Jekyll and Hyde - Disappointment

Last week, my girlfriend and I went to Jekyll and Hyde, a novelty restaurant in downtown Manhattan. I love B-movies and old-time horror novels, so I thought this would be great. I wanted to go to this restaurant for a few months. We found ourselves nearby, so we finally went.

I was completely disappointed. We went inside, and the atmosphere wasn't bad. There were robotic skeletons playing a piano, and eventually a "show" of a robotic scientist trying to contain Mr. Hyde. "Show" is in quotes because the only parts that move are the robots' mouths. The voices were loud and annoying. Normally this wouldn't even phase me, but by the time it started, I already wanted to leave.

It started with our waiter. He was awkward, but that's excusable. He mentioned that they "happily accept only American Express, but there's an ATM by the door." Really!? Fine. Whatever. I'll go to the ATM later. I ordered the Cannibal's Pizza: meatball, sausage, and pepperoni. We also got nachos as an appetizer.

The food was bland and generic. The nachos were just tortilla chips with melted Velveeta. The pizza tasted like is was just a cheap frozen pizza that they threw in a microwave. The water tasted filthy. The bill ended up being ~$35 plus tip: totally not worth it. I didn't mention the worst part yet.

I feel bad to write something like this, but it took only one man to ruin the entire experience. Everything above was a let down, but this guy will make me actively refuse to go back to Jekyll and Hyde. There was a guy in a what looked like a zoot suit working there who kept walking past us. He spoke with a fake speech impediment (I heard him speaking without it when he was only with other employees, and he spoke to me later in a natural voice.) Every time he passed us, he stopped and talked to us in a way that was almost intended to make people feel awkward. If you ever worked in the food service industry, you know this guy. He's that customer who doesn't stop making terrible jokes and inappropriate comments to the staff as if they're his friends. Now, picture him walking from table to table talking to you while you're eating and trying to have a conversation with your girlfriend. Fucking terrible.

I wanted to take a few pictures of the restaurant, but I didn't want to chance attracting him to me. We asked the waiter for the check before we were even done eating. We just wanted to get the hell out of there. I went to their ATM. It didn't work. I'm pretty sure it wasn't connected to the phone line. I told our waiter that I would be right back; I needed to use an ATM across the street to pay the bill.

When I got back, my girlfriend pointed out that they actually charged us a cover to eat there. "Entertainment" for around $1.75 each. It's not a lot of money, but that's really tacky, and the prices seemed to be high enough include that. That was the only justification I had for their prices. The nachos were $10. If "entertainment" was separate, then the dining experience wasn't in the price of the food. Why are you charging this much, then, Jekyll and Hyde?

I thought about taking a picture of the restaurant for the blog, but when we left, I just didn't want to look back. I was that irritated and disappointed. My girlfriend told me another thing after we left. I carry my backpack everywhere I go, especially in Manhattan since it's a lot easier to put something on my back than carry it when I'm running from train to train. My newest backpack is actually a camera bag (the Lowepro Slingshot 350 for those who are interested). I've learned over time two major lessons:

  1. Always bring a camera
  2. Always know where your towel is

I carry a digital SLR with me because I love photography. Apparently, while I was out ATM hunting, the irritating guy was trying to get my girlfriend to open my bag and show him what was in it. When she said no, he actually kept pressuring her, telling her that I might be keeping secrets or something in there that she and he should know about. She still refused and stalled until I got back. She didn't want to show the entire restaurant that I had a camera worth a few hundred dollars for no reason.

I had nothing "secret" in my bag, but that's messed up. We clearly wanted to be left alone the entire time, and we were only half-polite the entire time hoping that he would go away. Then, when I went to get money, he basically tried to put my girlfriend in a corner. I don't know who thought that this "character actor," as I assume that's what he was supposed to be, would be a good idea, but it killed our dining experience. I can't see anyone actually enjoying this except, maybe, customers who are like him, in which case I don't want to go back anyway.

If you ever have the opportunity to go to Jekyll and Hyde, don't. There's a Pizza and Pita place across the street which, although I didn't eat there, I recommend as an alternative. Everyone there was smiling, the pizza was homemade, they take credit cards, and their ATM works. It doesn't look like a place that guarantees a miserable experience.