The Upper West Side is generally a neglected area for Infatuation reviews. While there may be plenty of excellent chocolate chip cookies to get into, there aren't many legitimate meals to be had. There are certainly holes in our UWS coverage. But instead of addressing the serious omissions, we recently decided to play a little game. Although eating and drinking establishments line Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues, we don't know anything about the majority of them except for the fact that they're generally mobbed on weekends and mainly interchangeable to the naked eye. So, we decided to randomly try one out. We hopped in a cab and told our driver to blindly dump us somewhere on Columbus between 65th and 85th streets. We were going to review whatever restaurant we were dropped in front of.
As fate may have it, Cafe Ronda won the privilege of our cash money and, as we suspected might happen despite not wanting to jump to any foregone conclusions, the wrath of this review. We went in with open minds and empty bellies, but the sh*t show that is Cafe Ronda really has no business serving food to paying customers. No one except the hostess paid us any attention. The overly populated gaggle of wait staff flirted and played grab-ass with one another like it was high school gym class without supervision. One girl was even playing with her man's back-of-the-neck piercing. Literally, his neck had two metal spikes coming out of it and she was fingering it while we tried to eat. So gross. Speaking of eating, we didn't do much of that because the food was hardly edible. Yelp told us that baked eggs where their specialty, but that couldn't have been further from the truth. We're not hard to please, but when baked eggs come out so overcooked the eggs are essentially hard boiled, that's a problem. As usual, thanks for nothing, Yelp.
Laughable service, a stale, uncomfortable room and bad food doomed Cafe Ronda. We were hoping that our game of random UWS restaurant roulette would prove our instincts wrong. It didn't. It's still possible there are some hidden gems to be found up here, but clearly, blindly picking a restaurant is not the way to find them. Chocolate chip cookies on the other hand, now that's a different story.
Our meal started off on the right foot. It's rare that you find empanadas on menus across NYC and we were psyched to get served some plump, warm, dough enhanced pockets of spicy chicken, chopped beef and mozzarella. The empanadas saved Ronda of an even lower score and, if you find yourself here, are something you should most definitely order.
Our table ordered two of their signature poached eggs dish. On one of them, the eggs were underdone enough so that the eggs were properly runny once deflated. On the other though, the eggs were significantly overdone, leaving minimal oozing yolkage to be had. While we inhaled this small helping of food in under five minutes, we didn't exactly enjoy ourselves. The eggs were smothered in a roasted tomato sauce which most likely came out of a huge jar from Costco.
We aren't the kind of people who send things back to the kitchen. Drastic times call for drastic measures. When this skillet of baked eggs with tomato and mozzarella came to our table visibly overdone like one tan New Jersey mom, it needed to be sent away. It wasn't edible. They made their point on the eggs return trip too, as they were barely cooked. We didn't eat it, we were probably better off too because they probably spit in it.
Two poached eggs sitting atop of some soggy spinach and an English muffin with a shallots and garlic sauce. Not much to complain about here, but not much to get excited about either. The side salads that come with the eggs don't have much to them either, it's literally a couple uncut pieces of romaine lettuce and some store bought Italian dressing.
Again, the eggs were overcooked. The toast was stale, the potatoes dry and flavorless. It's just amateur hour, we're shocked this place is consistently packed for brunch.