And this is why I love living in the 21st century.
GDine. This company, that has recently expanded to NYC, is the answer to all of your group dining prayers. You know, that time when it comes time to pay the bill and all of a sudden, people are in the bathroom, or don’t want to pay for the wine they didn’t drink, or all of a sudden get amnesia and just walk out without paying a dime?
GDine solves all that by offering “a multi-course menu with many options at exclusive discounted rates.” Basically, you can go online, choose a 3 course menu for as low as $30 or so, have everyone pay online before they go, and BOOM…then all you have to do is go and enjoy. The dining experience couldn’t be easier or more welcome.
To try this out, I selected a 3 course option at Desmond’s, a modern British restaurant in Midtown East
Desmond’s is a casual restaurant, and although the food is upscale, the atmosphere is extremely relaxed. This is a perfect place to take a mid-day break from shopping – you would not be out of place in nice jeans and a sweater.
Biscuits and butter
An identity crisis of sorts – buttermilk biscuits in a British restaurant? – but the nicest identity crisis across which I have ever come. Warm, fluffy biscuits are light and tender. The whipped butter is creamy and light, delicious when spread over the steaming bread, melting into little pools and rivulets.
Pork Belly with Salted Caramel and Apple Salad
Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, incredibly sweet and undeniably porky. No over seasoning or complex sauces here, just the thick pork belly, with its crackling layer of fat and its tender but not mushy meat. The fat is perfectly rendered, with no gummy or undercooked parts, and paired with the salted caramel, it becomes more savory and earthy; almost wild-tasting. The salad is simple but refreshing, with a light vinaigrette that adds a necessary acidity to the dish.
Salmon Fishcake with Parsley Sauce and Poached Egg
Once again, the interplay of textures is excellent. A thin, extremely crisp crust covers flaky salmon, mixed with soft potatoes and fragrant herbs. It is comforting and mild tasting, and when punctured, the perfectly runny yolk of the poached egg provides a rich sauce for the fishcake. The parsley sauce is herbaceous without being too floury, merely accenting the herbs inside the fish cake. Served with some gently wilted spinach, it is a light but filling lunch.
Meyers of Keswick Bangers and Mash
Of course, if you want to go the heavier route (and more respect if you do), go with the excellently prepared bangers and mash, served with winey caramelized onions.
This delightful dessert consists of crisp meringue cookies, freshly sliced strawberries, and strawberry coulis, all doused in freshly whipped cream. Served with some basil on top to cut through the sweetness, this is a delightful dessert – fresh, sweet, and not too heavy. I could have eaten a pile of this and…okay, well, I did!
Desmond’s is a great lunch stop, but more so, gDine is a great experience! You are presented with your choices for the meal, then simply eat and leave. Everything else is taken care of ahead of time. The only change that I would make is the fact that the tip must be paid beforehand – tip is something that can vary based on service, and I would prefer to leave it at the restaurant. Other than that, this is a pretty flawless system!
Eating well and not having to worry about splitting the check? Between that and air conditioning, the 21st century has paid for itself.
*Disclaimer: My meal was paid for, courtesy of GDine. I was not paid, nor was I required to write a review. My opinions are my own and, I feel, unbiased.*