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Bouley last night.

We had dinner here last night, but we truely felt very rushed. I know it is a holiday weekend, but I don't think there is any need to be in and out of a fine dinning establishment in a little over 1 hour. We even asked the wait staff to slow things down, but that only meant getting cold entrees. (Which we sent back, naturally.)

We have dined here before, and have never had this experience. With this happening, I will not be going here for quite some time. Just thought I would share my thoughts.

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  1. I am sorry you had a bad experience there, from my experience and others (and your previous meal), this is unusual.

    I would definitely make a call or write a note explaining your evening and disappointment. I believe that they would not like even one customer leaving unhappy.

    1. You must write. I know David would want to hear from you.
      Your experience is unacceptable.

      1. Thank you both for your answers. I have never writen or called restaurants in the past when there was a bad experience, but now that you have suggested, I may just do that! The service was wonderful, I just would just like to see the kitchen to have a better understanding of pacing out courses. I enjoy me evenings out with my husband. I certainly don't want it to come to an end in an instant!

        Thanks again! Should I direct the letter to Chef Bouley himself?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Angelina

          Yes, I would write directly to him. I think he would want to know; if he responds, please report back.

        2. Strong second to writing direct to David Bouley. He is incredibly fussy about his restaurants, and the staff, and won't be happy to get a letter like this.

          - Sean

          1. Thank you as well Sean and Dave. I intend to send my letter this week. Once I hear something, I will post. Again, the service was great, jut the timing of everything coming out so quickly.

            Enjoy your day!

            1. I wanted to let you all know, I did in fact, write a letter and have never gotten a response, phone call, email, letter, NADA!

              This leads me to beleive this was not troublesome to Mr. Bouley. I know some of you said he would want to hear, but I suppose that is all he wanted. Just to hear. Oh well, I had plenty of dissappoitning meals, this was not the first and unfortunately, it probably will not be the last.

              Needless to say, I will NOT be dinning at Bouley ever again. A simple apology would have sufficed me.

              Happy New Year everyone!

              1. Sorry about your experience...

                Btw, does anyone know what their white miniature jelly cubes were made of? Flavored with a bit of yuzu, I am guessing, but I forgot to ask. (So tiny, I couldn't tell!) It came sprinkled on tuna sashimi, and there were dark miniature cubes of savory soy jelly mixed with these white (transparent) jelly. I enjoyed that dish.

                1. Angelina, It really is too bad that Bouley chose to blow off your complaint. I guess he figures his restaurant is so popular, one less customer doesn't much matter. But in the age of the internet food forum, that doesn't seem like very savvy p.r.

                  I, for one, will maintain my long-standing decision not to patronize his restaurant. This goes back to the days of his original place when there were lots of stories about people with reservations who faced extremely long waits for their tables, sometimes as long as 2 hours, and with no apologies. (No suprise there!)

                  Btw, Are you planning to post about your Montreal dining experiences on the Quebec board? I'm very interested to know where you went and how it all turned out.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: RGR

                    Hi RGR! Thanks for the post. I will post later today on Montreal's board. (Unfortunately our trip was cut way short...I will explain on Montreal's board.)

                    Have a great day!!

                  2. I want to add my support for you as well. As much as I love taking my wife to all the best places, Bouley is now officialy off my list.

                    And since we are heading to Montreal for our 15th anniversary this April, I can't wait to see what gems you found there.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: seal

                      Thanks, Seal! Please read later today. Montreal is a slice of heaven in my book. (Food wise anyways..except for the 5 degree temps we had when we were there!)


                    2. Thanks for posting about your experience and the aftermath. At each of my three dinners at Bouley over the past decade (most recently at Christmas 2005) I have been encouraged to return by notably perfunctory service. The food has been unobjectionable. I don't see any reason to check back in again in future. My one and only dinner (tasting menu) at Danube last year was perfectly grisly.

                      1. Just goes to show. I have eaten at both Bouley and Danube over the years, many times. And I have never had less than stellar service and wonderful food. Sure, sometimes a particular flavor or combination doesn't hit its mark. (I'm not a truffle fan - a little goes a long way. Bouley, like many top chefs, reveres truffles) But that's what great restaurant food is all about. The best ingredients, fantastic techniques, lots of risk, tremendous attention to detail, and, in the end, a large bill (and satisfaction that we couldn't do that at home).

                        I guess it means more for the rest of us.

                        - Sean

                        1. I can understand everyone's issues with Bouley, but unless you actually went there, I think its best to reserve judgement.

                          I've been to Bouley about 5x and everytime it's been nothing but stellar. Service was exceptionally professional and not obtrusive. The food was delicious.

                          Even at the ridiculously crowded Upstairs at Bouley, the service was incredibly friendly to me and my girlfriend.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sam1

                            Hi Sam. I indeed, agree the food is very good, but on that note, I find it unacceptable to be in and out of the restaurant a little over an hour. Way too fast. The service was very friendly as well to us, but like I said, food came out of the kitchen too fast.


                          2. When I ate at Bouley, my meal lasted well over 3 hours. It sounds like you may have had the B-team serving your food over that holiday weekend. I'm sorry -- it sounds like a really bad experience.

                            I'd take that as a warning to stay away from Bouley on major holidays, but I'd say this is probably true of any restaurant. Who wants to work on thanksgiving weekend?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: oolah

                              I totally understand, oolah, as far as a holiday weekend goes. Unfortunately, when it happens to also be a birthday and you are not a tourist, it is rather frustrating.

                              Your time spam of 3 hours is quite indeed what we wanted. No rush, rush. This has always been quite our time at Daniel. This is why I cannot understand why this happened. I know, holiday weekend, but when I was in college, I can rememeber plety of times I had to work or do something during Thanksgiving weekend.

                              I only wish for a simple, "Sorry". That's all. No free lunch, no free bakery items, just a simple, "Our kitchen was off that night".

                              That is all I could wish for. Anyway, thanks for the post!

                              1. re: Angelina

                                My sister had a very similar experience at Babbo, wrote Batali a letter, and had the same response you did: none. It's a shame that this kind of feedback is completely ignored.

                            2. Restaurants that are charging those kinds of prices should be providing great service regardless of the day. If they decided to close the restuarant for the holiday that would be one thing but given that they were open, they should have been on.

                              Have you tried calling directly? You now have an even more valid complaint since they didn't respond the first time. Sorry it was so frusrating!


                              1. Sorry about your disappointing experience. Never been to Bouley the retaurant, but absolutely love Bouley Bakery and had brunch Upstairs once. The food was incredible (wild mushroom omelette w/ truffle oil); service was only mediocre. However, the folks at the Bakery were wonderful. Not only did they make more soup for my Mom and me--also, they allowed us to sit Upstairs and enjoy the spoils. I must recommend their lobster salad sandwich and orange currant scone. As an aside, David Bouley just happened to be there and he seemed like a personable and genuine man.

                                1. We were disappointed both at Bouley (went twice, found nothing memorable other than the setting) and even more so at Danube, which felt stuffy and dated. They both feel like self conscious restaurants.

                                  1. Goes to show how tastes differ. I love both Bouley and Danube. I love the food, and I love both rooms, each as different from the other as it can be.

                                    - Sean

                                    1. Thank you all for your posts. I never called because at this point, I am simply not going to go there again. Which is just fine for me because I prefer the numerous other great French restaurants in the city.

                                      Enjoy your weekend everyone!