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Eve--am I the only one?

b
burgundyslut May 10, 2009 07:24 PM

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the food. It's heavenly, and worth every penny. but each time I have eaten in the tasting room, I have the same experience with the service--it's more focused on the food than on the customer. We wait so long between courses, and each course is a mini-production, but the servers fail to check back, to ask if we want to order more wine (we do! we do! two glasses over 3.5 hours is not enough!) and I look around the room, I see other diners drumming their fingers on the table because they have been there so long. By the end of the evening, I feel like I am being held captive, and my needs are being ignored. and the waitstaff seems completely oblivious to this dynamic. after 2.5 hours of eating, I get tired. By three hours, and a continued slow pace, I'm ready to leave. (but the petit fours--I love them!) I have never gotten out of there in under 3.5 hours. (I work, I have a small child at home, my leisure time is limited) Does this mean I should not eat in the tasting room?

to make it worse, because the waitstaff do not have a private area in the tasting room, we must witness the drama that is inherent with any job. discussion regarding the little mistakes, the mini-dramas. and yes, I become more aware of this as the night goes on.

caveat, I have only eaten in the smaller part of the tasting room, not the larger area. Is the service better in the larger area? If so, I could easily ask to be seated there.

ideas?

  1. r
    reiflame May 10, 2009 07:28 PM

    It depends - how many courses are you going through in 3.5 hours? My general rule is 1.5 -2 hours for 3 courses, but I spent 4 hours at Citronelle doing the 10 course menu and I found the pacing appropriate.

    It's all personal taste, I guess. Some people eat fast and don't converse as much during dinner and some eat slow and like to chat. I just fall into the chatty category, I guess.

    2 Replies
    1. re: reiflame
      monkeyrotica May 11, 2009 03:35 AM

      I'm in the chatty category as well, but sometimes it is an endurance test in the tasting room. One that I'm willing to make. I tend to have the opposite problem: servers who hover, or who ask your order before you've even looked at the menu. There's a fine line between prompt service and being rushed.

      1. re: reiflame
        b
        burgundyslut May 12, 2009 07:23 PM

        We did 5 courses in 3.5 hours. and we talked the entire time. I agree that there is "personal taste," but there is also a level of attentiveness to patrons that was missing, in addition to the slow pace.

        We were an earlier reservation, so I was hoping that would speed things up. the previous time we did 7 or 9, I can't remember, and we were there 4.5 hours.

      2. c
        chromacosmic May 10, 2009 08:01 PM

        I can't speak of experience in Eve's tasting room, but just wanted to say ditto about the wine. I feel like they've cut me off or something! I'm not a lush, just one more glass, please. Tasting rooms/menus are so tempting, but then I always seem to find one dish that I'm just meh about or one that I so wish I had as a main dish portion. It ends up frustrating me. I'm sure I would be even more flustered without enough wine to see me through.

        2 Replies
        1. re: chromacosmic
          monkeyrotica May 11, 2009 03:38 AM

          I think that's the point of tasting rooms: to see what you like and learn what you don't so that you can avoid that in the future and go for the good stuff instead. I can't imagine a 9-course meal where EVERYTHING was mindblowing.

          I don't understand what the deal is with the slow wine service. You'd think they'd WANT to sell more wine. And it's not like it's that hard to measure: if a patron's glass is empty, ask if they want more. What's so hard about that? Maybe they've been burned by idiot customers who've been offended. "NO! I don't want any more wine! ARE YOU CALLING ME AN ALCOHOLIC?!?"

          1. re: monkeyrotica
            c
            chromacosmic May 12, 2009 08:51 AM

            Oh sure, I definitely see your point about new experiences and learning what you like/dislike. When I said I'm meh about a course I mean an ingredient that no matter how spectacularly or innovatively prepared, won't really interest me. I'm never going to say "damn, that was the best cauliflower ever, I wish I had more" and I just have no love for certain oily fishes. Then when its followed by a course that has me wanting to lick the plate, I have regret that I suffered through the mackerel only to have a teeny tasting portion of something fantastic.

            I agree with you about the wine, one would think they would want to sell plenty. I will adopt your theory, perhaps they are not calling me a lush by not offering me more, perhaps they are worried I will think they are calling me a lush, an important difference!

            My, my monkey, you do get up early in the morning and manage to make so much sense. I'm in awe.

        2. d
          Doh May 10, 2009 09:35 PM

          I had a very similar experience and reaction (and we were a late seating-- somehow I was hoping they would be willing to pace things a little quicker towards the end of the night). On the other hand, I thought the food was very good, but I wouldn't call it heavenly nor worth every penny.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Doh
            j
            joann.hill12 Jun 7, 2009 06:45 PM

            We recently went to Eve for the first time for my husband's birthday. We chose the 5 course tasting menu. Completely agree...while the food was very good (and we would return, but next time we'd probably order off the regular menu), we did not think it was "heavenly".
            We did, however, think the service was impeccable.

            1. re: joann.hill12
              d
              Doh Jun 7, 2009 07:57 PM

              I've been wondering about the 5 course tasting menu, because that's what I got, and it turned out to be all items that were offered on the regular menu-- just the chef chose which ones to send out. Somehow that wasn't what I was expecting. Was your experience similar, or was that just me (perhaps because only one of us got the tasting menu, or because I have a couple of food allergies).

              1. re: Doh
                j
                joann.hill12 Jun 8, 2009 06:05 PM

                We actually never even looked at the regular menu so I have no idea. When we went, we already had it in our heads that we'd go for the tasting menu so we didn't even bother to look at the regular menu. I assumed that they were different menus, but maybe I was wrong?

          2. p
            Pappy May 11, 2009 05:35 AM

            Wow. I am a crabby old man, and an absolute stickler for proper service. Although I think the food at Eve is a notch below their competition, I have always had wonderful service there, and I can recall remarking about it to my dinner-mates. In particular, what impressed me most, is how unobtrusive they were. The meal flowed just as it should have, and the wait staff anticipated every need, and therefore never had to interfere with conversation. It was "about the food", and not about them getting in the way of it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Pappy
              t
              tmemedia Jun 8, 2009 12:39 PM

              >>Although I think the food at Eve is a notch below their competition, I have always had wonderful service there>>
              Pappy, I am very curious -- which of their competition do you think has better food? I ask because I've booked my birthday dinner in the Tasting Room at Eve and it's coming up this weekend. I've been there 3 times and it continues to be my favorite restaurant in the area. I've just been to Komi recently and while Komi was mindblowing, I still prefer Eve for a lavish birthday celebratory event. But if you think there are better places out there, I'd love for you to share them with me -- I'm open to trying something new if you think the food is better.
              (PS: Have not been yet to foodie favorites Blue Duck Tavern, Volt, 2941, Cityzen)

            2. Pool Boy May 11, 2009 05:40 AM

              Only ever been once to Eve, in the Tasting Room. Service was fine. Food was mixed. Some items were great (the amuse in particular), but several of the 'main' tasting courses were rather mundane, meh or were just a puzzlement to me.

              I've promised myself that I will go back and order off the regular menu someday. Same goes for CityZen.

              1. e
                eatsie May 12, 2009 08:58 AM

                I agree - the snob appeal of mingling with the chef, er, "artist". Please, give me food, not all that gimmickry promoted by jaded professional critics.

                3 Replies
                1. re: eatsie
                  monkeyrotica May 12, 2009 10:59 AM

                  If you're looking for gimmickry, you could do a lot worse than Eve.

                  Some chefs just don't know when to put down the foam gun and the squirt bottles and let the food speak for itself.

                  1. re: monkeyrotica
                    e
                    eatsie May 13, 2009 03:14 PM

                    Ok, didn't mean to pick on Eve, as I have never been there.

                  2. re: eatsie
                    Pool Boy May 12, 2009 07:17 PM

                    I never mentioned that I thought Eve was a gimmick, or the chef claiming to be an artiste or anything like that. I liked most of the food. I loved a couple of courses, but the overall feel from me was that it was overrated. At the time I thought I wished I was ordering off of the regular menu is all. I will eventually do so, but Alexandria is more than the typical schlepp I will make for a dinner. Someday I'll do it though.

                  3. h
                    hungryinwdc Jun 21, 2009 05:20 AM

                    The problem is not you, it's them. Having eaten in the larger area I can tell you that it won't be a solution. In a truly great (or even very good) restaurant, they will pay attention and suit your pace. The same 6 courses can take 2 hours for one table and 4 hours for another, depending on customer preferences, and at a place like Bouley (which charges LESS for their tasting menu than Eve), the waitstaff will notice and inform the kitchen to adjust accordingly.

                    My tasting room dinner at Restaurant Eve was one of the most appallingly bad "fine dining" experiences I have had. The food was sub-par at best (for example, my raw fish course had fish scales in it) and the waitstaff was more interested in standing around gossiping about my problems than actually doing something to fix them. When we told the manager on our way out that we had been dissatisfied, we were informed that we were probably not sophisticated enough to have dined there. HA!

                    It makes me really sad that places like Eve can get away with charging the prices that they charge for the mediocre food that they put out and the disrespect that they show customers.

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