after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Vega: Tasty But Tacky

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g says: l and i are spending the weekend working on some top secret projects (more on that to come), so i hopped a train and am visiting her and c up in hartsdale. we worked hard all day long, and were so excited to get out of the apartment to try some mexican food for dinner. you’ll notice that l and c haven’t made many appearances on the blog, but that has changed tonight! we are joining forces and reviewing this restaurant from all angles, telling our readers what we write about best — i will discuss service, l will talk about decor, and c will be telling us about the food.

vega is about a 5 minute walk down the street from l’s and c’s apartment building – a pleasant enough travel time on a brisk fall evening. it’s easy to spot this trying-to-be-hip mexican joint, as its glass facade and bright colored lights set a mood unlike any other restaurant on the block. we walked in without a reservation, so we were given the choice of a 20 minute wait for a table, or to eat at the bar. c likes eating at bars, so we decided to give it a try. our bartender was a bright, friendly girl in her late twenties, literally running back and forth behind the bar, but smiling the entire time. she was actually pretty calm compared to some of the other staff, who were hustling to accommodate the packed dining room on a saturday night. she took our drink order, followed by a long hiatus, then took our appetizer order, followed by an even longer hiatus, and finally took our dinner order. we were not in a rush to get out of there, but we were absolutely famished, and wished that we could have sped up that process a bit. but, eating at a bar, such is life, right? just about the time when we expected our entrees to arrive, a food runner came to our seats with an order of chicken fajitas (which i flagged as mine) and some chicken enchiladas (which we did not order, so we sent away). about 5-10 minutes later, as we waited for l’s and c’s dishes to emerge from the kitchen, the runner came back with a manager confused and speaking in spanish about the order. our bartender cut in quickly and diffused the situation – apparently the order was for another couple sitting at the other end of the bar. one point for bartender-girl. she then proceeded to pick up the plates of food (which again, had been sitting in front of me for about 5-10 minutes as the three of us nibbled on tortilla chips) and brought them to their rightful owners. upon seeing this, i leaned over to c (who has spent a bit of time in food service himself) and asked, “can she DO that??” i had always been under the impression that once food hits a table, it cannot be served to another table, but rather, must be discarded. c confirmed this theory, and i snatched that point back from the bartender-girl for being gross. the other couple didn’t seem too bothered by it, i don’t think, so i guess all’s well that ends well. our correct order did finally hit our table a bit later – everything was what we ordered, and nothing seemed to make any stops between the kitchen and our seats, so we were ready to roll. from then on, it was pretty smooth sailing, sans a fairly long wait for l to receive a water refill. all in all, service was not bad for bar seating (not that i have dined at many bars before, but we had fun, so i wasn’t too bothered by the small hiccups). as for the food, c would be the expert in this area (since he lived in LA for many years and knows good mexican food when he eats it), so i will turn it over to him…

c says: the 5 second review is… i thought it was delicious once we got the food we actually ordered! but on to the details: meals at vega always start with hot homemade tortilla chips and refreshing salsa. we started off with an appetizer of house made guacamole, made to order right at your table. the girls thought the guac needed more onion and salt, but i disagree (onions give me heartburn anyway). next course was the main meal. both g and i had fajitas, she with chicken, i with steak. they came out so piping hot, that you could hear it sizzling from across the restaurant [l says: he is exaggerating – it was so loud in there, you couldn’t hear a thing]. the steak fajitas were very tender and tasty! as for the others, i didn’t have a chance to have any because i was so full, but they looked good. we did take lots of food home, though, so i’ll let you know tomorrow how the leftovers are. i had a margarita, too – cuervo with rocks and salt. very good, but a little strong, so i finished l’s white sangria instead. she was feeling whoozy after the first two sips. she’s a lightweight. g had some pee colored drink that she says was okay, but they should definitely serve in an opaque glass due to the unappealing color. [g says: it’s a shame that they have that listed as a specialty cocktail on their menu – there are so many more interesting combinations that would have both looked and tasted better. it’s not that it was undrinkable, just not expertly crafted]. i’m tired and the mlb playoffs are on, so i’ll let l take over… g’night!

l says: g already hinted at the exterior decor so i’ll fill you in on the interior. when you arrive there are two sets of clear glass doors that i always manage to crash right in to because they look like they aren’t there. then there is a tropical floral wallpaper on the wall behind the hostess and after about a minute of trying to look through the colored glass window in to the next room you realize that the colors on the window are actually a portrait of frida kahlo! (side note: when they were doing construction and gearing up for their opening they had a sign up on the door which said “frida coming soon – mexican cuisine!” so I think they couldn’t get the rights to name it frida and had to settle for “vega” which has no meaning as far as i can tell except that its a town in mexico – i googled.) after you get past the entrance you’re kind of overwhelmed by a mix of decor elements having nothing to do with each other which kind of makes the place look schizophrenic – but at least its actually really fun! here are the details: there are crazy-ass metallic chandeliers made of metal cone shapes above the bar that remind me of sea anemones. (could these have anything to do with the water wall dividing the center of the restaurant between the bar and the main dining room?) above either side of the bar area are blinking tube lights (purple. orange. cyan. green) which strobe at random times (they are not in sync) which feel kind of like an 80s disco tech, not that i’ve ever been in one. an element which i do enjoy is the whole left wall of the space which is an open window in to the kitchen where you can view the chefs at work. props to them for the modern white square serving dishes, the ball-ish-jar-with-a-handle and straw water glass, and the wooden platters used to serve the hotter dishes. best of all there is beautiful and classic patterned white anaglypta wallpaper along the whole back wall of the restaurant – i feel awful for it – the only in-good-taste element stuck in this crazy room having to be stuck in the middle of all this crazy crap.

g says: So like we said, tasy but tacky. But definitely worth a visit!

t says: I spent the weekend working … at home … by myself … eating a single large pizza over the course of 4.5 meals …

Written by afterdinnersneeze

10 October 2010 at 8:58pm

Posted in in New York

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