables.  When I order the special in a restaurant, I expect it to be a standout dish.  After all, the chef has decided to present it more prominently than the usual menu which implies that this is something that he/she paid extra attention to developing for that evening.  I couldn’t have been more disappointed.  The puree was more like a soup and essentially covered everything in the bowl including half of the fish.  The taste of curry powder overpowered the “soup” and essentially everything else in the bowl, the rice was buried underneath and the vegetables had gone to mush.  The fish itself was good and fresh but under-seasoned.

Overall, we had a good time, but mostly just because we were in good company. While the food wasn’t awful, it certainly wasn’t something I would go back for.  But it got me wondering if I would have noticed the flaws in the food had it been a beautiful day and we’d been seated outside with a view of the Hudson.  I’m really not sure of the answer to that. So many factors play into a successful dining experience, but for me food is the one that is most important.  I’ll have to think about this some more the next time I go to a restaurant with a great ambiance and see if I can evaluate the food independently.

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