AG Kitchen – All Bark, No Bite

The best thing about eating is when you order something at a restaurant expecting it to be good and it’s extraordinary. Or when you pull together a few random ingredients and make a dish fit for a king.

Likewise, one of the biggest letdown is when you go to a restaurant where all the descriptions of food sound out of this world and the result is overwhelmingly underwhelming.

Such is the tale of AG Kitchen. This UWS Latin eatery is bright, spacious, casual, and has a menu that looks incredible. And yet…this place just falls short.

Bacon wrapped dates with almonds, blue cheese, and endive

By far the most successful dish of the day. The dates are warm and sticky, studded with a crunchy almond and wrapped in salty, smoky, charred and sticky bacon. It is salty, buttery, meaty, and sweet. The blue cheese, though strong, adds a deep and funky note that rounds out the dish, and the endive and onion relish on the bottom lightens the bite, making it cleaner and brighter. I have seen these on other menus, but they are done really well here – that rich blue cheese and tangy balsamic glaze really makes them stand out. These are very rich and even I couldn’t eat more than two, but this is something that I would get again.

Huevos Garcia with chipotle chicken, black beans, and a tostada

Very disappointing. The eggs are well scrambled, soft and not too bouncy, and the beans are quite good – soft and spiced with cumin, garlic, and onions. That’s where the good stuff stops. The chicken is insipid and bathed in a watery, bland sauce that promises chipotle but tastes only of canned tomatoes and liquid smoke. The tostadas are not thick enough and quickly grow soggy and tough. The layers of cheddar cheese are melty and sharp, but without any sour cream or avocado, this dish still lacks a creamy component. As well as a salty one, a juicy one, a spicy one…well, you get the picture.

Cinnamon French toast with whipped sour cream and tropical fruit.

Okay at best. The brioche is eggy and fluffy, but there is no real crust to provide textural variety. The taste is mostly of sugar, with little vanilla or cinnamon, and the tropical fruit is mealy and in such small quantity that it is hardly a main component of the dish. The whipped sour cream is wonderful – thick, tangy, and a great contrast to the sweet bread – but the maple syrup is served in a paper cup. I’m no snob but come on, guys…even the diner down the street has a stainless steel pitcher.

The food here doesn’t justify the prices. It’s too bad, because the service is nice and the setting is great for a jovial brunch, but $45 for sub par entrees and a few bacon wrapped dates is just too much. If they brought down the prices then I would come here if I was in the hood, but even then, it’s sadly not all that I wanted it to be.

AG Kitchen on Urbanspoon