I had heard about the 5X5 food event through chowhound. This is my second restaurant since I heard about this at the tail end of the annual event. My wife and I truly enjoyed the service and the food at the Water Grill event.
Yesterday was a true nightmare at La Terza. Two main problems: the wait in between dishes and the service. It was truly night and day between the Water Grill and La Terza. We were waiting about 30 minute in between dish. We were there for little bit over 3 hours.
The excuses given were: we have a big party upstairs. we are based on a ticket system in the kitchen. everyone has been waiting. sorry sorry sorry
The service speed was like a donkey. It would take a few steps only after whipping their "ass" (talking to the waitress) Bottom line, our waitress did not take care of us. For the amount we paid, it is unexcuseable.
I was there for the 5x5 dinner as well and had the exact opposite experience. Our courses came out at lightning speed and I had to chug my first glass of wine because the second wine was being poured and the next dish was being placed in front of me. We requested our waiter to slow the pace way down but the same thing happened with the third course. I again reiterated that I needed them to slow down and the timing was perfect after that.
We had a similarly poor experience. When my party arrived, we could see the staff seemed a bit overwhelmed and the hostess seemed exasperated while greeting us. In general, I got this sense of mild hostility from the waitstaff when they walked past us, as if the last thing they needed was more guests.
We were seated on time and the first course came out fairly promptly. Then came a couple of errors that kept us waiting for over an hour for the Hamachi Crudo. First the server only brought two portions, and after a brief discussion with some other staff members they took those two portions away. Next they brought out 4 portions, but of the wrong course; they brought us the scallops rather than the Hamachi. Finally they got it right and brought out 4 servings of the hamachi.
After apologizing to us, the staff promised us a surprise for our troubles. We received no such surprise unless it was the fact that the rest of the dinner was served without issue and seeing some of the posts that might just be the case.
Part of the way through our impromptu hour long break, I felt like I was trapped in an episode of Hell's Kitchen. I swear at any moment I expected an omniscient narrator to start commenting on the delay. Based on the responses here my experience was not an isolated incident. I understand this was a special occasion, but I expected more from the service.
I ate there for the first time about a month ago. I was just walking down the street, hungry for pasta and it looked good. I ate at the bar. The woman bartending was a sweetheart. I had a raw beef app (crudo?) that was delish. As good or better than I've ever had. The pasta bolognaise was also fantastic. Over all service was very friendly and swift. I have one complaint. I ordered a glass of wine, I dont remember exactly what it was. Red. It was off. It tasted oxidized, tasted like it was in a bottle open for a good while. I asked the bartender if the bottle had been open a while because it tasted off. She defered to a manager. I know I was dressed very casual, and I'm always very polite when questioning the quality of a wine,but this guy seemed to dismiss me as someone who doesn't know wine, which I happen to know fairly well. He replaced the wine from a new bottle, which was fine but then mumbled something about the nature of Sangiovesse, which wasn't the case. I'll go back, but was just a bit put off.
Truley sad to hear about your experience but rest assured that you were not alone. My family and I were at La Terza last night for the 5X5 as well and also felt the lag in service. I would like to say, however, that this should not be held against La Terza as this event is not your typical night at La Terza. Firstly, there are 5 of the city's best chefs all working in a TINY La Terza kitchen. Not alone is space an issue but unfamiliarity within the kitchen probably added to the lag. Also, La Terza is rarely ever as busy as it was last night (9/22). There was a table of over 20 people in one of the rooms and this must have slowed everything down as it looked like this table took priority over everyone else. Above all, despite the horrific service, this may have been the best dinner I have ever had. Again, I hope I don't come off as making excuses as the service really was poor last night but the sweet corn ravioli, scrambled eggs with summer truffles, seared scallops with pistachio emulsion and hamachi crudo were all to die for.
Bottom line for me...despite spending over 3 hours at the restaurant and dealing with shotty service, this was an amazing culinary delight. I would do it all over again even with the poor service as I am not sure one restaurant alone can serve the quintet of perfect plates that the 5 All-Stars produced last night.
I was really disappointed with the service last night too. The food was great but paying $150 for that kind of service was a no-no.
It itsn't just the slow service. After finishing the 4th course (the agnolotti), we waited quite a bit for the next dish to be served. Then a plate came - yay! - oh wait, these are the scallops. No, we've had this dish.
So we waited for a while more. I was finishing up the bread at this point since I was starving! So another plate came! Wait ... it's the agnolotti ... We've had this dish too! Argh!!!
Waited another 30 minutes ... it's been over 2 hours at this point since we arrived. The table next to us came an hour after me and now they were being served the agnolotti, which is where we were left off ... oh oh wait, there's THEIR tuna being served, where's mine? That was the last straw for me. I asked for everything else to go and left.
I ate the rest at home and must admit the dishes were oustandingly delicious... but as far as total experience goes, Water Grill's dinner was much superior. I haven't blogged about this yet as I have serious mixed feelings ...
Yup! It's been a year or two since I was there, but I remember enjoying it very, very much. Had the melon and pear appetizer, tagliatelle con cinghiale (pasta with boar, forgive me if I misspelled it), and torta alla nonna (pine nuts and custard). Hmm. Clearly it left an impression :)
On any other evening, La Terza is really pretty excellent. I've been there half-a-dozen times and always had a good time, once or twice the service hasn't been the best, but the food is always good. I like it better than Angelini Osteria and I understand it that Gino is at La Terza more often that Angelini.