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User's reviews

  • Tea and Sympathy


    For those who've been and have said 'service is poor to mediocre at best', you just don't get it. One comes to Tea & Sympathy for a decidedly NON New York experience that at times quite literally feels like the Mad Hatter Tea Party. You may be asked to switch seats mid meal to make room for newcomers. You may be told curtly that the tea served is most assuredly *not* Earl Grey, followed by a clucking of the tongue. You may be told that the very idea is heresy. But you may also find that following the house rules will suddenly find you having one of the most lively and lovely times at a meal in your life.Something about the dynamics of that place just incites great (low level, please) conversation. And if there isn't a line, you can linger as long as you like, which I've found to be the case in about 75% of the visits I've had. The trick is to find out when the lulls are and aim for them, if you think you'll get in for Sunday brunch like everyone else in the city, well then, what did you expect if the line is long? While the mention of the place to my expat friends from the UK illicit groans about that 'creaky cornball place, all that wretched God Save the Queen kitsch', as an American craving an escape of the hustle and bustle of the city, it's for that 'kitsch' presicely everything I adore about the whimsical, stiff upper lip cliche of the decor and food/drink revolving around the myth of a proper English Tea in the first place. And anyway, the food is one hundred times better than any food I remember eating when visiting England (and Scotland too, for that matter). Yes the cake is a bit dry, but you must admit that the triple-tiered serving platter it comes on is part of the reason you wanted a Proper English Tea in the first place, yes? (Try the scones with clotted cream, that'll shut you up about any dry cake right away.) The rest of the desserts are heaven sent, and when not having the standard tea, try the Bread Pudding, it's magnificent for those with an unabashed sweet tooth. (For dinner entrees or late lunch, try the Lamb Pot Pie, and the Welsh Rarebit is heavenly as well--and please don't forget to add some Branston's!) The sometimes peppery comments from the waitresses are merely a clear warning that you are most definitely not in Kansas anymore, darling, so behave and believe that when the waitress says something, you can take it to the bank that she's right. Tea & Sympathy is absolutely charming, but just make sure you don't ask for Earl Grey, luv! (Say 'Black tea' instead, that should work)