At Vermilion Review

In the last few months I’ve been doing my duty as a fatty foodie and have continued to eat my way through the city. Unfortunately I’ve had a slew of bad to mediocre dinners and lunches that have left me pretty disappointed and broke.  Out of all these two stand out the most: one for being so terribly bad that I still refer to it as “taaart night”, and the other for being so good, that I still can recall every detail of every bite I took.

This post will be about the bad, and the ugly and the “this is not eatable”! A few weeks ago S and I went to At Vermilion. We’d both heard nice things about it and most of all, as avid Chopped watchers, we recognized the chef Maneet Chauhan as one of the guest judges on the show. She’s described as brilliant, innovative, sophisticated etc, etc. The cuisine at At Vermilion (sounds kind of weird) is a fusion of Indian and Spanish dishes. While neither S nor I are big fans of Indian cuisine, we love to try new things and thought this was a risk worth taking. It was not!

I ordered the much raved about Pani Puri margarita and it came with a little cookie on top. How cute I thought, a drink and a cookie – Win! Not! The cookie was tasteless and the drink tasted like cold soup with a dollop of curry and 2 pounds of nutmeg. I can honestly say, I’ve sipped on some pretty weird drinks and have always found something to love about them, but this one was disgusting. I took one sip and I was done. It also cost $15, which haunted me for the rest of the night.

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For appetizers we ordered the blue Corn Crusted Scallops served with goat cheese puree and the Artichoke Pakoras- Indian fritters served with an eggplant chili coconut sauce. The best out of these, and really the best dish of the entire night were the scallops which were perfectly cooked. The artichoke pakoras were burnt and very dry. The eggplant chili sauce they came with was so bad it overpowered the entire dish.

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For our entrees S and I shared the Tandori Skirt Steak: a seared churrasco in a classic Indian marinade served with plantain chips and what was supposed to be garlic spinach; and the Plantain Wrapped Sea Bass. The steak was once more cooked perfectly, but everything else on the plate was inedible, especially the sauce that came with it, which can best be described as toothpaste mixed with soap. Honestly the most disgusting thing I have ever tried to eat! The fish was moist but again overpowered by the amount of curry and Indian spices. I truly believe spices are meant to enhance the taste of a dish, but the amount used to make the fish, made it unrecognizable. I might as well have been eating pancakes with curry on them. We skipped dessert when we saw the couple next to us almost have a vomfest when they tried their pudding mixture (not sure what they ordered) As S said, everything here was tart- one of Maneet’s favorite words.

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To top it off, the restaurant décor leaves much to be desired. While it is obvious that they strive for a modern, sophisticated, minimalistic look, what they’ve actually achieved is a cold, unwelcoming hotel lobby feel. Do yourself a favor and don’t go here. Every time I watch Maneet on Chopped I now scream at the TV: You can’t cook so you shouldn’t be judging!

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