Every July, the West Coast sales reps come to the office for the semi annual national sales meeting… which is nice for me, because all of the reps are in meeting all day (not around to ask me questions). One of the big highlights though is the all expense paid dinner celebrating the occassion. Last year, we went to Angelo and Maxie’s, a truely AWESOME steak and seafood resturant. We were overwhelmed by the breads, salads, filet mignon, lobster, oysters, and countless bite-sized desserts. One of the greatest meals I had had in who knows how long… and it was my 1st week on the job 😉 Not to shabby… Ziff Davis was really buttering me up, little did I know what my new job had in store…
Jump to July 2005, the sales reps are back and we are off to dinner again. Needless to say, my expectations were a bit high… and with the all of the success surrounding ZDI, why not treat the employees to nothing but the best?
The evenign started at the roof top bar of the Hotel Giraffe on Park Avenue. A cute botique hotel, but sadly it was VERY HOT AND HUMID which is not pleasant (I’d take dry heat any day over this). They had pitchers of Sangria (white and red) though neither variety was that exciting (according to others at the table). I took the opportunity to order a Stoli martini instead, but I was also unimpressed by their house speciality the Giraffe Martini. Maybe I would have liked it better had they served it in a Giraffe Martini Glass, but alas, they did not… a PLASTIC martini glass was what i recieved, no joke.
Finally it was time for a meal (any more heat and alcohol w/o food and people would start dropping like flies!) so we made our way to the basment resturant Barna, a Spanish/Tapas resturant. Now, one would expect an assorment of bite-sized spanish food to enjoy… instead we got a pre-fix menu, which is understandable when you have a large party and the company is footing the bill… however, the choices were very limited… first course was a choice of salad or nothing… dessert was a choice of flan or nothing… and dinner was a choice of seabas, strip steak, or a rizoto. None of the dishs screamed Spanish food to me. My steak was very tough and chewy (the food network taught me that this is due to this type of steak being cut incorrectly, which resturants do for presentation sake but sacrafice eatability… lame). The seabass was very dry and may of my colluges did not even eat half of what was on their plate. What was the MOST suprizing thing was the dessert course… the flan that was served was a typical sized portion, nothing to suprizing, however they only placed ONE between every 3 or 4 people! How bizarree, Flan by any account is not really a shareable food.
Needless to say, the food was pretty much a let down. Very sad, seeing as a new mission of mine is to experience as many culinary offerings NYC has while I am here. The only redemption is that it was all company paid, including the car service for a ride back to Hoboken.
Moral of the Story: With the thousands of places to eat in NY, place Barna at the bottom of your list