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fantastic meal at gjelina, so-so service

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we tried gjelina for the first time over the weekend with an out-of-town friend. we didn't have reservations so the wait was about 45 minutes for the communal table. I hadn't expected it to be packed on a sunday. i loved the rustic feel, the rough-hewn tables, and warm vibe. it was homey but still felt elegant. i appreciate the ever changing menu that seems to celebrate the season. we were seated and about 5 minutes went by before we were greeted. the wine we brought was poured ($25 corkage) and by then we had decided so we placed our order and asked for water.

10 minutes go by, atill no water. our food arrives - beautiful tagliatelle in a silky sauce with artichoke, sausage and peas. a mound of niman ranch steak tartare - must have been 6 oz. there, dressed with capers, mustard, and onion but still letting the flavor of the beef shine through, with a fried egg, arugula and grilled ciabatta on the side, the latter charred in places and shatteringly crisp beneath the creamy yolk and tender meat. duck confit was crispy, fatty, and delicious on a bed of beluga lentils, frisee, and cherries with crunchy pistachios scattered through. a pizza with tomato, anchovy and ricotta was sumptous and salty, but soggy in the center. we did notice other tables' pizzas seemed sturdier than ours. everything was perfectly seasoned.

halfway through our meal and still no water. we asked a busser for some so when the waiter came by to check on the food, we didn't say anything since we thought it was coming. 5 minutes later, we asked the bartender. water arrives with only 2 glasses for the 3 of us. luckily one of us had water during the wait and the glass was still on the table. we polished off pretty much everything. as the busser takes our plates, we ask for more water. he returns and sets a whole new set of glasses down without taking away the others, weird.

lattes with dessert arrive quickly and are textbook perfect, not too hot with thick foam and hunks of raw sugar alongside. the panna cotta with raspberries and amaretti crumbs is light and creamy and austere, wanting a touch more acid. but strawberry rhubarb crisp with vanilla gelato is heaven, with a buttery, crumbly topping in equal proportion to the juicy, tangy fruit. i'm jealous since this is one of my favorites desserts ever and i only got to make it a couple times before rhubarb disappeared from the markets. i don't know where they're getting it but i don't care, it's my midsummer night's dream in it's very own tiny staub baking dish, luscious and tart and vanishing away even though we're stuffed.

the check arrives and wouldn't you know it, we're rung up before we can blink. 30 minutes for water and 30 seconds for a cashout - we know where your priorities are.

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  1. I had a reunion with two very old friends last night at Gjelina that couldn't hsve gone better. We were a party of three but were given a round table normally for four. Started with a the eggplant and mozzarella pizza -- fantastic starter, utrathin charred crust, tasty toppings. First round of dishes excellent -- garlicky grilled radiccio, an heirloom spinach salad with grape tomatoes and a luscious crumbly creamy cheese not unlike a feta, and a pasta dish. star of the second round were the gnocchi; we weren't hungry enough anymore to finish the grilled broccoli or asparagus. Finished with the butterscotch pot au creme that was spoon-lickingly luscious. Very nice service -- we were permitted to eat, talk, and laugh on the pleasant patio for three hours, until they needed the table for a ten o'clock reservation.

    1. I agree with your experience completely... I hadn't really planned on returning after a dinner there, but I had to plan a business meeting for today and due to wishes of the attendees, Gjelina's menu was the perfect fit... I just hoped the cold service wouldn't be so noticeable since we had lots of business to discuss...

      Well, from the second we arrived, the service was wonderful... we got sat immediately even though our party of five was only a party of two to start... They took our order (and delivered it) shortly after sitting down and it was warm and attentive (without being overbearing or desperate) throughout the meal...

      The meal itself was wonderful as usual....

      The vendor ordered the BLT which was huge and she just devoured...


      I had the Tomato and burrata salad which was simple and light, but this great pesto dressing that really made it special...


      Boss has a sweet tooth and HAD to order the Butterscotch Pot de Creme as I had hyped it up.... it was identical to the version we had at dinner time... and was quickly devoured...


      So great food... great service.... and the space bathed in light was so beautiful... airy... and relaxed... It was like I discovered a whole new restaurant and now I have a great place for lunch... and LUNCH only....