Film Center Cafe (CLOSED)

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Film Center Cafe
Hell's Kitchen
After a $2 million makeover, the Film Center Cafe—a once-dingy Hell’s Kitchen landmark—reopened as a much glitzier, clubbier place. A DJ booth, classic films on flat-screen TVs, lacquered Pop Art paintings and wine racks in amber-lit nooks have replaced the old one-sheet posters that formerly hung on the walls. Like a shot of Botox, the physical overhaul has sapped much of the character from this 73-year-old institution, leaving us with a generic midtown lounge. Executive chef Joseph Cacace, who worked at JUdson Grill and Gramercy Tavern, has an impressive résumé, but it’s hardly reflected in the eclectic New American menu—an uninspired grab bag of dishes that includes quesadillas, risotto, crab cakes, filet mignon and a BLT. There’s something for everyone, but nothing really wows. The chopped Caesar salad was doused in a heap of chalky Parmesan. Hanger steak, underseasoned and sinewy, arrived with a gloopy, custardy bowl of béarnaise on the side. The fried chicken was juicy and crisp, but the accompanying stewed collard greens lacked flavor. And the service seemed just clueless: One waitress struggled to both pronounce and uncork a cheap bottle of wine.
Venue name: Film Center Cafe (CLOSED)
Address: 635 Ninth Ave
New York
Cross street: between 44th and 45th Sts
Opening hours: Mon, Tue noon–2am; Wed noon–3am; Thu, Fri noon–4am; Sat 11am–4am; Sun 11am–2am
Transport: Subway: A, C, E to 42nd St–Port Authority
Price: Average main course: $14. AmEx, MC, V
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