Finally, made it to Top Flr last night. It had been a long, tumultuous journey between whether or not to go at all. I first went to Top Flr close to their opening and thought perhaps it was a bit too trendy for it's own good. I had tried their highly touted Duck Confit Pizza and enjoyed it back then, but I wasn't particularly comfortable in their black and white, highly polished digs with a DJ. Shortly after that, it started to receive some very positive praise, beckoning us to return. We were all ready to go when a few trustworthy reviews came pouring in about Top Flr's racist practices. Needless to say, we won't support a business that displays or exercises any prejudices or outright racism but enough time had passed with no other supporting reviews. So we took our chances and braved it last night. The eatery is located right on the south border of Midtown, nearly two blocks from home.
It's still like I remember it (there has been an expansion since), but it's small, dark (hence no photos), and black and white. Trendy with the potential to get loud in the late evenings I imagine. It is, with most certainty, a date spot.
The menu is covered in interesting and enticing options with epicurean twists within each selection. Fancy reductions, spices, and herbs stud the menu and it was fairly difficult to choose what to order.
We started out with the tuna tartare flatbread. This appetizer is a masterpiece featuring tender tuna, lime aioli, and a thai miso pesto. One thing: I HATE cilantro! And the flatbread tasted very heavily of it but there was none in sight. After deducing the flavor was coming from a rosemary looking item draped across the top, I asked the waiter what this unfamiliar herb was. He went to the kitch and returned with the answer - Rainbow Spouts. I can't find anything about them online but cilantro haters, avoid them at all costs!
Kins went the route of the duck confit flatbread and it was even better than I remembered. Well, the crust was burned, but the tender, fat-cooked duck was succulent, beautiful, and abundant. This is another good one to share as an appetizer if you aren't feeling the tuna tartare.
I ordered the fennel crusted salmon with blood orange reduction. The dish was O.K. The salmon didn't taste particularly fresh, but it was cooked very well and served atop some roasted fennel. The blood orange reduction however, was a masterpiece. Portion size was my main qualm with this dish and I'll get to that in a bit.
I also had to order the mac and cheese. The reviews I've read about this item are such a mixed-bag that I had to try it myself to dispel or confirm the rumors. I remember that it used to have jalapenos in it, but obviously their rendition of the southern favorite has changed. This version featured some spinach, three cheeses, and a panko bread-crumb topping. I thought it was very good and the only room for improvement was a need for more creaminess. Still, it was excellent.
Here is my problem with Top Flr (besides the spelling of their name) - Pricing. I think they sucker you in with delightful sounding items and fair looking prices. When you factor in that none of the entrees come with sides, it begins to get pricey. If the portions were an adequate size, the pricing could still be deemed fair. However, my piece of salmon was half of a fillet. Literally about 3 1/2" by 3 1/2". With no side, for 15 dollars. That's pushing it. To further prove my point, if you go to Agave and order their Salmon entree, you get a piece of fish that's twice the size and a side for $16.50. It's also better prepared, but I did enjoy the one at Top Flr.
The bottom line is that I love the menu at Top Flr (it's always a good sign when I have a tough time deciding), the atmosphere can be really nice/romantic if it isn't crowded, and their food is actually really good. I let the trendiness/pretentiousness slide at that point but the pricing should really be adjusted, or better yet, they should pair their entrees with their sides.