I recently jumped on the NY-scene bandwagon and experienced The Polo Bar, Ralph Lauren's new supper-club located below the new flagship store on 5th Ave. My friend Sarah managed to wrangle a reservation for 9:45pm on a particularly rainy Saturday night. We headed uptown, excited to see what EVERYONE in town has been talking about.
I'm sad to say I was rather disappointed. The food was fine, some of it really quite good, the atmosphere was good, the dining room is beautiful if not a little staged, but the service left something to be desired, and unfortunately overshadowed all other aspects of the meal. This article pretty much sums our experience and is hysterically entertaining.
Perhaps my favorite part of the whole experience was the bar on the first level. The beautiful girl clothed in a signature tweed hacking jacket ushers you in to what feels like a semi-private club. We were told our table wasn't quite ready so we made ourselves comfortable and ordered a round. The Moscow mule came in a particularly shiny copper cup, matching back to the beautiful copper bar. The best were the salty bar snacks they bring you in addition to your drinks: mixed nuts, warmed and spiced with rosemary, potato chips and fried olives!
After a 45-minute wait, our table was finally ready. We were ushered downstairs into the main dining room. Quickly after sitting down they brought us these gems. Popovers with Gruyere and caramelized onion, delish!
Then on to the wine, and the focus of this Wine Wednesday (you knew I'd get there eventually). I went with a 2011 Stephane Aviron Morgon Cote du Py, 100% Gamay from the Beaujolais region in France. However, the waiter brought out the 2012, which I called him out on, and was met with a snarky remark about how the restaurant had been going through "cases" of the stuff and the wine list just hadn't been updated. Just checked online, wine list still isn't updated......fine. First strike in pleasant service, strike two was a command that we had promptly 10 minutes to order until the kitchen closed (it wasn't our fault that you sat us 45 minutes after our reservation time when there appeared to be several open tables once we did finally enter the dining room).
Anyways, back to the wine. Once we got our order settled, and got over the different year debacle, the wine was tasty! Full of ripe, juicy red fruit, good acidity, touch of earthy/mineral notes. It was pleasing as pie with our corned-beef sandwich (a Mr. Lauren favorite).
All in all we had a fun Saturday night uptown, and ended up closing down the restaurant. While I wouldn't rush back for dinner any time soon, the bar would make for a nice after-work drink (if only I still worked uptown). I'll certainly be looking out for this wine in my local wine shop downtown.
Wine: 2012 Stephane Aviron Morgon Cote du Py
Purchased: The Polo Bar
Price: $18.95 retail
Would Buy Again: Yes