I just can’t understand why people go ga-ga for the Continental Midtown. For one, what’s with that stupid olive?
On the inside, tackiness is elevated to high art with all manner of overpriced martinis, chic seating arrangements and mediocre food.
Here are a few other reasons this place gets stuck in my craw:
- The waitresses are made to wear these fugly uniforms consisting of blue & pink striped shirts and unforgiving mini-skirts.
- The average drink price hovers around $10… and there ain’t much kick to ’em.
- The decor might have been hip and cool a decade ago, but its nouveau-diner charm has long since faded.
- The clientele is (usually) so thrilled to just be sitting in a swank Stephen Starr restaurant that they’ll lay down double or triple their usual restaurant budget on a brand-name meal.
Unfortunately, since the Continental is only two blocks from my apartment and two and a half from my office, it will always be a perpetual part of my life.
I went there recently as part of a Christmas thank-you lunch thrown by my boss. Of course, I couldn’t say no, especially since we were beating the lunch rush with an 11:30 reservation. When we sat, the two bored hostesses eagerly sat us, while the army of blue & pink zebras waited for their cue.
Our waiter (the only male) was nice enough, and the lunch menu was fairly diverse. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad. We started with a seafood tempura appetizer which was fairly uninspired, but my lunch entree was quite tasty. Surrounding a not-too-gooey mushroom risotto (topped with some crunchy bean sprouts) were nicely seared slices of ahi tuna with a slight teriyaki flavor.
For a moment, I reconsidered my stance on the Continental. The food was certainly good, the service was reasonable and, during the day, the place didn’t seem as ludicrous.
But then the rush began in earnest and I felt trapped. Resorting to desperate measures, I uttered the two words I try never to combine while eating out: “No dessert.”
And just like that, we were gone.