I was provided with the opportunity to dine at this restaurant at no cost. I do not accept monetary compensation for writing about my experiences. All opinions expressed are my own.
New York, NY 10010
(646) 596-9039 | Map
Another day, another invitation to try the food at another New York City restaurant. This time, I headed to Gramercy to meet up with Sara at Exchange Bar & Grill, a restaurant where the patrons are asked to take a gamble. The prices of the food and drink fluctuate based on demand, resulting in an in-house stock market. The more something is ordered, the higher the price goes and vice versa. You can base your order on the prices that run across the ticker screen above the bar, with up-to-date information on which items are above (+) or below (-) market price.
As I considered the concept behind the restaurant's pricing, I had flashbacks to my high school economics class and countless conversations about widgets. I may have hated economics but I was intrigued by the idea. Unfortunately, Sara and I were set to eat at Exchange Bar on a weekend, when the varying prices were not in effect (the opening bell rings after Happy Hour ends at 8pm), so I'll have to go back to get the full stock market experience.
The meal started off on a shaky foot -- my first two glasses of water tasted funny, probably due to a bit of soap residue on the glass itself, we had to look up their beer offerings on our phones because we were never given the drink menu, and we didn't have silverware -- but things improved pretty quickly. When we finally got our drinks, Sara and I admitted to each other that we prepared for the meal by not eating too much beforehand. With plenty of room in our stomachs, we ordered a little bit of everything from the dinner menu, beginning with a classic bar offering of Onions Rings ($6), served with a dipping sauce that resembled tartar sauce. The serving of onion rings was generous, even for two people, and they weren't dripping with oil and grease. If we didn't have more food coming out, we definitely would have ordered another round of the onion rings.
To make up for the onion rings, we each ordered a salad: Caesar Salad ($7) for me and Avocado Salad ($7) for Sara. One of my concerns about ordering salads at restaurants is the possibility of over-dressing. I hate it when a salad comes out covered in dressing to the point where that's all you can taste. Thankfully, this was not the case at Exchange Bar & Grill, and we actually got a lot of food for the price. You won't go wrong ordering a salad as a starter here! We enjoyed the salads so much that we practically forgot that we had more food coming...
I had a hard time deciding what I wanted for my main entree and asked for a recommendation from our server. She said that The Market Maker ($10) was a popular choice (although she never ate it herself), so it seemed only natural to go with that. Besides, I couldn't remember the last time I had a Chicken Parmesan Sandwich and it just sounded like it would hit the spot. Unfortunately, it wasn't very good. I was expecting a breaded chicken breast or chicken cutlet and received what looked like chicken tenders lined up across the span of the roll. The chicken had been cooked, reheated, and dried out. All the sauce and cheese on top of it made perfect sense. After eating half of the sandwich, I stuck to the French fries, which I probably could have skipped given the amount of food I had already consumed. Sara had much better luck with The Credit Swiss Burger ($11), which came topped with sautéed mushrooms, onions, and Swiss cheese. According to Sara, the burger was cooked to a perfect medium over a hot grill and was juicy on the inside. Yum. Next time, I'll go for a burger.
While I can't speak for the scene at Exchange Bar during Happy Hour, I can say that we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves during our early Sunday evening dinner. There was no dessert menu to tempt us -- thank goodness! -- but we were told dessert will be offered in the future. New York-style cheesecake, anyone?
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