Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Review: The Americana

Americana Diner
6501 7th Avenue (at 65th Street)
N to 8th Avenue; B63
Reviewed by Sars and G-Force

The Order:
G-Force: Two eggs over easy, bacon, rye toast, coffee, water
Sars: Mozzarella and tomato omelet, home fries, rye toast, coffee, water

The Food:
G-Force: The whites of the eggs were slightly runny. I like a runny yolk, not so much with the whites (that's why I order over easy instead of sunny-side up). So, leave those eggs on the grill a little longer and you're set. Potatoes were good -- oniony and peppery and just greasy enough. Awesome toast. I also liked that since we both ordered rye, it was efficiently served on a single plate. The bacon was good – I'd give it a 7 out of 10. It was meatier than most diner bacons, but could have been cooked just a tad more. Seems the undercooked is a theme here -- maybe going at a less-busy time would give the food a few extra minutes on the grill. It did come damn fast.

Sars: Good omelet, a little overdone in spots; strong ratio of filling to egg. G's awesome toast is seconded -- well buttered, not burnt, not limp, plus-power overall. Great potatoes, right in the zone, not mushy, not hard. Good ketchup. I could take points off for the sugar packets (vs. pourable sugar), but I'll let it go.

The Americana was my home-team diner when I lived out in Dyker Heights, and this is by far the best meal I've had there. The meal is usually notably slow, by diner standards, but it showed up quite promptly this time.

The Drinks:
G-Force: Decent coffee, quick refills. The water glasses were also larger than the standard little plastic thimble, which is nice.

Sars: I didn't like the coffee. It had that sludgy burnt time-to-clean-the-Krups taste to it, which is not unusual, but this was markedly Vegas-buffet. Thumbs down.

The Service:
G-Force: Efficient -- it was an old-guy waiter who knew what he was doing. I honestly didn't pay a lot of attention to the server, which means he was good and unobtrusive. (At a diner, I'm kind of partial to the waitress with a bad dye job who calls me "hon.")

Sars: Average service -- but again, this is an achievement for the Americana. Previous servers of mine have been, while very personable, rather slow, and at times unwilling to believe that what I was ordering was actually offered on the menu (like, seriously, a grilled cheese. Yes, you "have that." Yes, I am "sure").

The Surroundings:
G-Force: Awesome. The outer tables are separated, booth to ceiling, with tinted Plexiglas -- kind of a huge sneeze guard. I guess that provides some kind of aural privacy -- if nothing else, it looks hilarious. There was a booth in the corner where a family was having some kind of Christmas celebration -- how great is it to have your family Christmas gathering at noon at the Americana Diner in Bay Ridge? Hey, if anyone in that family reads this, will you adopt me?

Also, lots of plastic "wood" veneer. Lots of it. Even on the ceiling.

Sars: The d├ęcor is what has historically saved the Americana from a permanent suck rating, because in addition to the rad stuff G mentioned, 1) each booth has its own jukebox; 2) the placemats are those hilare cocktail recipe ones; 3) the diner includes a full bar right by the front door, and from what I could see, it's composed primarily of jewel-toned liqueurs; 4) the infrastructure is clearly meant to suggest some sort of ski lodge. Like, heavy wood beams, fake-ola wood paneling, the lot.

G-Force: Best. Diner napkins. Ever. For a moment I lamented the lack of the overstuffed, faux-wood napkin dispenser on the table, but then realized we had a whole stack of big, soft napkins on the table. Also -- cookies instead of mints at the till! And a display case of cakes that looked really awesome: surprisingly (suspiciously?) awesome for a diner in Bay Ridge.

Sars: There are actually mints at the till -- but sad, stale little Starlight-type mints, not the pillowy licorice mints that, it seems, you can only get at the diner register (and which news reports consistently warn you are lousy with the germs of other patrons who failed to wash their hands). I also noticed that the milkshake glasses are the old-school wavy kind, which is a plus.

The Americana still isn't all that great. It's open 24 hours, and I was pleased to note that they'd fixed the sign outside so that it revolves again instead of kind of twanging back and forth all Ray Bradbury "There Will Come Soft Rains," but the food is average at best, and it's ordinarily quite slow in arriving. But I've seen big improvements since I last ate there, so if I count the points for effort, it's a B-minus.

Americana Diner on Urbanspoon


Jackie said...

What about including relative prices in these reviews? I'm going to be visiting New York soon and I'd love to stop at one of the diners, but I have some friends travelling on strict budgets (myself included!). Is there such a thing as a pricey diner?

Joanne Casale Viskup said...

I grew up on 11th and 53rd, so I have a lot of memories of the Americana. First of all, there was always a one-legged guy on crutches looking for change from the cars that had stopped at the light. And then there's this...

My friend Emily and I going out for coffee and splitting an apple turnover on a Tuesday night. We were 19 and needed an escape from out parents houses. Em takes a sip from her cup and closes her eyes with delight, "Coffee's great, I'm psyched!!" We then laughed over the sad, little lives we were leading.

God, that was 20 years ago.

Sounds like the place hasn't changed a bit.

Amerika said...

the diner has good food but the service is not that great.some waiters are efficient but others arent.they kind of give you dirty looks.the manager and owner(not old guy)are always in a bad mood.they have long faces.