Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Josie's Restaurant
300 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY
Review by Diana, MaceVindaloo, SuSu, Diasala, Kimba, Anndi

Now, you have to understand, some of us are foodies, and some are healthfoodies, and some of us are just plain nuts, though some of us don't eat nuts. Meaning, some of us are so far into the healthy eating schtick that some of us don't consume any fat, and are okay if the food has no flavor. Seriously.

We had been warned by another member of the party that this place is very yuppie-presentable, but it's a "no fat, no flavor" type of place. Still, we'd read reviews that they do healthy and organic eating right. And maybe they'd teach us a thing or two? Besides, it was Mother's Day, and we figured we should all be good and eat all our vegetables and fruit for mom.

Though some of us are severely prejudiced, since the point of food is to make it pleasurable to eat. We'd been indoctrinated with the idea that people who worry about their health tend to place the cooking of food as secondary ... and so we do tend to avoid these places. But we do hate when we're right, and it turns out they can't cook or know nothing about food hygiene ... but we're getting ahead of ourselves.

Our waiter was a nice man named Roland. He wasn't oppressive, and he paid attention to us just the right amount. Two of us got the mother's day French Toast special (organic cornflake coated french toast with scrambled eggs, warm maple syrup and fresh fruit ... they noted it was "dairy free"), another couple of us got the omelette special (smoked salmon omelette with organic cream cheese, asparagus, roasted red peppers, and three-potato roasted potatoes), one got an eggwhite greek omelette, and another got something called "healthier pancakes" with blueberries and macadamia nuts, but didn't want the nuts.

This is a place which declares, "Water used for drinking, cooking and ice is Doulton triple filtered to remove chlorine, fluoride and harmful bacteria." People who drink tea regularly would say that "deadens" the taste of the water, but whatever, right? The slogan is "Healthier New American Cuisine."

Why are we emphasizing this? Because the ones who got the smoked salmon omelette were nauseous; one of us got violently ill and ended up spending the day trying to keep anything down, if you get our drift ... For a place which places so much emphasis on health, don't you think they'd prepare the food properly so it doesn't make patrons sick??

We think it was the roasted potatoes, since only this dish did not come with the option of not having the potatoes, and potatoes are notorious for causing illness if not kept colder than 40°F or hotter than 140°F. Seriously, food industry people call anything inbetween "the danger zone" because at this thermal range, harmful bacteria are likely to breed. And New York City, which allows all manner of pushcarts to sell many varieties of food, has put the kibosh on selling potato knishes. These street classics were deemed far too risky for public sale because pushcarts are not equipped to keep things chilled properly.

So we can go on about the lovely hibiscus iced tea in pilsner glasses (order with no ice, or you'll find yourself with a solid narrow column of ice with about 2 tablespoons of iced tea in the interstices), the yuppie crowd jammed into closely crowded tables, or the really nice bubble glass hanging lightshades. But we can't recommend a place which makes us physically sick, no matter how pretty and sweet everything and everyone is.

We did complain via their website about this, and even suggested it might be the potatoes. We haven't heard back from them.

By the way, the omelette was bland — couldn't taste the salmon, and the asparagus or peppers were basically blanched and nearly raw, and sliced longways and put into the omelette that way, so you had to cut it with a knife to eat a representative mouthful. There was a salt shaker at the table, but no pepper; we asked for it and were handed a large peppermill. Nice touch, but rather pretentious, we think.

And the "bread" they offered was kind of a dry quickbread, which seemed to be all about a crunchy topping, because there was no flavor to that cardboard otherwise. Come to think about it, if one is given black bread and water, wouldn't a crunchy topping of bugs be interesting?

Next time, we'll talk mom into going somewhere less reputable.

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