A $330 sweaty Sunday brunch

The scene of the crime.

It was a hot Sunday. At a sticky and humid 87 degrees, it may have been too sultry for a trip to the trendy Meatpacking District, but a girls’ brunch was long overdue. I braved the subway and the long walk West to Ninth Avenue, arriving at Pastís just after 3pm. When I entered the restaurant with my three companions, it didn’t feel cool, but I figured that my body temperature was slightly elevated, and after a cold glass of water and a ten-minute sit down, the beading on my forehead would cease. I was wrong.
 
“Is it warm in here, or is it me?”
 
The ladies were unanimous — it definitely wasn’t me.
 
A server instantly brought a bottle of New York tap water to our table, and it wasn’t cold. “Could I have ice please?” At this point, I was already feeling high-maintenance, and I hadn’t even perused the menu yet.
 
I’m a Keith McNally fan. I adore Balthazar. Who doesn’t? And Morandi is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. I’ve been to both for dinner, and the latter for brunch also. Neither of these hotspots is inexpensive, but I’ve never left feeling my meal was overpriced for the quality of the food or for the total dining experience. I knew that Pastís didn’t come cheap either, but I’d expected this classic French bistro to be comparable to his other ventures.
 
After the four of us chatted for about fifteen minutes, our colorful brunch cocktails arrived–a Bloody Marie with extra horseradish, two low-cholesterol Gin Fizzes complete with egg whites, and mine — a “La Vie En Rose”—a small amount of champagne and a large amount of rose water. Again, it wasn’t cold, but it was tasty.
 
By this time, all four of us were sweating. Did our mid-forties pre-menopausal age group contribute to our inability to “chill out?” I’d thought so, but then a gentleman in his sixties sat down at the table next to ours and complained about the temperature. My friend Maria exclaimed, “He said that he’s hot,” she casually made a motion toward the man, “And he’s definitely NOT pre-menopausal.”
 
We laughed at our wilted blowouts, runny eye make-up, and the steep prices that seemed like a joke — $23 for scrambled eggs and smoked salmon? Of course, those were organic and came with potatoes. But $18 for the croissant and muffin basket — that’s a really high price for belly fat. We skipped that altogether. I rationalized. “Why not try the $14 bowl of granola instead?” Truth be told, we’d looked at the menu when we made the reservation. The prices were no surprise.
 
Thinking if I ate less, I’d stay cooler, I decided to keep things light and order the Chicken Paillard. My plate arrived with the smallest grilled chicken salad that I’d seen since relocating to New York City. And sad to say, it was good, but at $24, it was $8 too much. Heather ordered a perfectly cooked medium-rare steak and we shared. Without her accompanying French fries, I would’ve left hungrier than when I arrived 2 hours earlier.  Sigh. The food was good, but it wasn’t “all that.” Although room temperature like the other beverages, the wine tasted great.
 
Our lovely, cute teenage-looking server had to be hotter than we were in long pants and a collared shirt. She asked management about the air conditioning more than once, which obviously was in disrepair, and returned each time with a look of uncertainty and no resolution.
 
One more round of cocktails and another bottle of lukewarm water later, we paid the bill and left the partially empty, yet still sweltering place. When we stepped outside, we felt cooler than we did minutes earlier. But I was still slightly annoyed.
 
As I walked out of Pastís on Sunday, had I not been wearing a cloud of roses around my brain (think “La Vie En Rose” and Cotes de Provênce Rosé), and in the company of friends, I’d have probably marched my sweaty butt back in and vented to the manager. It would’ve gone something like this.
 
“I understand this is a popular place for brunch, but I expected more. If you want to charge $23.00 for eggs, not only should those eggs be the best in the Western Hemisphere, but they should also be served in a cool, comfortable location with a functional air conditioner, or at least a ceiling fan on high. That $24 Paillard better be crisp with no char on the chicken. The drinks should be chilled, and ice should be available with tap water if requested, even if it’s not European. And if your air conditioning is on the fritz, you’d better start calling your reservations first thing so they have the option of making other plans.”
 
$330 is a heck of a lot for brunch, especially when we could’ve sweated outside for nothing. Will I return to Pastís? I’m undecided. If I do, I’ll try dinner, and it will be in February.

 For more about New York, follow me on Twitter, or on Tracy’s New York Life.
 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Apple says its systems not to blame for…

By Edwin Chan and Christina FarrSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of…

Local

Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…

Local

Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…

Local

Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…

Arts

Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.

Arts

PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

NFL

10 storylines to watch for the Giants this…

The Giants rebounded from an embarrassing 0-6 start last season, but not well enough to make the playoffs.

NFL

Michael Vick set to be weekly guest with…

Mike Francesa may need to backtrack from his harsh commentary of Michael Vick now that the Jets backup quarterback will be a weekly guest on his show.

NFL

Jets expect to make playoffs after sitting on…

The same pundits who predicted the Jets would be woeful a season ago are now eying the playoffs for this revamped team.

NFL

Antonio Allen returns to practice after concussion

Antonio Allen was cleared to practice again following his concussion two weeks ago.

Parenting

In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…