The Cellar Dweller

Place: Violette’s Cellar

Location: Staten Island, New York

Instagram can make you excited for restaurants, and that’s what happened here. The dessert pictures looked incredible! We knew we had to go. From start to finish this experience was well below average.

We arrived on a Saturday night with no reservations. When asked if we had reservations, we told them no and then we immediately felt like a problem. The place was busy but not packed. We didn’t have to wait for a table so why make us feel like a problem for not having reservations?

The Entrees were mediocre at best. They were small plates which are good for trying a bunch of items but the prices were as if they were full entrees. On the menu they recommend 2-4 plates per person but the plates average price was around 14 dollars. So do the math they are telling you average person’s food should be 28-56 dollars, and that’s without dessert or drinks.

The entrees were not the reason we came so I won’t spend much time on them. The ones we tried were nothing special, but not terrible. There was one standout, the duck tacos. Instead of a normal taco, they were in a fried wonton shell. Duck can easily be super oily but it was perfect. This entree was the restaurants only saving grace but not enough to warrant a return. My thought when eating them was if I come back it’s for dessert only, but that was before I had dessert.

 

When it came time for dessert my mood was already at a dismal for a few reasons. We arrived around 7pm and it was now about 10pm and we were not trying to go slow. The service was beyond slow. The decorative “cellar” was turning into a dungeon it was taking so long. Like I said, we were a problem from the moment we got there.

Bad service and mediocre entrees aside now it was time for the main event, the reason we came. The dessert! Choosing was not an easy task since all the options sounded amazing. The three we tried were the cookie butter crepe, Violette’s creme brulee, and huckleberry spring rolls. All three were disappointing.

Let’s start with the crepe. The description states its a 20 layer crepe cake. We were expecting layers of crepes with delicious cookie butter through it and what we got was a bland thin crepe rolled up with cookie butter. I can eat cookie butter out of the jar and it felt like that was what I was doing since the crepe had zero flavor or substance to it.

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Next was the creme brulee. It said it was caramelized with unicorn sugar. First off, it was not appealing to look at up close. It looked like an unappetizing disaster on top of a normal creme brulee. The unicorn sugar had a weird taste to it as well. At first, I couldn’t put my finger on what the flavor was then it was said to me. It tasted like fruit loops. I know what your thinking and yes in theory that sounds like it would taste amazing but in practice burnt fruit loops on top of a creme brulee is not a satisfying dessert.

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The final dessert was the huckleberry spring rolls. This was the worst one we had. It was a fried spring roll that was filled with what can only be described as a canned fruit that was cooked with gallons of lemon juice. It was too tart to even eat and the fruit had a lingering metallic flavor that showed me it was in fact from a can. On the side of this was what they called fruity pebble gelato. Which in reality was vanilla ice cream with fruity pebbles cereal sprinkled on top of it. The saddest part, this was the best part of all three desserts and it was just vanilla ice cream.

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If you can, stay clear of Violettes Cellar. A good social media account makes it look like it will be a great eat but the reality is, it’s mediocre small plates at a large price and subpar desserts that should be photographed not eaten.

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