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May 12, 2008 03:09 PM

Bar Tabac, service trashed..

Andrea Strong trashed the service at this pseudo bistro in Brooklyn's Cobble Hill..

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  1. Andrea Strong can go drop off a cliff for all I care. She is so, so, so bad. Restauranteurs often refer to her as " Andrea Wrong".

    Bar Tabac is wonderful, faithful for years...

    4 Replies
    1. re: Larry Brooks

      Restaurants bash her because she is so critical of they way they operate. I think that she has been at this place a couple of times, and thus she is talking about the service not the food.

      1. re: slopeguy

        Restauranteurs bash her because she is annoying, pretentious, self absorbed and knows very little about food.

        "those who can't cook write, those who can't write blog, those who can't blog send e-mail newsletters and those who can't do even that end up as a guest judge on Top Chef."

      2. re: Larry Brooks

        Bar Tabac is overrated. The service is horrible, and the food barely passable these days. I haven't been able to get a burger or steak cooked medium rare in the past 5 times I've visited. It's a scene, sure. But it is riding its' laurels from several years ago, since when a couple key players have left the operation...

        1. re: bhill

          Sounds like it is trying to stay afloat on its location rather than on food or service....

          When key players leave the place, service and food usually suffer and the whole place goes down hill

      3. Well, she does have a point about the service. It's reasonable to think Bar Tabac servers are hired for their looks -- it sure isn't for their awesome serving abilities. I get better service than Andrea because I always go with my children. However clueless the servers are, they seem to recognize that the faster they serve my kids, the faster I get them out of there. Which is true.

        1. Personally, I like this place (particularly the moules frites). But I have to agree with her on the service... it could not be slower or more indifferent. More than once I have ordered a drink only to have the order mysteriously disappear. Invariably the server comes by sometime later to clear the dishes and only at that point wonders what ever happened to that drink I ordered. Not the end of the world, but not what anyone would call good service.

          1. Maybe she's just upset that this restaurant is a tad on the loud side late into the night and that this is her attempt at circumventing the indifference of 311 and the local police?

            The service is no worse than many places she's given raving reviews. (Merkato 55 - really?) And the food is standard bistro fare. It's nice if you want that kind of thing - I've spent many a night on the sidewalk (conversing in a reasonable tone, unlike some of my compatriots) with a chilled bottle of white wine and a bowl of mussels or their strangely addictive (though, truth be told, not very good) duck salad.

            I think someone is having a bit of regret of moving out to "the sticks".

            13 Replies
            1. re: lambretta76

              I do not know who this person is, nor do I care, but IMO the service at Bar Tabac is not any different then any of the other places in the neighborhood, which is mediocre at best. If you expect Michelin-type service then go to a Michelin-rated restaurant, just don’t expect that from a glorified diner.

              1. re: MShapiro

                Putting aside the straw man about "Michelin-type service" (nobody expects that at Bar Tabac or most other places in the neighborhood) it's always reasonable to expect good service. Even at a diner, glorified or otherwise.

                1. re: jmh

                  I had a very early dinner (5:30) at Bar Tabac last week after not having been there in some time. The place was sparsely populated due to the hour but there seemed to be several servers on duty. Our service was dreadfully slow and indifferent anyway. Furthermore, I was really bothered by the filth. It was probably my first time there in daylight and the dirt was, therefore, quite noticeable. The floors, walls and surfaces in general are very grimy. These things, combined with the mediocre (at best) food, completely turned me off. I will not return.

                  1. re: maggiepc

                    they serve a great brunch time and time again.

                  2. re: jmh

                    And I agree, but most of the places I found with good service are the higher-end establishments and justly so.

                    1. re: MShapiro

                      Funny, I always think of service as the one thing the Server can control. He/she cannot be blamed for the food/decor/noise level/menu choices, but service is the one thing that is in the hands of the Server. There should never be any excuse for inattentive or indifferent service be it at a 5 star or a neighborhood diner.

                      1. re: Tay

                        Actually there is an excuse – it’s not easy to retain experienced servers. Unless you’re a restaurant that’s been around for decades, IMO it’s hard to maintain a qualified staff. There are exceptions no doubt, but that’s what I've found. If you’re a competent waiter/waitresses and you want to make some nice coin (and I know people who have) you go to the better more established places.

                        1. re: MShapiro

                          Interesting..I have a friend who works at a local diner 2 days a week. One weekend day and one weekday. She told me it's hard work and the customers can be totally obnoxious but on a good Saturday, she can pull in $700-800 in tips.

                          1. re: Tay

                            A friend of mine is a waiter at a high end LA eatery. He made 125K last year, on and off books combined.

                            1. re: Larry Brooks

                              I'm in the wrong profession, :-}

                              1. re: Larry Brooks

                                Bar Tabac isn’t a high-end eatery.

                                1. re: MShapiro

                                  Never claimed it was, I was adding to the conversation...I know my high end eateries when I see, um...taste one. Bar Tabac ain't.

                              2. re: Tay

                                Tell him/her Bar Tabac could use their services!

                  3. I'm not sure what the problem is at Bar Tabac. I do like their food but I have had some bad experiences with service. I recall that one of the summertime waitresses told me that she came in from France for a few months to make some money and then she was going back for school. She was very cute and young so I agree that perhaps the staff is not always hired for their chops.