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New Canaan - Gates and Gelatissimo

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Well, we certainly don't need to go running back to either of these. We went to the fall festival at the New Canaan Nature Center and thought, since we live about 30 minutes away, it would be fun to try local restaurants in an area we don't get to very much.

Gates - We had a 5:30 reservation, walked in on time and were seated right away. They brought menus, bread and water, offered drinks (we didn't want any at the moment) and then disappeared. We figured out what we wanted to eat. We entertained our 6 year old. We ate rolls. We watched people who had come in after us get their orders taken. We watched people who had come in right before us (I saw them get their water, etc just before we did.) get their orders taken and their appetizers delivered. Finally, the waiter showed up, apologized, said we were his 5th table and took our orders. Ya know, I don't care. People who came in AFTER us had their orders taken first. The people who had come in right before us and had their orders taken and appetizers delivered while we waited? Our waiter. How about stopping by our table to take our order before delivering their appetizers? I don't care who was a regular or who was trying to make a movie, we waited far too long in a half empty restaurant, given how quickly other people were being taken care of.

More time passes. And passes. Glaciers recede. Our appetizers show up.
Finally. Sort of. Because they're 50% wrong. Yes, my husband ordered vegetable dumplings and I ordered lobster bisque and they brought vegetable dumplings and some other kind of soup. Back goes the wrong soup and a few minutes later they manage to deliver the requested cup of bisque. My husband says the dumplings are fine. The bisque is eh. In my little world, lobster bisque is sort of pinkish lobstery colored and has chunks of lobster. This was golden from saffron? turmeric? squash? I don't know. It tasted mostly like lobster bisque, but with something unusual, presumably whatever was coloring it. Also, no chunks of lobster. I'm totally mystified by the the wonderful reviews for the bisque on this board.

More eons pass. It is now 6:20. We still don't have main courses. Now, if this were fancy, fine dining with carefully paced meals where you expect to spend 2 hours over dinner, this would be one thing, but it's a family restaurant early on Saturday evening when we, like practically everyone in the place, have a small child with us. People on all sides of us, people who came in after us, have eaten their appetizers and are finishing their entrees. Really. Sheesh. We're waiting for 2 grilled tunas and a kids's hamburger. No particular reason for these to take longer than everyone else's meals. I don't know why our service is so slow compared to everyone else's. And that's what's really bugging me here. It's not like the kitchen was short staffed and everyone else is waiting, too. Other people are getting much quicker service. And, for the record, we have been nothing but pleasant and gracious to the waitstaff, so it's not like this is payback for something.

Oh, look, almost 6:25 and here's dinner! Sort of. My husband specifically asked for his grilled tuna well done. It's raw in the middle. He really doesn't like it that way, so back it goes. My grilled tuna sandwich is fine. I've had more flavorful tuna, but it's fine. My son likes his hamburger. My husband likes his tuna, when it comes back from the kitchen, but this has really all been way too irritating and none of the food was so good that it warrants putting up with this crappy service. Next time we're in New Canaan for dinner, we'll go elswhere. I suggest you do, too.

Gelatissimo - another eh. It has a sort of weird, mouth coating texture I sometimes run into with some gelato. I don't know what causes it. And the flavors are only ok. With wonderful gelato, the flavors are strong and clear and true and appropriately, but not overly, sweet. This is not wonderful gelato. Ciao Bella in the city and Meli-Melo in Greenwich are wonderful gelatos.

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  1. Interesting. I used to go to Gates a lot back when I was in H.S. Back then (in the 90's) I thought it was good. I'm sure I'd be pickier today though. Have to agree about Ciao Bella. I lived on the same block as one of their locations and had to pick some up to bring my parents in CT since they can't get decent gelato at all. I LOVE Ciao Bella!

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        1. Sorry to hear Gates did not do it for you. I've found it to be extremely reliable for the 20+ years I've been going there. I'd try Ching's next time you're in, great Asian cuisine. Or maybe Cherrystreet East, once it re-opens, for decent burgers, ribs, salads.

          BTW-Has anyone tried Country Cupboard for dinner?

          1. I read this when you posted and was interested in the rsponses. Having grown up in New Canaan, I was living there when Gates opened, so it was a big part of my world at the time. It was ages and ages ago. As I was there this week for a visit, I stopped in for lunch after a two hour drive. My food was good, but it was a simple salad, however the service was beyond bad. It pains me to say this, as I used to be a big fan of Gates and it was always the place to meet up with friends, but with the amazing amount of new restaurants in New Canaan now, I know I will not be returning. When I arrived, no one paid any attention to me. I stood in a doorway where the hostess usually is for 5 minutes. Finally,a young woman, evidently the hostess herself, got up from her booth with a mouth full of food and said, "Oops." She had been facing me the whole time but I guess she was too busy chatting with her friends to pay attention to a customer waiting for a table. I then waited and waited for a someone to show up so I could place an order. The order did come quickly, but the wine was in a tiny glass and horribly overpriced. Then I waited, waited and waited. No one came. I read everything I had in my bag, tried to wave down people....nothing. Finally someone new came over and I asked for the check. I will not be going back to Gates.