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Mar 11, 2008 01:14 PM

Annoying phone call with BarFry employee

A month ago, I made a large reservation at BarFry for 9:00 this Saturday so that I could celebrate my birthday with 12-15 friends. The people with whom I initially spoke were very accomodating.

Now I just called to firm up the plan and the person was pretty rude. He told me that I'd better tell my friends that my party is called for 8:30pm because if we're not all there by 9pm, he's going to give my table away.

I mean, come on. There are nicer ways to ask a group to please be on time and I would never expect them to hold the table for us if we all strolled in at 9:45pm. But people are coming from all over Manhattan and this guy gave me the impression that they could not care less about my large group (and large bill) and would just do their best to fit us in somewhere among the masses, if and only if all 15 of us are there at 9:00 on the dot.

I know this place is popular and busy, but I made a reservation a month ago and my 15 person party is just as profitable to the place as 15 random people would be. I just expected a more welcoming phone call. He just really left a sour taste in my mouth.

It's so hard to book larger groups in NY, especially at newer, more popular places. Restaurants want no part of it. But I may look around for alternatives now. Any ideas? Sigh

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  1. I booked a birthday party for about 10 people at Extra Virgin over the summer with only about a week to go. You may consider looking into it.

    1. Crispo seems to treat large groups very nicely. It may be too late to get a res, though.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rrems

        What about Blue Fin?
        Or West End Cafe?
        Or Trattoria Trecolori?

      2. Popular & busy? They're cranky because they have a place serving fried food in a time when no one wants to eat fried food! 1/2 block down on Carmine is Toscana (once called Oreste). They have great food. I was there a week ago with 12 people. We ate like kings at a comfy table. Franco (the owner) made a fuss and we ate for two hours, with no sense of hurry. We went from antipasti, (fliet mignon in green sauce, calamari fritti) to pasta (wild boar ragu) to main ( I had the rabbit, my buddies went the gamut between veal chops and a branzino type whitefish). Then we knocked off some desserts. Three great courses paced over hours. When I walked by Barfry afterwards, it looked pretty dead. I think false bravado is in play when they act tough about rezzies.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sing me a bar

          bar fry has a plenty of non fried food that is great

        2. I walked by there at 9pm the other night and there were 2 patrons in the place and staff was picking their noses. It was Sunday night, but if it were "popular and busy," that woudn't even be a factor. Market Table, down the block, looked to be doing brisk business.

          3 Replies
          1. re: billyeats

            Market Table is a joy! Another great choice on what is becoming an embarassment of choices on Carmine. Even Yama beats Barfry as far as eating options. At least there you can have a little tempura, but not to the exclusion of any other type of food. At Barfry there are maybe three options that aren't fried. See the review in the NYT.

            1. re: sing me a bar

              Things seem to have changed since the NYT review in October ...

              You're right, the "no fry zone" section of the menu still has just three items. But when you count the non-fried starters and specials, there are a lot of options.

              50 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

            2. re: billyeats

              "I walked by there at 9pm the other night and there were 2 patrons in the place and staff was picking their noses."


              mla19, i hope you find an alternative. i hate rudeness.

            3. Fugedabouttit.....just go and enjoy. Don't let that putz bring you down. He may have just been having a bad day (no excuse, just saying) and orchestrating anyplace on a saturday night is tough. Some people still think that threatening ppl with losing their actually works. Enjoyment is always the best revenge.

              2 Replies
              1. re: thegreekone

                I would modify that slightly: enjoyment in someone else's establishment is always the best revenge. Why reward this type of behavior?

                1. re: punkin712

                  hahahahaha......if an owner or manager "did me like that", I would definitely agree!