This was a truly suburban experience brought to the epicenter of Manhattan: Times Square. In other words, Dave & Buster’s is the type of place that one would retire to after a long day at Home Depot or Dress Barn. It is comprised of an astonishing 31,500 square feet of space, arrived at by a long escalator ride. There are various rooms devoted to different sizes of parties and corporate gatherings. The largest bar is quite the showstopper, though we’re confused by how the poor bartenders are expected to get to the REALLY top shelf bottles. Maybe they’ll have one of those snazzy sliding ladders one sees in galleries and high-end bookstores? Nevertheless, this could be a fun addition to a day or night at the movie theaters ensconced in the same building. And we would never disregard its value for all of us poor Midwesterners and Southerners who are jonsing for a taste of home.
We would like to point out that we were happily surprised at the level of food offered here. Besides the expected large portions, the quality, freshness and choices were anything but provincial. Happily, even the fussiest meat and non-meat eaters will be satiated.
J.G.: I don’t eat meat…but, I sure eat fried shrimp! Actually, I haven’t in about five years, but I was seduced by the quality and variety of the offerings. Not only were they breaded in two ways (regular/coconut), but there were also a number of dipping sauces (Thai sweet chili/jalapeno tarter sauce). They were both delicious and far above what I would have expected. What was I expecting? Let’s just say it was more Red Lobster than Popeye’s. They also had a variety of salmon (Chargrilled and Huli Huli). I liked the side salad: It included Gorgonzola cheese, pecans and apples with a sweet dressing. There were a collection of Caesar salads, which looked nice and fresh, but I didn’t try them. I would skip the pastas…I am of Italian descent, so… Speaking of which…I would highly recommend the Havarti cheese and pesto grilled panino. As for the deserts…they were the typical suspects (cheesecake/chocolate cake/key lime pie), but you won’t have room anyway.
A.S.: I am still trying to get over the Buster’s Cheeseburger! It was perfectly medium rare, the cheese was excellent and the bun was sublime. I couldn’t make room for the DOUBLE version of this (Dave’s Cheeseburger-Cheeseburger), as I had filled up by the time it appeared. A friend who was there did partake and gave it a giant thumbs up. The Parmesan crusted chicken was very good, especially since chicken breasts are usually unfortunately dry. As for the pastas…I’ll have to agree with my colleague: Both the Alfredo and Marinara sauces were lifeless. The steak dishes that I tried were all very good (Jack Daniels/Boursin cheese and onion/peppered). I did not try the teriyaki sauced one because I hate teriyaki sauce. The one misstep was the "loaded" mashed potatoes: I found them too gooey and I wasn’t fond of the cedar cheese and bacon combo. I did not try the panino, but I can vouch for the tastiness of the Philly Cheesesteak. I wouldn’t compare it to the real deal: I like mine w/ Marinara sauce (which wasn’t an option) and the meat HERE was better than any I’ve had in Philadelphia. And I was dying to try the ribs (they looked great), but by the time they arrived I could not pack in another morsel. Same goes for the desserts.
J.G.: In my day, a game was a quarter or 50¢ or $1.50. I’ve seen the card swiping before…as they have at Dave & Buster’s, but I’m curious about how one can keep track of how much money has been spent while in the act of gaming. Maybe it’s not a big deal? But, it seems to be. You can’t work out the math: I think that a dollar = 3 tokens and games cost between 3 and 5.7 tokens…or something. Now, how much money did you just spend (and the train was leaving the station and arrived at… feeling math sweats?)? I was getting far too anxious to enjoy myself; is this the SATs or am I just cheap?
A.S.: It was overwhelming. I did like how the tickets shot out and I think I could kill at the trivia game. There seemed to be something for everyone…even those who want to torture themselves with those giant claws that grab at gifts. Good luck. Horse racing, shooting and driving are well represented: Not exactly activities the average Manhattanite is deeply interested in, but it’s highly unlikely that this is the core population Dave & Buster’s…much like most of Times Square… is going for.
In conclusion: Would we ever want to go back to Dave & Buster’s? Absolutely! It’s a great place to take children or the child within.