Loud Lounge

 A Second Saturday or so ago, my friends and I, tired yet energized from dealing with the mobs on 20th, decided that lounging on 20th sounded pretty good to us, so we put in for a table at Lounge on 20.

The wait was so long, we popped into the bar-formerly-known-as-Headhunters for a pre-drink drink. Finally, however, we made it to a table.

Lounge definitely aims to bring more hip to midtown. Cavernous, furnished in a communal, Scandanavian chic manner, the place is designed simultaneously for and against catching up with your nearest and dearest. Seating options range from low-slung couches, to long, family-style gathering-height tables you might share with several other parties. That’s the for. The against comes thanks to the sleek, hard-surfaced walls and floors. The place gets l.o.u.d. Don’t expect to whisper secrets to your gal pals here – you’ll need to speak from the diaphram to beat the din.

The bar menu is both edge and by-gone-bar-era-chic, while at the same time working in local flavors and fresh sources to capitalize on current cocktail trends.  Sadly, two kinds of cocktails and my preferred bubbly were out (at 7pm), which led to some disappointing substitutions surprisingly early in the evening.

The food menu is similarly hep-cat: you’ll find the requisite Dish With Truffle Oil listed above Poutine (who’s been to Montreal? Any Québécois in the hizzouse?), yuppie stapple fried Mac ‘N Cheese, and if-you-have-to-ask-you-can’t-afford-it caviar.  We opted for the cheese palte and the charcuterie plate to share among 4 people. They probably share better with two.

The cheese plate over at 58 degrees spanks Loung on 20’s in both quality and quantity and, on our visit, the crostini were covered in enough oil to interfere with the more delicate sheep’s cheese offering.




The charcuterie plate was slightly more interesting, though we received less instruction or description from our server than with the cheese plate.  This might have one because 58 degrees doesn’t have a meat plate to match.

At $15 for the meat and $12 for the cheese, neither’s value matched its price and I think my companions agreed with me, though my lip-reading skills aren’t so great.

I would visit Lounge on 20 again, but I probably wouldn’t make a meal of it again. I know, I know, I shouldn’t judge a place on its cheese plate alone, but, I think you can tell a lot about a person  – er, restaurant – by its cheese offerings.

The vibe is open, though not quite inviting. There’s a whiff of effort permeating the establishment – especially when a line forms outside. There are many good options near by, so I’m not sure this place is worth the wait. I’d like to check it out again on a less active evening.

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