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6.7
NYC

Acme

PHOTOS: Noah Devereaux

Here are some of the things we saw while waiting for a table at Acme on our last visit:

A woman in open-toed shoes, despite the fact that a two-day blizzard had just ended. An Italian man wearing what appeared to be three button-down shirts on top of each other. A Scandinavian-looking male model who asked three women at the bar if they would like to try his Aperol Spritz. People watching-wise, things were off to a good start.

And then we sat down. Next to a guy wearing a one-piece white ski suit with rainbow-colored detailing. Damn.

Acme is the People Watching Olympics.

Once upon a time, food was actually the main draw at Acme. When we first went a few years back, Acme was doing pretty novel things: they'd revamped an old divey Cajun restaurant/music venue in Noho, and brought in one of the chefs from Noma in Copenhagen to cook some pretty serious "New Nordic" cuisine. Foam was involved, and there was a section of the menu devoted to "soil." And for some time, it was pretty excellent. I mean, the guy's name was Mads Refslund. You know that's gonna be good.

Eventually, the hype died down, things slipped a bit, and the sceney, sweaty, hard-to-get-into club below the restaurant became the main draw. (Maybe try wearing a white one-piece ski suit to get in?) Anyway, the chef eventually left, which brings us to today. The menu has been revamped, and it's now pretty straightforward Italian/modern American food: vegetables, seafood, pasta, chicken, steak, all in a variety you've seen before at every trendy hotel restaurant across major cities of America. Do you like restaurants like The Standard Grill and Gemma? If so, you'll probably enjoy it here - just know this place is no longer really about the food.

Considering the scene, the new menu was probably a wise move: this is food for people-watching people.

Food Rundown

Lemon Ricotta

Ricotta cheese topped with some crispy artichoke. You've seen it before , you'll see it again. This is a nice way to start off.

Mackerel Tartare

Tartare, perfectly portioned out for everyone at the table to grab a few calories' worth. Again, serviceable, but not memorable.

Squid Ink Spaghetti

Like everyone at Acme, this spaghetti is wearing all the right things. Tomato, lobster, breadcrumbs. We wouldn't eat a whole plate of it, but if someone wants one to share for the table, no need to protest.

Zuppa Di Pesce

We could have skipped this bouillabaise-type dish. There are better ones elsewhere, and you're best off sticking to the basics here.

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