- scene: Minimalist decor that is not severe
- sip: Summer in Avignon; shmancy cocktails, anything else
- savor: Scotch egg; burger
- sit: People who are not hard of hearing; with a date; with a group of couples who live on UES
- spend: $$
- address: 133 East 65th Street (between Park and Lex)
- phone number: (212) 249-2222
- website: www.theeastpolenyc.com
“Wait, are we going to a strip club?”, was the intelligent response from Boyfriend when I told him that we were going to East Pole for a late bite. No- although it may sound like the place that Amber is now appearing, and it may be many things, East Pole is most certainly not a strip club. There are pricey pieces of meat on offer, but none of which will be gyrating for your pleasure- in our case our meat wasn’t even hot, literally.
East Pole seems to be a clever name refering to the Upper East Side location of a restaurant whose owners are all decidely much more downtown. The Fat Radish, which is from the same people (East Pole has the addition of the Martignetti Brothers, who are both uptown and downtown, in their preppy way), is a very cool spot on the Lower East Side, and although some of the menu items are the same at East Pole, a few things got lost in translation on its trek uptown- mainly service. East Pole is still quite new and might be adjusting to the crowds that have curiously swarmed them since opening, but the service was a major downfall of the evening. The bartender was straight up rude and inattentive, where as our waiter seemed too busy to give any one much attention, and somewhat acknowledged our lack of service by adjusting our bill. Downtown at the Fat Radish the servers look like the clientele, and have a profiecient casualness about them-however the address, clients, and prices at East Pole demand slightly more professionalism, if not formality. Our waiter was downright wrong when describing one dish, and was barely attentive to the point where people seated several minutes after us received free radishes and drinks and we had to ask several times for both.
Anyway, the space is tucked away, and it was formerly occupied by something that Boyfriend recognized immediately (perks of dating a lifelong Upper East Sider). The front room is well lit and had both a decent sized bar and some stools and counter space against the wall, for eating or drinking. Everything is pretty white and woody and minimalist, except the noise, which could get pretty loud in the dining room. The mixology list was well thought out, although I did feel slightly bad sending Boyfriend to the bar to order me a “Summer in Avignon.” The bartender was busy, but also not at all apologetic and seemed to be very good at being a Professional Ignorer, one of the worst kinds of bartenders. You know they see you, they are just THAT good at making you feel invisible. By the time we finally got a drink, it was time to sit. The menu is full of delicious pub type favorites and some more inventive items, and since it was on the later side we just shared some starters and the burger, which I always loved at the Fat Radish. The Scotch egg was a well-done interoperation of this pub classic, cut lengthwise for easy sharing, and the sausuage casing had a lot of flavor and a nice firm texture, completely enjoyable. The Grilled Cheese, billed as Grilled Cheese and pickles, was good, too much onion for me; Boyfriend doesn’t like pickles so we asked the waiter if we can get it without pickles- he said no- that the pickles are mixed in- which sounded weird but we took our shot. WRONG. The pickles are simply on the side, by the grainy mustard, much to Boyfriend’s delight and my dismay. Description fail.
Our burger took forever, but there was no one to ask regarding the status. Once it finally arrived, in all of its cheesy bacon goodness, it was a sight for the eyes. Unfortunately, it was not only not hot, but borderline cold; at this point we did not want to wait forever for a new burger, and it was clear that this must have sat a while before a server picked it up, but we could still almost enjoy it completely. When I told the waiter that it was cold he looked at me like he was sorry and he sort of knew that he dropped the ball on us; he also suprisingly took it off the bill, which we did not expect (we ate it) but was a truly nice gesture. Bottom line: East Pole could be a fun shot of energy on the Upper East Side, a new and interesting addition to the more quiet options in the hood, and if we are meeting peopple in that area I will definitely try it again; servers just need to take a cue from other “Pole” masters, and learn to please the customers.