4

This Grass Needs Cutting

Greener? Not so much

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After briefly closing its velvet-rope adorned doors to remodel, the Design District's Grass Restaurant and Lounge is giving things another shot.

To publicize the refurbished space and unveil chef Michael Jacobs' new menu, promoters invited a bevy of media types and would-be hipsters to a complimentary dinner last week.

The idea: Lavish guests with endless attention and free grub under a starry, moonlit sky, and get them to spread the word that at this patch of Grass things really are greener. Piff, paff, puff, the place should be packed in no time.

Or not.

The space itself remains one of the city's most alluring. Capped by an oversize Tikki, a handful of tables sit atop wooden floors in the center of the room overlooking a large bar. The remaining tables -- which are no longer wooden but fashioned in white Formica -- are still adorned with large candles and scattered under the stars.

But ambience doesn't feed an appetite, and sadly, the food falls dramatically short of fulfilling anything. Dubbed by many as a culinary whiz, Jacobs' creations lacked not only creativity, but also execution.

Pot pies should be sold by the likes of Boston Market, not high-end wanna-be swanky eateries. Jacobs' version consisted of not one, but three of them; each about two inches wide and filled with a runny mess of indistinguishable ground meat and brown flecks, topped by soggy puff pastry.

The appetizer of mayonnaise-drenched crab was similarly disappionting for a salad option.

And any so-called pastry chef that tops an offering with a maraschino cherry -- otherwise known as a bar garnish -- should think about joining the team at Ben and Jerry's, not a restaurant hoping to compete with Michael Schwartz's new joint a few feet down the street.

The gesture was nice, and we humbly thank Grass for the invite. And to show our appreciation we left a genrous tip to compensate the waitress for saying hello and delivering the food. But before you begin charging people for real, consider pulling out the weeds. --Joanne Green

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