Name: The New Argo Restaurant
Location: 117 Court St., Binghamton, NY 13901
Phone: (607) 724-4692
Price: Around $10 per person
I'm always up for a Sunday morning diner venture, and today we decided to check out The New Argo, a large diner located downtown on Court St. Things I'd read on social networking sites like Yelp led me to believe that the Argo was one of the better diners in the area, so I was pretty stoked to give it a shot. Sadly, I found it to be below-average in just about every way.
On appearance, The Argo is certainly a nice space. Upon entering you'll notice a long coffee counter/bar (complete with 8-10 beers on tap) to the right, and a large dining room to the left. There's another dining room in the back as well. There are chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and sturdy dark wooden tables and chairs throughout the place. Judging The Argo on looks alone, I'd say it's certainly one of the finer looking diners around.
When we arrived, we noted the sign "Please Wait to be Seated" and told the cashier, who appeared to be the only one working, that we wanted a table for two. Without saying a word, she rudely wagged a finger in the direction of the dining room. Were we supposed to seat ourselves? Eventually someone with vocal cords told us we could sit anywhere, so we picked a small booth and had a seat and were fairly promptly presented with menus.
The breakfast menu consists of most of the usual egg-and-pancake fare in addition to some relatively less common items like Eggs Benedict and Eggs in a Nest, which featured eggs any style over a bed of corned beef hash and home fries served with toast. We opted to try out these special items. Megan ordered the Eggs Benedict, which elicited a chuckle from the waitress who instructed us that the cook "hates to make Eggs Benedict." My thoughts: if he hates it so much, take it off the menu. When I order something, I really don't want to hear that the guy who's going to make it hates it. But whatever. The waitress asked Megan if she wanted toast with her dish and Megan asked if toast came with it. The waitress did not know, good-naturedly telling us that she doesn't know the menu, she just takes the orders. Wait, what? You're a waitress in a restaurant, and in addition to ratting out your cook's hatred of Eggs Benedict, you have no knowledge of the menu. Great. Good job, you. At any rate, I ordered the aforementioned Eggs in a Nest and thus began the half-hour-plus wait for our food. Unacceptable, frankly, given that there were about two other people in the entire restaurant when we were there.
Finally, the food came out. My scrambled eggs (how exactly do you screw up scrambled eggs?!?) were way overcooked and kind of crusty. Yuck. The toast tasted kind of odd as if the bread that comprised it was on the stale side. On the plus side, the home fries and corned beef hash were pretty tasty but nowhere near a similar dish I recently had at the Broadway Diner in Endwell. All in all, my plate of food was below-average, even by diner standards. For what it's worth, Megan was reasonably pleased with the Eggs Benedict, though she agrees with me that the ambiance is by far the best aspect of the experience that The Argo offers.
Overall, I would rate The Argo among the worst dining experiences I have had in the Binghamton area. The service teetered between rude, slow, and bad. Weird, considering we were among the only patrons in the restaurant. My breakfast walked a fine line between passable and inedible, though in the end I did manage to choke it down. They say not to judge a book by its cover, and usually, that suggests that the contents are superior to the surface. The Argo is the exact opposite.