Deadly Decibels (moved from L.A. board)
Don't get me wrong, I love nearly everything about Bottega Louie - and Church and State (which suffers from similar decibel levels) for that matter. But the noise level is probably going to keep me from going there again, at least on a weekend night.
Last night I went to Bottega Louie for the third time. The other two times were for Sunday brunch and a dinner midweek. On a Friday night, the food was as good as it was the other times. The service was great. The price was reasonable for what it is.
I have been to rock concerts that weren't as loud. My girlfriend mentioned how loud it was to the hostess as she led our party of four to our table. She grimaced at my girlfriend and said she knew, that when she went home at night and her boyfriend wanted to talk to her, or wanted to watch TV or do anything that required sound - she'd just shut him up, she couldn't stand any more noise after her night of work.
The four of us quickly gave up trying to have any sort of conversation between all of us. Instead, the people sitting across from each other simply leaned in as close as they could get across the table to try and talk. Even so, we were all pretty much hoarse by the end of the dinner.
I understand that there is a school of thought that holds that a loud restaurant is more festive and fun than a quiet one. (I agree with that to a certain extent.) And even an offshoot of that school that believes there is a certain level of privacy involved when it is so loud that you can barely hear what your companion is saying, much less the people at the next table. But there is loud and there is LOUD.
I wonder how many of us feel the same way? And if enough of us do, and enough of us complain about it, perhaps our voices can be heard over the din and some otherwise great restaurants might tone it down, just a little, just a few sound baffles here and there - even some helium balloons floating at the ceiling.
I don't like loud restaurants for another reason: the staff can't hear what I'm ordering and therefore get it wrong. Case in point I ordered gumbo and I got a cubano sandwich. I work with the public, if I need to speak loudly w/ someone to get my point across I prefer to be paid for it rather than the other way around.
The last time I ate at a Macaroni Grill (not my idea; it was a group lunch and I didn't have veto powers) it was like dining in the middle of a munitions factory. Their restaurants are apparently designed with maximum echo factor in mind. If there was any loud music, I didn't hear it. There was so much noise from clattering dishes and silverware, staff members shouting to each other and diners straining to make themselves heard that John Phillip Sousa and his maching band could have been playing for all I could tell. You could practically see the decibels shimmering in the air.
Usually if I open up a door to a restaurant and am blown away by the sound, I will not go in. I do know that some restaurants tend to have more of a nightclub feel on Friday/Saturday nights. I am still not sure why they need to put the music up to an unbearable level. I went to a place with live music a few weeks back and was worried it would be too loud, but everyone in my party had no trouble hearing each other when we were speaking at normal volumes.
My gosh, I'd never even get to my seat if it was that bad. What a terrible idea for a "concept," other than the fact that it'd turn over your tables fast.
I've politely asked places to turn the music down, especially when there aren't tons of people there. There's just no excuse for it.
I feel so strongly about noisy restaurants that I would never reach the table. I like liberal servings of conversation with my meals. The only use I can think of for a really noisy eatery is if you had to eat out with someone but you really really didn't feel like speaking to them. If I'm eating alone I like to be able to hear myself think. :)
i agree completely about the decibel level.
when i went there on a weekday night, not only was the loudness intolerable, the service was bad, and the food was meh.
to top it off, they charged my credit card TWICE for the same meal and i had to fight it out with them to get them to remove the second (fraudulent) charge.
there are so many truly lovely restaurants in this town that consistently serve great food and have great service and ambiance, i can't imagine any reason for returning to this place.