One thing that is a major turnoff for any diner returning to a restaurant probably has to do with a change in portion coupled with price hike. When my wife Jun and I revisited the Beatrice Inn where we had a life-changing roast duck flambé a couple of years ago, that’s exactly what happened. During our initial visit, we were thoroughly impressed with the textural excellence of the duck as well as the ingenious cherry jus on top of duck meat (see my review back on 2017 here https://kenscale.com/2017/04/26/the-beatrice-inn/), which at $98 still felt like a steal. When we returned for a Saturday dinner with another couple recently, we were very excited with the opportunity to relive that same magic. Suffice to say, however, we were pretty disappointed.
Let’s first get to the other dishes before talking about the duck. Unlike last time when it was just Jun and I, we had another couple (my male friend also has a big appetite) so we could share more dishes. Jun and I don’t eat kale salad that often, but the black kale salad from the restaurant accompanied by grilled bread, parmesan and smoked caper dressing was quite tasty. In addition to the duck, we ordered 60 day dry aged cote de boeuf to share, and it turned out to be a bad decision. There was nothing remarkable about the steak (Jun thought the texture was way off) that could justify its $90 price tag. Having a side of squash amandine with vanilla, clove and brown butter somewhat softened the blow somewhat. All would have been forgiven had the duck given us the same memorable experience.
The presentation with flaming duck was the same as last time, but the price went up by more than 30 percent to a whopping $130. Having been to the Beatrice Inn once already, Jun and I already knew it was an expensive restaurant but we wouldn’t have minded the price hike so long as the duck delivered. What we saw was a significant cut to the portion of the duck, although it still was quite a delicious meat dish, and the generous serving of cherry jus were nowhere to be found. I recognize that restaurants are dealing with rising costs like rents, minimum wages, etc. but it almost felt like a restaurant that got praise from a broad spectrum of critics a couple of years ago after it changed its head chef has lost its way. Again, the duck meat was still excellent, but Jun and I simply couldn’t shake our uneasy feeling with the way the Beatrice Inn changed, which was not alleviated even while we were having delightful bone marrow crème brulee to finish the meal (the other dessert that we ordered, cheesecake, was pedestrian).
The crowd at the Beatrice Inn seems to have become smaller compared to the last time we visited, and securing a reservation online has gotten easier as well. The Beatrice Inn’s drink menu consists of excellent cocktails (the Cherrywood smoked Manhattan is not to be missed with its stunning presentation) and a wine list that has some good value options. The charm of the dark dining space located in the heart of Greenwich Village is still there, although based on our experience it feels now the Beatrice Inn is a place worth visiting more because of its vibe than the quality of food coming from the kitchen. Jun and I were really hoping that we would have the same magnificent experience at the Beatrice Inn and potentially even give a KenScale All-Star tag to the restaurant. Based on the way it has evolved from the price to quality standpoint, I can’t share the same level of enthusiasm when talking about the Beatrice Inn that I had back in 2017.
KenScale: 8.0/10 (Jun’s Score: 8.0/10)
- Creativity: 7.5/10
- Execution: 8.0/10
- Ingredients: 8.0/10
- Flavor: 8.0/10
- Texture: 8.0/10
- Value: 7.5/10
Address: 285 West 12th St, New York, NY 10014