I think I’m the only writer who has liked Apiary so far. My biggest complaint with the restaurant is that it’s overpriced. And I can see why some people have found it dull. But here’s why I liked it: The food is simple, not trendy, and really well executed.
When you walk into a place that’s so sleekly designed, the way Apiary is, you expect the food to be predictable: pork belly, sweetbreads, foie gras. But chef Neil Manacle isn’t doing any of those popular dishes. Instead, he serves pork tenderloin, brined in smoked paprika, and mussels steamed in white wine so gently that they’re still a little jiggly. This isn’t food that’s going to bowl you over no matter what (like pork belly, foie gras and bone marrow do). Apiary’s food is quieter than the over-the-top food we’ve become used to.
Also, the service is really smooth—friendly, but not overly so, helpful, but not invasive. Plus, the wine and beer program, with its emphasis on New York wines and craft beers, is one of the most thoughtful I’ve seen lately.
So although I can understand why some people have found the food boring (and I do think it’s too expensive), I’d argue that we need a few places around town that are doing simple food with care.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 1, 2008