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May 19, 2008 11:24 AM

Bonne Nuit/New Canaan-Very Disappointing!!

I went on Saturday and was really looking forward to it after reading reviews on this board.

As soon as I walked in, I knew we should leave. The first thing they need to do is remove at least %15 of the tables. I've been to restaurants where table are close, but this was ridiculous. In order to get into the table they had to move the ENTIRE table out from the wall. The tables were about 2" apart, I'm not kidding!

The meal started out fine, but went quickly downhill. Next to food the most important part of the dining experience is the pacing of the meal. We finished our apps, and less then :30 later our entree arrived! Our waiter said there was nothing he could do and would take care of it next time. Our entrees were luke warm. Again, the waiter said he would take care of it next time. Why not now!

We got our bill and they did not comp us on anything. As a matter of fact they charged $3.50 for every ice tea. Usually refill of ice teas are free. The bill was not itemized. I'm sure we were over charged.

We complained to the manager when we left. She was very rude. Her answer was Saturdays are busy and we need to turn the table as fast as we can. I will never go back. I have a call in today to speak to the owner, but have not heard back.

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  1. Steve

    As someone who recommends BBN loudly and often jfood is very upset that you did not have a great experience. He almost wants to apologize to you, someone in the neighborhood he respects so highly.

    Maybe after so many years of going there with the close tables, the jfoods are sorta immune to the closeness of the tables. Yes they do need to pull the tables out from the wall and it is not the most pleasant part of the night. But that is always overlooked since the rest of the experience is so great.

    But the timing has never been an issue with the jfoods. There has never been a time when the meal was not paced for a 2-hour experience. In your OP was the entree brought 30-seconds or 30 minutes (jfood sorta knows the answer given the rest of the paragraph but he has to ask). That has never occured even when M&M jfood sneaked in early with the understanding they had to leave by a certain time (60 minutes for apps and entrees). There is always a 15-20 minute interlude. Why did you tell the waiter, "No i want a 15-20 minutes before you bring me a freshly fired entree." What time was your reservation?

    And the perpetual cost of the iced tea is just plain wrong when they prices are what they are at BBN. That has never happened to the jfoods. The bill is handwritten when it comes to the table so you may have overlooked it, looking for a computer generated bill, which they do not have. And if the bill was not itemized how do you know that the iced teas were charged for each? As far as comped, jfood has never heard of anyone or anything ever comped there.

    If the woman you spoke with has reddish-sandy blonde hair, that is the owner Ro. Try giving her a call though. If that as her explanation then that is absolutely the wrong response.

    Let us know how it works out.

    16 Replies
    1. re: jfood

      I'll try and address some of your questions

      The entree was brought out 30 seconds after the apps. I should have been firmer with the waiter then I was. I could tell (yes its a educated guess) that they would just put the meals under a heat lamp rather then cook a new entree. I reservations were for 7, but they called me and asked if we could come a few minutes earlier. We helped them out by getting there at 6:45.

      My bill was not handwritten but computer generated. There were 4 charges at $3.50 each. The only thing we ordered at that price was the ice tea, that how I know we were charged for each.

      I spoke with Ro today. She said the waiter and manager were wrong. Her attitude was not the greatest.

      I probably wont go back because of how close the space is. It's just to tight for me.

      1. re: stevel

        Good Food. TERRIBLE Service. Overpriced.

        The woman who works there with the mousy red hair lacks in class, social graces, and has a terrible attitude. We dined there, spent $200 on a Wednesday night when there were only 8 patrons in the restaurant and they STILL managed to make us feel rushed out.

        The woman came to our table 4 times to take our order as if she was in a hurry or trying to turn the table on a busy Saturday night. Our wine came when we had JUST received our pre-dinner drinks and bread- so we told them to wait. Our appetizers came out within 2 minutes of ordering- not an exaggeration. Then our entrees came 30 seconds after the apps were finished- also not an exaggeration. Did I mention there were only 8 people in the restaurant and it was mid-week? The meals were ok- apps were nothing special, scallops were delicious but the salmon was dry. Dessert was 'good'.

        The ambiance is 'cozy' and small, yes tightly packed, but none of that would matter if it weren't for this woman's tacky demeanor and rude disposition. She has a twangy accent, sloppy appearance, and honestly seems like she'd be better suited waiting tables in a diner. If she is questioned on anything she gets major attitude and is simply quite rude.

        We will never be back there again and we live in New Canaan.
        If you are looking for a good New Canaan restaurant try:
        Sole- incredible food, seafood arrives by fed-ex daily and is so fresh, service impeccable - a fav of ours
        Plum Tree- delicious and so friendly- we only go here for sushi, one of our favorites
        Ching's Table- very original Asian fusion and always a good experience
        Tequila Mockingbird- great food, great vibe, great service

        Honestly, try anywhere but Bonne Nuit. Then, you might actually HAVE a bonne nuit.

        Bistro Bonne Nuit
        12 Forest St, New Canaan, CT 06840

        1. re: Sam10

          Had a similar disppapointing rushed experience at Harvest Supper in NC a few weeks ago. No plans to return any time soon.

          1. re: amanda3571

            That's too bad...Harvest Supper has been our favorite lately. We have never had a rushed experience there, but you aren't the first I've heard it from.

            1. re: sibeats

              It was actually very upsetting. My parents had flown up to dually celebrate my birthday and also see my brother run the NYC marathon. My SO, parents, and I went around 7pm that Friday night. There was one other table in the restaurant when we arrived. We sat down, ordered a bottle of wine, ordered some appetizers and began to relax. My mother handed me some gifts she had brought and I was in the midst of opening at the table when 4 appetizers and 2 cheese plates were dropped. The tables are teeny tiny, so it was an instant rearranging of gear (we were in the back corner where the pizza over used to be). At this point the restaurant was filling up. We didn't have one waiter dedicated to our table, we had FOUR. If I took a sip of wine, one of them was instantly there to replenish that sip in my glass. They hovered & buzzed around us our entire meal. They reached over one of us at least every 60 seconds. It was so intrusive & overbearing to the degree that it became rude. Our appetizers were picked up, and within 30 seconds the entrees were dropped. At about 8, it became very obvious they wanted us OUT of there. There was a line out the door. We finished our entrees and we still had half a bottle of wine left (if this gives any indication how quickly we were rushed). The waiter came over and asked if we wanted dessert, we asked for a few mins. Exactly TWO mins later, he asked again. We explained we wanted to finish the bottle and we would let him know. 2 mins after that, Grace Lamb came over to ask if we wanted dessert.
              You get the point here...

              And before anyone asks, no we didn't say anything. It was supposed to be a small celebration that got hampered by disgusting overbearing service. It wasn't worth it to ruin one of the few times a year I get to spend with my parents by getting upset or speaking to Grace. I will just choose to take my business elsewhere (namely Schoolhouse).

              1. re: amanda3571

                have you put this on a review of the Harvest Supper? I haven't been there yet... but have been to every other restaurant in New Canaan except Aloi. After your review, I'm not intending to go there anytime soon. I'll take your Schoolhouse suggestion. Any others? Also do you happen to know the owner(s) of Bonne Nuit because I heard the woman there "Ro" or something is just the manager? And that the owners of Bonne Nuit, Gates, and Teq Mock are all partners.

                1. re: amanda3571

                  Sorry to hear about your dinner I said, we've been there many many times and have never had an is great, service has always been great for us...

                  1. re: sibeats

                    b/c i'm fairly new on this board i've been trying to follow recommendations made here. i have traveled to nc twice in the past couple of months to try aloi and bbn. i was welcomed graciously in both places, not rushed ( both sat. nites) and enjoyed a meal at a comfortable 2 hour pace. food was good at both places but would give the edge to bbn. wine was good at both places but found the wine pricing more acceptable at aloi. at both places there were tables very nearby but i really didn't pay attention, although at aloi we did chat a bit with a neighbor table.

                    1. re: poppy

                      They are both great restaurants. Jfood has never had a bad meal at either and the only time jfood felt rushed at BBN was when he made a reservation ith the understanding he would vacate at 8. 8 came around and the table needed to be vacated, but it was a pre-agreed time. Aloi just does not get the positive posting that jfood would like to see.

                      Thanks for posting and keep them coming.

                    2. re: sibeats

                      I didn't put this on the HS thread (and I also didn't intend to hijack this one). The night we got home, I had written a long post but then realized I'd had a couple glasses of wine and I should probably sleep on it ;)
                      Sib, I was disappointed too. You & I enjoy many of the same places. I was really looking fwd to finally getting here...but oh well. Maybe I'll try it again, but not any time soon.

                      1. re: amanda3571

                        Amanda, was this your first time at Harvest? That's extra's hard to give a place a second chance after such a bad experience, I know. Did you enjoy the food or were you just too disgusted by it all to even care at that point?

                        1. re: sibeats

                          Yes, first time. I thought the food was ok, not great. Both my app & entree felt underseasoned and bland. I had the bacon, asparagus & hollandaise app which was missing acid in the sauce - no zing. Red snapper for the entree which was fine, just boring. Cooked nicely, but no flavors to compliment it. The cheese plates were the highlight of my meal. Both parents had seared tuna for their entree with grapefruit and marcona almonds which was very good. SO had the duck which he did not enjoy.

          2. re: jfood

            My husband and I, just off a trip to Paris, were craving a classic french meal. Normally we head down to Ruby's in Rye but we did not want to travel so far on a cold, drizzly night.
            After reading all these reviews I am wondering if we actually went to a different place. Our evening was perfect. The hostess was very friendly, the waiters were the perfect mix of attentive and elusive. The food was magnifique and the wine divine. I like the eclectic atmosphere, it wasn't so precious and self-important as most. We will definitely be back!
            Maybe you should give it another try.

            Bistro Bonne Nuit
            12 Forest St, New Canaan, CT 06840

            1. re: broomeboal

              I have to agree. I went for dinner last Wednesday and have zero complaints. The food was delicious and the service prompt and friendly.

              1. re: ajh05004

                Bonne Nuit remains one of my favorites in the area.

              2. re: broomeboal

                Jfood is one of BBN favorite fans and loves it every time he goes. If he gave any other impression he is glad he has a chance to clear that up. Yes, the table are close, no he has never been rushed other thand when he and Ro agreed to be rushed, no he has never been charged for a second glass of iced tea and absolutely agrees that the experience is one he only wishes he can engage in more often.

                Jfood still has BBN as top-5 in FFD County.

            2. We've gone once. We have a good friend in New Canaan who took us there.

              They've mastered the "New York City" restaurant vibe -- the tight tables, high prices (yes, even for New Canaan) and cool-as-a-cucumber attitude.

              Now, we had a fabulous meal that lasted nearly three hours. The actual meal was two, but we lingered, chatting and enjoying ice wine in lieu of dessert, for another 45 minutes or so. Service was crisp and efficient, but cool. They paid a little attention to our friend, I guess because he's a regular. But nobody else, not his date nor I nor my wife, were actually treated *warmly.* No biggie; we're there for the food, not for "nice."

              And the food was wonderful. The staff very courteously armed us with extra plates (small ones) when they spotted us sharing appetizers. This carried through to dinner. I actually moaned at one point -- I think it was the escargot.

              What I suspect is that regulars are treated to a better experience at Bistro Bonne Nuit than are folks they don't know. Does jfood think that's accurate, or not?

              5 Replies
              1. re: shaogo

                my wife and i dine at bonne nuit at least once a month and we have never had any issues with service or the food, and frankly don't have an issue with the spacing of the tables (everyone has different preferences though). when we started going 4 years ago, i don't recall the service being any different, and the personell there is basically the same as it is today.
                that said, i know they take good care of us and are particularly helpful when our 5yr old daughter comes with us. i think if you frequent any restaurant often, your service will at least be slightly more personal.
                glad you enjoyed the meal.

                1. re: shaogo

                  My wife and I actually planning to go to Bonne Nuit on Saturday night, will follow up with a review. We also ate at Aloi for the first time a few weeks back based on the comments and reviews I had seen here. Overall we really liked it. The service wasn't the best, but I think a large part of it was due to our table - right off the bar, not in either of the two "main" dining areas so probably got overlooked by some of the staff. The food was excellent though - veal scallopine and a pasta (can't remember the exact kind) with veal ragu for entrees - and will definitely return. We also really liked walking around the area, as we hadn't been to New Canaan before. Made a mental note of other restaurants in the area to try down the road.

                  1. re: SonoLyons

                    i love the pastas at aloi, but share the same feeling as you on the service.
                    harvest supper is also another excellent restaurant after you give bonne nuit a go.

                    1. re: SonoLyons

                      Aloi service is very good, but noone would call it great. Jfood loves that 4-top table next to the bar. It is one of the few tables in town that he can hear everyone's conversation.

                    2. re: shaogo


                      To your questions. The BBN reservation was the most difficult to obtain in town and jfood beleives the tables are tight to maximize the number, not for a NY feel.

                      Your analysis of the service is spot on, they are efficient, they know when to come over they know when to leave you alone. After many years of going they do greet us with a big smile, but it is not a big hug and the like. The owner will give the jfoods an air-kiss. Are the regulars treated differently? Maybe a small smidgen, but if you call on a busy night and there are no tables, there are no tables. There is no place to put another table so you are out of luck.

                      Jfood loves it.

                      Yes, the owner understands the value of repeat customers