I went to St. Germain for the first time for lunch yesterday and I would have to say my experience was rather uneven. To begin with, I thought the ambiance was a nice combination of traditional and modern sensibilities and fairly pleasant to the eye. For the food, I ordered the Escargots as an appetizer and athough they were fairly tasty when they arrived at the table they were luke warm. As for the main course I ordered the specialty of the day (Coq au Vin) and it was superb.
With respect to the service, although they were friendly they were not particularily professional for a restaurant (compared to say Rouge) that is considered to be one of the better ones in town. Perhaps it another example of our ongoing "Service problems" in this city. Anyway, all in all my experience wasn't too bad but I'm not sure I would run back.
I am inclined to agree about the uneven nature of St. Germain. We went there when it first opened (right after Gilchrist gave it a rave) and it was fantastic. We went back a few months later and it wasn't as good. Then, we went this past summer and it was downright mediocre - food and service. I think their prices are insane for what you get. If you are going to spend 250.00 on dinner, go to Il Sogno where the food and service never miss (IMHO).
I believe service in many North American cities is a problem not due to lack of staffing as much as it is to the profession not being taken serious by society. Its looked at just a hostess or just a server, etc. Look at the professionalism at restaurants throughout Europe, for them to serve is a career, its a passion, its widely respected throughout. Example, even go to an Italian restaurant which has been there for years, you will see older gentleman who have served there since the beginning, the experience of that is so much more pleasurable than some .......well I wont say what type of experiences you can expect here. But you get the picture. Have a nice day