Restaurant Name: French Roast Uptown
Address: 2340 Broadway, between 84th and 85th streets
Neighborhood: Upper West Side (second location on Lower East Side)
From the outside, French Roast Uptown appears to be your typical French bistro cafe: small, intimate table seating with an option to sit outside, lighting fixtures reminiscent of old fashioned gas lights, and a fully stocked bar. Mirrored signs on the walls proclaim classic Parisian desserts in antiqued gold lettering, and there’s a light breeze thanks to ceiling fans embedded in the tiled ceiling overhead. However, the atmosphere is noisy and bustling, which would be made more bearable if the kind yet clearly inexperienced waitstaff were more than minimally attentive. Yes, we were there on a busy Saturday morning, but our waitress, though polite, wasn’t the most aware, and it took several tries to flag her down to get our check.
From the table, windows allow for a view out onto the street when table conversation doesn’t suffice to pass the admittedly longer than average wait time for the food. Speaking of food, the menu itself is pretty good, offering a range of choices for breakfast from classic (eggs any style with potatoes, toast, and meat) to indulgent (croissant sandwiches). They also offer lighter options like fruit and yogurt. Prices are mid-range, between $10 and $20 a person depending on what you order.
I ordered a mint leaf tea and three soft boiled eggs with seven grain toast and without potatoes or meat. To my delight, they substituted the latter with a side salad, which was delicious dressed in a light mustard vinaigrette. The other people at my table ordered an omelette with sausage, cheese, and vegetables, a croissant egg and bacon sandwich, and fruit and yogurt. Overall, everyone was pleased with their choices. My only issue, besides the noise level and the inattentiveness of the staff, was with the presentation of my eggs. They were not served in egg cups, as would have been my preference, and I was not given a spoon. Instead, they came in a small square bowl with a knife and fork, which made them very difficult to consume in a polite and non messy manner. In the end, I ended up with sticky fingers and a slightly frustrated disposition. A word of advice to French Roast: either provide more napkins, or get some damn egg cups. I don’t like to complain, but for what I was paying for a meal that, frankly, I probably could have made myself, I would expect the plating to match the caliber of what was being presented, and this just didn’t do the trick.
Plating aside, the food was prepared well and portions were a good size, filling but not too big. The drinks were good but not great. In the end, I give French Roast Uptown three out of five sous-sus. It’s cute, and the food is good, but not amazing. I might go back, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it for an outstanding meal or service, and next time, I’ll definitely get my eggs scrambled rather than soft boiled. I guess the yoke’s on me (baddum chh).
So there you have it. For a casual and moderately priced meal, French Roast is a good choice, just not the best one. And maybe try checking it out on a weekday if you don’t enjoy eating in an establishment with a lot of ambient noise.
That’s all for now,