Aquagrill no more
I excitedly took a group to Aquagrill, once one of my favorite seafood places in the world,
raving all the way. As a former NY'er I've had many meals there but hadn't made it back in 3 years. The verdict: I'll pass from now on.
These people serve a lot of seafood and I used to marvel at how fresh it was. But that's changed. The Maine whelks were still dirty, for example. That wasn't the case when I had them before. There were oysters that had lost their texture that no one should ever serve.
The service is spotty. My waiter would disappear for long stretches of time, forget to bring drinks, etc. And the busboys constantly want to take dishes with food on them.
They resent requests for anything. Most of our interactions were with them and they're downright belligerent, making no attempt to please or communicate with diners.
I now think the place is about average and will head to Soto or Yasuda instead.
I'm sorry you had such a bad experience, but it couldn't be further from mine. I hadn't been to Aquagrill in a couple of years, and took my in-laws on Good Friday (Catholics = fish on GF). We arrived an hour early for our reservation and took a seat in the (tiny) lounge area for drinks, until we were seated promptly at our reserved time.
Started with fantastic oysters - Wellfleets that were just briny enough without a hint of fishyness or salt, and Kumomotos that were sweet and perfect - plus a half-dozen littlenecks. Two other apps for the table, but I was too busy on the oysters to notice. Mains - John Dory for me, sea scallops with dungeness risotto for my wife - were some of the best seafood I've had in years, and made me regret all the time I've spent of late having grilled fish at Greek places. Excellent desserts, and service that my in-laws couldn't stop praising through Easter dinner.
And the kicker: for five of us, probably three drinks each, oysters, appetizers, entrees, and two desserts, the total came to $450 including tax and a 20%+ tip. I couldn't imagine complaining.
i've always been ambivalent about Aquagrill...while the oysters and fish have always been fresh and the service professional, i've always found the vibe and general attitude just a bit cold and corporate, as if it belongs in the Time Warner Center, rather than on a cute corner in Soho...which is odd since i've heard the place is family-owned...
i don't dislike it, and i've never had a "bad" experience...but given my great love of raw oysters and simply prepared fresh fish, i don't go there anywhere near as much as i might...it's merely my vague and subjective impression...
As mentioned it was once one of my favorite places around. They serve about 1200 oysters per night and I am convinced that their quality control could be tightened up.
Spending 450 dollars to eat food with dirt in it
is not something I would care to repeat.
epop, thanks for the report. We went last year and had a good experience. Sorry yours was not a good one.