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Weird experience at Ici

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tempehtempeh Mar 5, 2007 09:45 AM

I finally made my way to Ici on DeKalb for brunch after having heard almost all good things, but was not at all impressed. The food was pretty mediocre: the poached eggs were so runny that the watery whites diluted the underlying truffle-sauced grits, and the coffee was the run-of-the-mill feeble NYC brew that bums out west-coasters like me. The service was strange, too: although it wasn't terribly busy, the beverages took a long time to come after the hostess took our drink orders; we asked for and got a refill on bread, but we didn't get more butter; and every dish and cup was scooped up as soon as it was empty, which was certainly due to a shortage of dishes (we tried to refuse a chipped coffee cup but they told us they didn't have a substitute) but was pretty disconcerting. They even grabbed up the $10 "tip" sitting in the middle of the table after we paid the check, even as we were still debating whether we should leave less. Has anyone had this kind of experience?

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    spicynuts RE: tempehtempeh Mar 5, 2007 09:58 AM

    My one experience there resulted in the same impression - over rated. I haven't gone back. I prefer Lou Lou just down the block.

    1. Jenblossom RE: tempehtempeh Mar 5, 2007 01:06 PM

      My husband and I have been to iCi for brunch on several occasions now (most recently on Saturday) and haven't had a bad experience there... hopefully that will continue!

      1. famdoc RE: tempehtempeh Mar 5, 2007 06:04 PM

        Please consider visiting Ici for dinner. I'm simply not a brunch fan and agree with Anthony Bourdain that many restaurants view brunch as an opportunity to serve their dregs at a very high mark-up.

        3 Replies
        1. re: famdoc
          jen kalb RE: famdoc Mar 6, 2007 05:45 AM

          ditto what famdoc says. Brunch is a terrible test of a restaurant. the chef will most likely not be there. Its such a popular meal though and such a money maker that restaurants ar tempted to serve it even if they dont have the personnel resources (or enough coffee cups.) I hope that the ICI owners read this - Im sure they would take the criticism seriously..

          1. re: jen kalb
            Bob Martinez RE: jen kalb Mar 6, 2007 06:34 AM

            I agree with famdoc and Jen (and for that matter with Tony Bourdain.) You can't accurately evaluate a restaurant based on brunch. It's like judging a baseball team based on pre-season games.

            I've been to Ici for dinner and thought it was very good indeed.

            1. re: Bob Martinez
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              tempehtempeh RE: Bob Martinez Mar 6, 2007 06:45 AM

              Thanks, all - this is food for thought. Do you all share famdoc's lack of enthusiasm for brunch, or do you know of restaurants that take this meal as seriously as IMO it warrants? If the latter, can you (and CHs at large) share your recommendations? Much obliged.

        2. kraw RE: tempehtempeh Mar 6, 2007 06:50 AM

          I have to say, I'm with tempehtempeh. I'd been eagerly awaiting my first trip to Ici after hearing so many good things about it. I went for dinner and found the service to be ungracious and erratic -- slow when you needed them, fast when they needed something from us (money, plates). The food was ambitious--aspired to Applewood heights--and missed the mark. I was so disappointed, because it was such a beautiful place, and I loved the atmosphere. Sigh. If it wasn't so pricey, I'd give it another go, but I'd rather spend my money at Applewood, Al Di La, Grocery, Saul, Chestnut, jeez the list of great restaurants at that price point goes on and on. I'm just sorry not to be able to include Ici among them.

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            bialistatsky RE: tempehtempeh Mar 6, 2007 08:37 AM

            I have to agree with the neg reviews. However I went for dinner. It was a little busy upon arriving. Even with reservations for a large party, we were summarily ignored for a good 10 minutes. Only when I interrupted a friendly chat between a couple of the staff were we attended to. The food is lackluster and the service is unattentive and unfriendly.

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