On this particular Sunday, it was finally starting to feel like spring was just around the corner. My boyfriend and I wanted to escape our shoebox of an apartment and get outside as soon as we could.
I remembered that Theo’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar had invited us in to try their recently launched brunch menu, and suddenly had a great idea. We should walk the 20 or so blocks up to the restaurant, enjoy the weather for a bit, and end with brunch as our reward. Off we went!
Located in the Trump Plaza a few blocks north of Bloomingdale’s, Theo’s has a corner spot on the block, and is incredibly spacious by New York standards. The floor-to-ceiling windows provide a ton of natural light, and the decor gives the space a modern, yet somewhat art deco feel.
As usual, I had to order a Bloody Mary to kick off the meal. Although it came topped with some unusual garnishes-including a marinated mushroom and a green pepper slice—this is one of the better Bloodys I’ve tasted.
You could tell the tomato juice was incredibly fresh, and it was seasoned with the perfect amount of spices. The beau, who isn’t a huge fan of this brunch cocktail, even commented it was the best Bloody Mary he’d ever had!
The citrus mimosa also caught our eye, so we decided to split a carafe. I was curious to see what other citrus juices they would add, besides orange juice, that would make this cocktail stand out from your ordinary mimosa.
While it still consisted of mostly OJ, the addition of a splash of lemon juice added a subtle tartness. It wasn’t overpowering, but you could tell there was something different—it was very refreshing.
Seeing as how Theo’s is an oyster bar, we knew we had to split some oysters as an appetizer. Our server brought out two varieties, from both the East and the West coasts. She was incredibly knowledgable about each oyster, and filled us in as to where they came from specifically and what kind of flavor profiles to expect.
We noticed the East coast oysters were larger and more briny, while the West coast oysters were smaller, more plump, and sweeter. They were all presented beautifully, resting on top of a bed of ice, and served with cocktail sauce and a homemade mignonette. Brunch was off to a great start!
Unfortunately, it went a bit downhill from there. I stuck with the seafood theme and ordered the lobster Benedict, served on Tsoureki bread and topped with Hollandaise sauce.
This dish was served in a wide bowl with a small opening. This caused the home fries and fruit that were meant to be served on the side to slide into the Benedict, drenching them in the Hollandaise.
Not to mention, the poached eggs were incredibly undercooked, to the point where they looked unappetizing. When I cut into my Benedict, it essentially became an undercooked egg and Hollandaise soup, leaving the dish with zero texture. The richness of the lobster and the sweetness of the brandy-soaked Tsoureki bread really did not pair well together. The Hollandaise was on the sweeter side, which didn’t help either. To be quite honest, I couldn’t bring myself to finish my entree.
Fields also wanted to stick with a seafood-centric dish, since that’s what Theo’s is known for. But he was in more of a lunch mood, so he went with the lobster roll with homemade chips. While the portion was a bit smaller than he expected, the lobster was cooked well and seasoned to perfection. The homemade chips also had great flavor.
Even though I had a bad experience with my brunch entree (to say the least), I didn’t want to end the meal on a bad note. So we decided to split dessert and cappuccinos. Everything on the dessert menu looked delicious!
I am so glad we tried the rosewater panna cotta! Served in a cocktail glass, the panna cotta was topped with a thin layer of rosewater, crushed pistachios, and a decorative purple orchid leaf. Rosewater is such a subtle and interesting flavor, and can sometimes be an acquired taste, but it really worked in this dish. The crunch of the pistachios against the creaminess of the panna cotta really made this dessert stand out.
We also split the 18K gold brushed chocolate cake, which was incredibly decadent and also absolutely gorgeous! The rich chocolate was topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, all of which was covered in a hard chocolate shell. The shell was brushed with gold icing—a very luxurious touch. I’m glad we shared this dessert, as it would have been too filling for me to try on my own.
The Bitches Say: C. The brunch menu at Theo’s has potential, but they definitely need to go back to the drawing board. The delicious appetizer, desserts, and cocktails couldn’t make up for my inedible entree.
Theo’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar
1048 3rd Ave.
New York, NY 10065
Theo’s serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.