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Monday, May 14, 2007

MacMenamin's is great (but not on Saturday night)

One of my favorite restaurants in the area is MacMenamin's Grill in New Rochelle. It's a great building for one thing. It's a former plastic factory and it has that cool urban industrial loft look in the dining room. The lower floor has party rooms and a cooking school. The food is topnotch. It's a bit ecclectic, a bit New American, and a bit steakhouse. The focus is a bit too much on seafood for my taste, but the non-seafood dishes are awesome, including my favorite dish, a braised lamb shank.

In the past I have always gone to MacMenamin's on weeknights. The atmosphere was relaxed and quiet. Service was always great. This weekend I went on a Saturday night for a Mother's Day dinner. I was anxious to introduce the restaurant to my family members who had never eaten there, knowing they would have a great dinner. They weren't disappointed food-wise. However, I learned that Saturday is not the best night for eating at MacMenamins.

The dining room was crowded and noisy. I had to shout across the table to be heard by anyone on the other side. With 8 people at the table, it made it difficult to engage everyone in the same conversation.

Service was very slow. This wasn't a bad thing because it gave us all a chance to socialize more, but there were disadvantages. We had to ask for water and it took forever to come. The water glasses were never refilled. It was a long night for some of the elderly people at the table. In the past the chef has been known to pop over to the tables and ask how they enjoyed their meals. He certainly made no social stops that night.

I would still recommend MacMenamins for dinner, but would advise any axious diners to stick to weekenight. Even Fridays are better than Saturdays.

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