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89th And Broke

I'm a young professional living in Astoria (formerly of Williamsburg, the UES and Murray Hill - I move a lot!). I'm always looking for something fun to do or the best place to grab a drink and dinner at an affordable price around the city. Have a suggestion? Email me at Laura AT 89thandbroke DOT com.

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Tree is Hit or Miss

I went to Tree earlier in December for a nicer night out with a good friend from out of town. We decided on Tree because it was part of my beloved Diner’s Deck which was about to run out at the end of the month. Although the description sounded more romantic than platonic, we were not opposed to being nestled next to couples and catching up over dim lighting and a bottle of wine.

Upon entering we understood what the Diner’s Deck card meant when it said “cozy.” It was teensy tiny, but I thought it was cute and had a lot of atmosphere for such a small place. We sat down and were happily surprised that that they offered a very affordable pre-fixe dinner all night Sunday – Wednesday and until 7 Thursday – Sunday. It was a Wednesday night so we were in luck. For $25, you can select your appetizer, main dish and dessert, making it a far better (and ongoing) deal than the much-hyped Restaurant Week.

When presented with such a deal, we could not refuse, even though we weren’t terribly hungry. We had our Diner’s Deck card out to review the recommended dishes and the waitress noticed and kindly informed us that unfortunately the card was not valid with the pre-fixe menu. Quite the dilemma, but ultimately we decided to go with the pre-fixe because it was a good deal that you all could benefit from regardless of purchasing the Diner’s Deck.

I started with the pear, arugula and gorgonzola salad and Daria had the split pea soup with ham (the soup du jour). My salad was delicious and more plentiful than expected. Daria’s soup was a nice mix between creamy and lumpy and the ham added the most delicious aroma and flavor to the soup, regardless of if you grabbed a chunk of it with your bite.

Steak au Poivre (if ordering from the regular menu, I'd try this versus the regular steak like we did)

We both ordered the steak frites for our main course, per the Diner’s Deck recommendation, and we were both disappointed. The fries were absolutely delicious, but the steak (cooked medium, which the waitress promised would still be tender) was in fact a little tough and flavorless. Good meat doesn’t need anything but salt and pepper on it when it’s cooked, and while this wasn’t exactly an excellent cut of meat, it was certainly not seasoned well or at all for that matter. We were dumping salt (hello high blood pressure) on our steaks to give it some flavor but for some odd reason it didn’t do a thing to either of our steaks. I resorted to elementary school and dipped it into the ketchup to get some kind of taste going on.

Tree redeemed itself with the desserts – I had the crème brulee and Daria had the chocolate mousse. Both were delicious and surprisingly large…or at least they felt like they were so large because we just had a filling, although not satisfying, meal. Overall I’d return, but I’d steer away from the steak and I’d check out Yelp for some other dish recommendations.

The Basics

Name: Tree

Location: 190 First Avenue

Who to bring: Date, Friends

Price: $$$ for a good pre-fixe deal or for regular menu items (so go with the pre-fixe!)

Overall:  Apps and desserts were hits; the steak, not so much. 3 Stars

Tree on Urbanspoon

2 comments to Tree is Hit or Miss

  • MurrayHill

    I had a $25 restaurant.com gift certificate that lured me to Tree. I showed the certificate to the waitress prior to ordering, and she said to give it to her when we received the check. As you mentioned, I found the atmosphere and food to be pleasant. However, upon presenting the certificate at the end of the meal, the management refused to accept it. They claimed it was restaurant.com’s fault for “overselling” the certificates (which I did pay $10 for). A man with a brogue and booze breath came over to explain to me why they wouldn’t accept it – he was drunk, made no sense and was contradicting things he said 2 sentences ago. I’ve never seen such crappy customer service and as a result will never step foot in that place again.

  • Ugh, that’s so frustrating – I’m sorry to hear it! The same sort of thing happened to me at Mad Hatter, but I had much better customer service. I brought a Restaurant.com certificate and specifically purchased it because the fine print did NOT say I had to spend a minimum on food (as most bars do), it just gave a monetary minimum. I thought this was great – bring a few friends, rack up a bill and get $25 off our drinks. I gave it to our waitress at the end and she said she couldn’t take it because although it doesn’t say we had to spend our money on food, they enforced that rule. We were really frustrated, but luckily our waitress was nice and we cut a deal – we paid in cash in she took off $25. I love Restaurant.com, but these issues are making me wary of it.

    Also, please never pay $10 for a $25 certificate on the site – sign up to get their weekly emails with discount codes (50-80% off)!

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