701 for Restaurant Week
I have a reservation for 701 for next week. I haven't really read anything from people mentioning an interest in going there for RW and I am wondering why. I had a friend eat there a few weeks ago and she loved it. But now I am second-guessing my choice. Any thoughts?
They will just be finishing a very fast renovation (I had no idea a place could renovate so fast) and starting with a new chef, so people may be hesitant to take a chance. Also on this board 701 doesn't get much mention.
I eat at the bar a lot, and it is my go to pre-imax movie spot (yes I am a geek I like movies on IMAX). Their bar menu is great and I love the piano music, and they have some wonderful bartenders (who will be very happy as they just got a nice vacation and they told me it was a paid one when I was there- although who knows on that). I really like that you can get glasses of Tattinger at the bar for $15. As normal cocktails in the area run $12-13 and extra $2 for Tattinger is a good deal to me. I miss jazz and piano in nice restaurants. It seems there is some odd stuff being played these days. I actually have only once eaten in the restaurant part and I thought it was solid. Not the most creative menu, but very good. So I am hoping the bar food stays just as good. But I don't really dig RW or I would try it out. I will probably go back here soon after they reopen and it isn't RW.
We had such a bad experience at 701 during a RW two years ago, I vowed not to return. The food was mediocre at best and portions for RW were small by any standards. However it was the service, or lack thereof, that was the deciding factor. During RW, we keep in mind that servers are rushed and we tip 20% based on what the bill would have been had we ordered from the regular menu.. We felt as though our server pretty much ignored us or couldn't be bothered with us because we were participating in RW. In the end, we tipped her 10% based on the actual bill. As for the rest of the tip? The only thing that stood out was a wonderful piano player. We took what would have been the rest of server's tip and stuffed it in his glass.
As I said it was 2 yrs ago. However, of all of the restaurants we have hit during RW, it's the only real clunker we have hit. Whoops, I take that back...Les Halles can be added to that list.
I just had a disappointing Restaurant Week lunch at 701. On the minus side: the braised short rib sandwich had more "special sauce" on it than a Big Mac; the toffee "brownie" (which was actually a very dense dessert bar, rather than a brownie) was sickly sweet; and the calamari salad was over-slathered with dressing. On the plus side: the service was impeccable.