Review: Where Everybody Has a Mustache
I imagine mustaches have few social implications to anyone over the age of 25. For us young people, they are signs of puberty, masculinity and le hipster. Select genres of music and Kangol caps are other hallmarks, and if you know anything about le hipsters, you know that the “le” is completely unnecessary and just my attempt to be highfalutin (attempt #2).
So how does this relate to a restaurant? Midtown’s Top Flr is a shameless hipster hangout where people wear Kangol hats, muted-colored blazers and, occasionally, sport a stache. Indie music that will never reach the airways fills the dining room, and somewhere between the narrow corridors of this two-story squeeze, good plates of food make their way to the table.
The menu has variety and on this visit I only had the opportunity to try two appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts. In general, these dishes ranged from “okay” to “very good” with an affinity for the former category.
The tuna tartar on paper thin sardinian flat bread was wonderfully spiced with a thai miso pesto. The avocado and lime aioli were refreshing complements. This was better than the fig mille feuille which attempted to combine duck confit and figs, an odd combination better imagined than realized.
I was in a meaty-mood that night and ordered the New Zealand lamb chops with mint syrup. Excellent. Cooked a perfect medium-rare with a nice crust on the edge of the chops, the lamb paired well with the succulently sweet mint syrup. And to all you vegetarians out there, I would veer away from the orange-apple tofu, a boring choreography with an already boring ingredient.
Top Flr’s mac and cheese is different from any other I’ve had in a restaurant. Maybe it’s the cheese, maybe it’s the use of spinach — either way, between the spiciness there’s a ring of cajun inspiration in this cheesy delight. The potato gnocchi was less inspiring as it was overcooked and under-seasoned.
For dessert, a bread toffee pudding that distinguishes itself from others because of its moistness and balanced flavor profile. Then there was this chocolate, peanut butter bar of sorts that was, as a whole, a poor dessert and, by the layers, even more disappointing. Eaten together the three layers were cavity-busters and eaten separately, the individual layers lacked flavor.
As for service, our waiters + busboys were very attentive. As entrees were served, our waiter acknowledged that the mac and cheese had been left in the oven too long, that they were making another one, and that it would be removed from the bill — all in one breath, mind you. I found myself trying to outdrink the waterboys who filled up my glass constantly. I managed to trick them only once and that was because I guzzled down the entire glass 5 seconds after they left my table.
In general, Top Flr is a good restaurant with reasonable prices, a distinct atmosphere and attentive service. The food is not mind-blowing or award-worthy but it’s the kind of place you could eat at after a night of work in the office.