Remember that one time I said don’t always trust online reviewers? Well, I should have taken my own advice this Tuesday, when I visited Bosie Tea Parlor on the basis of a glowing review. For future reference, these are some signs of a bad review:
1. The reviewer mentions not one bad point about an establishment
2. Reviewer is not from the city where establishment exists (ameliorated by worldly experience, use good judgement!)
3. The pictures blow up the size of a sandwich from teensy-weensy to Beefy-Weefy
Don’t get me wrong, Bosie is a great place- if you desperately want to impress a date. Parisian styling clashes amiably with utilitarian settings in the delightfully cloistered 10 Morton St. On the right moonlit summer night, you could convince yourself the high double doors and deserted West Village architecture across the street are just around the corner from the Louvre Museum. Delicious, delicate macarons and a selection of choice, glazed pottery in the window further the illusion; it’s a bittersweet moment when the deception falls apart.
What’s good about the Bosie? The advertised in-house tea line probably tickles my taste buds the best, but with the superior selection of David’s Tea right around the corner, even the literary and culinary bait of Dorian Grey flavored with mallow flowers isn’t enough. Their cakes and pastries looked incredibly appealing, but for the life of me I couldn’t bring myself to shell out fifty bucks for a two-person afternoon tea, not when Alice’s Tea Cup has a massive tower of delights for less than that, and on the Upper East Side near the park. You go to Pastis or Balthazar’s, actual brunch places, and they wouldn’t shaft you like this.
From there, everything goes downhill. The advertised sandwich selection is delicious as all get-out, but suffers from the fatal combination of miniaturization, mediocrity, and mass shifting- as in, where did the rest of my sandwiches go, into a black hole somewhere? I appreciate tiny tea sandwiches as much as the next British colonial, but when I pay top dollar for very standard tea sandwiches, not too many of them, all the size of a chess pawn, my next move is to get the hell out and never come back. We also tried the quiche, which seemed to channel hollandaise sauce with its runny, eggy interior- great for NYC brunch, sucks for a relaxing, inspiring tea atmosphere. I don’t want to have to juggle perfectly sauced anything while I’m trying to scribble my next great bit of prose, or dribble delicious goat cheese on my favorite Cherie Priest novel.
To return to my original point, I felt a little betrayed by my fellow reviewer. Since the review was first written, the prices jumped a whopping 45% or so. Of course, in two years’ time, such things can be forgiven, and tea parlors on the whole are expected to make a person feel a little bit aristocratic, but the actual experience was a far cry from the merry marriage of chef-inspired taste and affordability she made it out to be. Obviously, she had no idea what an actual English tea service was like, nor how common the choices were. Really, you couldn’t find chicken curry salad with raisins in NEW FREAKING YORK?
The English call it “high tea” because farmers would lean against a high table on their tea break, for a quick sandwich and a cuppa. Infusing French styling might do well for the decor, but it turns what is supposed to be a filling, comforting experience into a stressful, shoddy imitation of a Sex In the City scene. The tables are too narrow to fit my laptop, the food is pretentiously intended to deceive the uninitiated, and the portion sizing is just insulting. If that’s your cup of tea, I won’t judge you, but I actually enjoy my cups of tea, so I’m not going to get it in Bosie Tea Parlor. There are plenty of high-quality edibles in the neighborhood; speaking of which, check out what I got after I left Bosie: