Instagram worthy. The food—could be better.
My friends and I took a weekend getaway to Catskills located in upstate New York. Leading up to the trip, we were researching places to eat around Woodstock and found Phoenicia Diner. According to this online article we read, a lot of people from New York City make their way to Phoenicia Diner for their trendy farm-to-table vibe whenever they’re vacationing in Hudson Valley themselves. We also heard they had good diner comfort food that had a touch of some Brooklyn appeal so we pretty much decided to go from there.
When we pulled into the parking lot after a long, four hour drive, we noticed the place wasn’t ridiculously packed at 2pm. This was fantastic because we read that this place gets PACKED. When we got inside, they had no issues seating a table of six.
As we walked to the table, pure excitement ran through me as I gazed around at the restaurant’s interior. Natural light was pouring through the huge windows and black accents from the stools and plushy booths provided a minimalistic design against the sleek interface of wooden ceiling and white tables. The ambiance felt outdoorsy, comfy, and so hipster (and I mean that in all the good ways I swear).
For drinks, we ordered the bourbon milkshake, and yes, it’s exactly what you’re reading—a vanilla milkshake spiked with bourbon. There was the option of getting chocolate, but I didn’t know that until after I ordered. And it wouldn’t have mattered anyways because I’m team vanilla ice cream and milkshakes all day, err day.
Verdict? It’s better when you mix it. They just serve it with a large chunk of the vanilla ice cream still sitting on the bottom and the bourbon floating on top with a bit of milk thrown in the mix. I’m not going to complain about the hefty amount of bourbon in it though because damn that was a lot of bourbon. I did have to mix the drink myself though so that all the flavors could blend together.
I also tried their Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie. It came out in a mini cast iron skillet. I was pleased that it was fresh off the stove, but I would have enjoyed the dish more if I could have start eating it immediately. The dish was so hot that I had to wait about 10-15 minutes before digging in. Before serving, it should be cooled down a bit. Wouldn’t want someone to burn their taste buds like I did.
Besides the temperature, the dish tasted good but it wasn’t something that wowed me. I also thought the pastry on top was a bit too flakey, and it was a bit of a struggle breaking off the pastry pieces when trying to go in for a bite.
My friend got the Caesar Salad and the plate came out with the leaves whole. We all agreed that the plating looked pretty, but he commented on how when he receives a salad, he doesn’t want to put in the work of cutting the leaves into bite sized portions. He wanted it already to be cut up so he can eat it immediately.
Service could have been better too. We were a table of six and we were constantly waiting for beverages. At one point, we were waiting for so long that one of my friends had to call out to a server from across the room so we could get our drinks refilled. We understand if the place was busy and no one could attend to us in a timely fashion, but it wasn’t busy at all.
Maybe we over hyped the dishes or maybe the kitchen staff was having a bad day, but we thought the whole experience at Phoenicia Diner could have been better. We didn’t understand where the hype was coming from. Maybe people meant to say for that area–which doesn’t have a utopia of restaurants producing delicious comfort food–Phoenicia Diner is one of the best eats around? Or maybe people were just talking about how Instagram worthy the place looked? Who knows, but I rate Phoenicia Diner as only a novelty experience. Come for the pics if that’s your jam because–not gonna lie–the place is cute and worth the pics.
Side note: all my friends and I experienced horrible poops after eating from there lolol