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How long is too long? And follow up on Tocqueville

yvonne johnson Sep 24, 2000 05:08 PM

If you have a table booked for 9PM, are seated around 9.10, have no pre-dinner cocktails, and the starters arrive at 10.10 have you waited too long? Four out of five at my table at Tocqueville last night thought so. Our mains arrived at 10.40—this was OK given the spacing between apps and main courses. However, the restaurant missed out on our orders of desserts. On being presented with dessert menus we had a simultaneous thought on closing them: I can’t bear the wait. So my experience was similar to Aaron's (on this board 5/15/00). Is the quick pace at most places spoiling New Yorkers? Should we train ourselves to favor the relaxed--Mediterranean almost—tempo of Tocqueville?

If there is a place to wait then it is at this restaurant. The room is beautiful, minimalist. The chairs are some of the most comfortable I’ve come across. The food though has its ups and downs. The Billy Bi mussel soup that Grimes liked so much for its fat mussels had no mussels in it (two of us had this app and not one mussel to be found). The grilled sardines were wonderful, as were the rack of lamb (lamby to taste) and scallops with foie gras. The cod with lobster sauce was flat. There were decent wines to choose from including a nice New Zealand sauvignon blanc and South African reds.

There’s a lack of organization (in addition to the wait, a shortage of wine lists) that if overcome would transform this place from being good to very good. I’ll go back. Tocqueville has potential that I hope it'll reach.

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    Leslie Brenner RE: yvonne johnson Sep 24, 2000 07:15 PM

    I love slow-paced meals, and often feel rushed in Manhattan restaurants, especially with tasting menus. However, I think an hour is WAY too long to wait for a first course. A leisurely-paced meal, to me, should mean ample time between courses, not a delayed start.

    1. m
      Michael RE: yvonne johnson Sep 25, 2000 01:08 AM

      "If you have a table booked for 9PM, are seated around 9.10, have no pre-dinner cocktails, and the starters arrive at 10.10 have you waited too long?"

      I should say so! But the piece of data you didn't include was what time you actually ordered your food. Regardless, though, if I had had to wait 1 hour for my food, I would have made major trouble and, perhaps, left before the hour was up to get some food somewhere else.

      1. p
        Peter RE: yvonne johnson Sep 25, 2000 09:47 AM

        An hour is way too long, IMHO.

        I don't think this is an issue of the fast pace in NYC, I think it's a case of poor service, anywhere.

        1. s
          sibbell RE: yvonne johnson Sep 25, 2000 11:58 AM

          An hour for the starter to arrive - wow, I'd be chewing my arm off by then, or I'd be drunk and full of bread! Either way - I think I would have politely queried the waiter about the order - assuming he / she hadn't died...

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