For our July 4th holiday, the husband and I took a mini-vacay to the big apple where we took in more than just apples. :)
Not necessarily a big fan of anything particularly touristy (although hello! One WTC observatory! And broadway shows? Yes, please!), Justin and I decided, at the suggestion of my employer, Ellen's Stardust Diner, a diner in the middle of everything touristy at Times Square, where servers pull double duty waiting tables and singing as they go.
Even though the diner didn't sound that appealing to me, I was told the cheesecake was to die for. So, on our last day in the big city, we made our way into the long line that snaked around the building worrying we'd be waiting for hours…
"Whelp! There goes our remaining time in the city!" I thought. "This cheesecake had better be worth it!" :)
We had chosen the 11AM time because we thought the restaurant would be less crowded then. While the number of people in line suggested otherwise, within less than 30 minutes my husband and I had been seated.
The restaurant table seating is pretty cramped. In most cases to seat a normal-sized person, you have to pull the table out a bit so that one person can get through to the seat across from the other. Make sense?
Does a picture help?
(You only wish you could draw as good as me!)
It was cramped, but at 11AM not too crowded. We definitely had room to spread out and abuse the empty tables beside us (while they were still empty, anyway).
At first I found the singing waitstaff to be loud and distracting. However, Justin and I knew what we were ordering, so there wasn't much menu discussion. Plus, we were tired from a late night the day before, so entertainment was … entertaining. :)
The food here was a little expensive, so we kept our order simple, getting just the cheesecake (of course), a beer (for Justin), and an egg cream soda for me.
In case you aren't aware, an egg cream soda is a specialty soda drink found in NYC. It is typically made with milk, carbonated water, and chocolate syrup and was created by Eastern European Jewish immigrants. There is confusion as to how the drink got its name. One theory: the German "echt" cream soda was mispronounced. Another: "grade 'A' milk was used in its creation, leading to the name 'a chocolate A cream', thus sounding like 'egg' cream" (Wikipeda). Either way, I definitely recommend trying one while in NYC, just to say you did. :) My preference: vanilla. (It comes in three flavors: chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry. Chocolate is the most common since it was established as the "original" egg cream flavor.)
The cheesecake, while delicious and the perfect balance of sweet and cheesecake-y, was not something I would rush back to Ellen's Diner for in the future. It was simply too pricey for a dessert I'm not a huge fan of.
However, I did fall in love with the Ellen's Diner concept! Wait staff acting as entertainment? You never get bored! And the DJ was phenomenal as well!
Super funny, the DJ made sure everyone was aware that the song "Love is an Open Door" was "every mother's nightmare!"
And, of course, our waiter sang the male parts. :)
My favorite singer was Bianca Madison who sang "Killing Me Softly". I had the song stuck in my head for days afterward… She was an amazing singer! :)
What I came to find through this visit to Ellen's Stardust Diner is that not all tourist traps are alike. If you can't afford to see a show on Broadway, maybe this is a good alternative? If you have young kids, perhaps "dinner and a show" should occur all at once? No one likes fidgety, unsettled kids. However, if you prefer a more local version of NYC or places with unique (or exceptional) food, then perhaps you should skip this. There are definitely other, better, cheaper places in NYC to eat.
Prior to my blog review, had you heard of Ellen's Stardust Diner? Does it seem like a place you would be interested in going?