Cafeteria. Inferno Bloody Mary.
Welcome back, loyal Drunken Tomato fans! Coming to see what adventures your friendly neighborhood Assassin has gotten himself into? Well, look no further, as the Assassin's journey recently went through Chelsea to discover the well-known Seventh Avenue spot, Cafeteria. Opening in the heady days that marked the end of the 20th century, Cafeteria has become a veritable landmark in Chelsea. For neighborhood residents, it is a good, if somewhat crowded, default; a place to go if you can't make up your mind about dinner or if you just want to go to a place that is a “known quantity.” With a menu well stocked in comfort-food-with-a-twist items, it can always provide a good meal. And when I say always, I mean always: this is a 24/7 spot, ladies and gentlemen, a place where you can get a cocktail, a bite to eat, decompress after work, or refuel after a frenetic night of clubbing or bar hopping.
Having completed some business in the area, my companion and I decided to swing by for brunch. Expecting that it would be fairly crowded, I was not surprised when the host told us there was a wait. Thankfully, it was a short one, as my stomach yearned for delicious brunch items, and my liver yearned for its favorite savory item of destruction. When given a menu, I noticed that Cafeteria had its own special Bloody, named the Inferno Bloody Mary. Featuring a house infused jalapeño vodka and a proprietary bloody mix, I found myself mentally preparing to have my tongue a bit singed. When presented with my beverage, I noted the small bits of horseradish suspended in the liquid matrix. It appeared that this particular concoction used a smaller amount of horseradish, though more finely chopped than I usually find. While this slightly allayed my spice burn fears, I was still concerned about the effects of the infused jalapeño.
Upon my first sip, however, I found the Inferno Bloody Mary to be, well, lacking an inferno. While it certainly had a bit of a kick, it was not a hard kick, a spiciness that was pretty average when compared to some of the other Bloodys I have had. The infused jalapeño in the vodka was barely detectable, more like a light taste, or the memory of a taste. The house made bloody mix was also good, though lacking in the flavors and contrast that fresher juices might have been able to draw out of the cocktail (the use of fresh juices made a similarly peppery cocktail at Sons of Essex much better, taking what could have been average and making it above average). The overall balance of the drink was good, with no individual ingredient taking over, but rather working in complement to create a decent cocktail. Overall, a good, if not particularly exemplary, bloody.
For its Inferno Bloody Mary, Cafeteria earns itself
3 Celery Stalks 3.5 Celery Stalks.*
*UPDATE: We here at The Drunken Tomato take our jobs very seriously. And when we misunderstand or make a mistake, we own it. We have been informed that the “Inferno” in Inferno Bloody Mary does not refer to the spice level of the cocktail. Rather, it refers to a very unique and interesting act that occurs before you ever even get your glass. The “Inferno” in Inferno Bloody Mary refers to this:
Yes, it is a flambé jalapeño fire show in your bloody mary glass, a process that adds just a hint of something special. So make sure you get to experience this inferno first hand by bellying up to the bar for a peek at this entertaining cocktail making show.
Cafeteria 119 7th Avenue, New York, New York 10010. T: (212) 414-1717.