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Apr 29, 2001 11:27 PM

King's Carriage House

  • g

Four of us had dinner Friday night at King's Carriage House (82nd between 2nd and 3rd). I was not familiar with the place, but our friends said it had become a personal favorite, so off we went.

And all in all I'd have to recommend it, even highly. Fixed price menu at $39 seemed reasonable, and the wine list, while limited to perhaps 12 or 15 reds and whites each, was nicely eclectic (domestics from California, Oregon and Washington, and imports from South America, France, Australia and South Africa) and also reasonably priced.

For starters I had the duck salad, which I thought was as good as it gets. The duck was sliced and served warm, not hot, and it was terrific. It pained me to let Maureen have some. She had the melon and yogurt soup, served cold, which I liked but thought would have been better as a dessert soup. Linda had the same duck salad I did and Bill had the beet salad, which he said he liked very much.

For the main courses, Maureen had the filet mignon, as did Linda, while Bill had the lamb and I had the salmon. I thought the salmon was a little overdone, but not bad. I liked Maureen's filet, though, and I am not usually a filet fan.

The setting is a very comfortable townhouse with several dining rooms, each with its own personality. Tables are reasonably spaced and the room we were in (the main one) has a nice touch of elegance without being offputting.

The only real negative was our waiter, who appeared at table five minutes after we sat down, wanting to take our order. We told him we'd wait a while, but he was back in maybe 15 or 20 minutes, saying he had a big party in the other room and we should get our order in now. He had all the personality of an IRS auditor. It's kind of funny, in that he really didn't do anything wrong, but he didn't lend himself to the ambiance of the place at all. It was like he lost a bet and had to be a waiter there for the night. If they could teach this guy how to smile, even once, it would improve the overall experience dramatically.

But the place overall is really worth a visit.

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  1. I haven't been there in ages, thanks for the report!
    Begruding demeanor aside, my guess is that your waiter was acting on your behalf trying to get your order placed AHEAD of the large group. There is nothing worse that being the table BEHIND a large party. When a kitchen works to get that party's food out, the production for everyone else stops.

    Not an excuse, just a hunch:-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chris
      George Lynch

      Actually, that's what I originally thought when he told us we should get our order in, but that's not what happened, which is why he raised my hackles.

      When we arrived, there was a large party in one of the side rooms. Although it was early in the evening, they had been there awhile and were, in fact, have after-dinner drinks. Soon after we placed our order, this party left.

      I had thought the waiter was talking about another large party that had yet to arrive, but no other large party did arrive, at least not in the room in which we were seated. If there were a large party in another room, I would have thought they'd have a waiter specifically for that room.

      But I think I was as put off by his attitude as by his attempt at rushing us. Our friends (who had been there before and recommended the place) felt the same way.

      But, as I said in my original post, I did like the place overall. I would rather have a different waiter if we return, though.

    2. Just wondering what everyone thinks a rational amount of time to wait to order is. 25 minutes after you sit down seems like a long time to me. Since the waiter (and restaurant) will make more many if the tables turn more, it is perfectly normal that they would want you to order shortly after being seated. Any thoughts?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ari Ariel
        George Lynch

        I discern your point. I should have described the situation more precisely.

        We had ordered a bottle of wine, which we were sharing as a pre-priandal drink, and all of the other tables in our room were vacant except ours. The other tables did not fill up for perhaps another half hour or so.

        Our waiter seemed to want us to order, eat and get out. Our friends had been there on several previous occasions and they also felt that he was trying to rush us. They had not encountered this waiter before. No one else we encountered there gave us this feeling.

        My impression of this place was that they wanted you to feel relaxed, laid back, not hurried. They may have wanted to turn the table over, but my sense of this place was that it was more like Paris, i.e., the table is yours for the evening.

        But I'm also curious as to what others think about this (what's a reasonable time to occupy a table before ordering), so I'm gonna post something on the General board about this topic.