Pastas here tend to have one too many ingredients per dish. For instance, fettuccine carbonara not only comes adorned with bacon, snow peas (in place of traditional peas), and a creamy egg-and-cheese-based sauce, but also contains sun-dried tomatoes and Brie. Another fettuccine dish was supposed to possess shrimp, "wild mushroom truffle ragout," and "cilantro mayo sauce." Translation: six crustaceans capped with cilantro mayo atop dry pasta barely moistened by white mushrooms marinated in olive oil of perhaps questionable repute.
Bar offerings pour over a wide swath of creative cocktails, import and domestic craft beers, and a moderate assemblage of modestly marked-up wine. What about Junior and Little Missy? There are creative milkshakes such as the "smore," with vanilla ice cream, graham crackers, and toasted marshmallow.
A small white plate containing three thin, pale croutons and a dish of paprika-flecked chickpea spread was brought to each table before dinner (on a different visit, we lucked out with an assortment of warm rolls). The flimsy toast vanished quickly; the plate remained on the petite, crowded table even as we exited the restaurant. This service staff is not big on picking up such details, or just about any details, for that matter. On both visits, our entrées arrived while we were still working on starters. Menu knowledge was lacking too: "Crème anglaise" was described to us as an "ice cream reduction sauce." There were various other missteps by the friendly servers, who are merely victims of poor training.
The crème anglaise served as dip for cleanly fried banana beignets. Another dessert, "chocolate cake," was described without any words such as molten, lava, flourless, or soufflé. Could it really be actual cake? Of course not. It was just that common disk of soft, warm, oozy-centered, eminently microwavable faux soufflé (or any name you want to call it). At least it proved to be a dark, chocolate-dense version, abetted by a side of vanilla ice cream and lacing of chocolate syrup.
Prices are decent enough to diminish some of the disappointments: Salads, ceviches, pizzas, burgers, and hot appetizers $7 to $14; entrées (except the full rack of lamb) $17 to $30; most grill items under $25; desserts $8.
Go to 72nd Bar & Grill with friends; order burgers, sandwiches, salads, and fries; quaff a few beers; and you're likely to have a fine time. I wouldn't suggest paying much attention to the rest of the menu until the chef and kitchen staff do.