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Aug 20, 2007 09:14 AM

Bon Appetit picked Bonne Soiree

as one of the 12 best small restuarants in the country in its September issue.

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  1. SO and I had a truly exceptional dinner there a few nights ago. Apps of gravlax and a crab custard were sublime, gracefully presented. Both the halibut fillet over various beans (fava, green, etc.) with a a subtle vegetable sauce/coulis, and the duck with the grilled breast and braised thigh and wine reduction sauce were splendid. Only a couple of wines by the glass in each of red and white, though bottle prices were sensible. No half-bottles available. Service was professional, except for one thing...

    The owner/ floor hostess appeared to be friends with two couples, and she -- in her total attention (beginning midway through our meal) to that one table -- they had brought their own wine, and were having her taste it all -- lost control of the waitstaff's "rhythm" as she kept pulling people doing other things to that table to refill water, etc. And as a result we never saw our waitperson again for service, never got a requested dessert menu, so never had dessert or coffee, never got a bill despite asking three times, and I finally more or less grabbed the first person walking by to get our bill paid.

    But exceptionally good food, well-conceived and lovingly plated.

    4 Replies
    1. re: walras

      I forget her name but she was very nice when we had dinner there. When my wife and I couldn't decide between two apps she suggested that we split the two apps between usas first and second courses, and she popped by three times to check on how we were enjoying the meal. I can understand her giving special attention to regulars but it shouldn't take away from the experience of other customers. I think you should have said something or send her a note saying how mych you enjoyed the meal but was put off by the lack of service. I suspect she will try to make amends.

      1. re: walras

        sounds like a major "one thing" to me..

        1. re: cervisiam

          indeed... it strikes me that service is one of those things that should be fairly "socialist" if you will. It's one thing to recognize regulars, maybe even send them a couple of extra bites here and there, and make them feel special; it's quite another for other diners' service to suffer as a result. Especially if the restaurant appears to pride itself on service.

        2. re: walras

          My husband and I ate there Saturday night with two friends. We could have written the above review. We found the hostess/owner to be annoying with the attention she lavished on other tables because it did throw off the rhythm of our own meal. And, when she did come to our table to assist/interact, it involved a surprising amount of touching! None of us have ever been touched so much!! It was off-putting. We also found that the wait staff was nervous and our waiter seemed incredibly inexperienced and had a hand wringing tic, amplifying his nervousness.

          We arrived on time, but our table was not ready for 10 minutes, so the four of us awkwardly stood in the entrance just waiting with no where to sit or be out of the way. Tables right outside would be nice for those who have to wait.

          We did the wine flight and were disappointed. For $30 each for the equivalent of 2 glasses of wine according to the first waiter (four types, but half or quarter glasses), it just wasn’t that great. And, although all diners had different wines, at most, we enjoyed two of them.

          The food was excellent but the experience was overshadowed by the points above. We won’t be going back.

        3. Also, Repast in Atlanta which has gotten some positive comments on this board in the recent past.