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Perfect evening at Tocqueville spoiled by final service

We have been meaning to check out Tocqueville for a while now and finally went the other night. It was so close to being a fantastic evening and then the last 27 minutes turned to frustration.

And since I don't want to fault the food for the frustration I will say up front that the food was wonderful. I would be hard pressed to remember fresher, more flavorful micro greens (and vegetables in general). All dishes in the tasting were well thought out and portions were more than generous.

That being said...the evening was paced very nicely, courses were brought out and cleared promptly even though in general the service seems a little less polished then just about any other fine dining restaurant we've been to in NYC. Entree served and then cheese was brought, afterwards desserts were brought out with our coffee and dessert wine, a little bit of a fumble but we didn't care because everything up to that point had been wonderful. So we finished desserts, we finished coffee, we finished wine. Table was cleared, I mean really really cleared, the only thing left was a candle. And we sat....and we sat...and we sat. No one continued to check on us. Everytime I tried to get someones attention they would turn and go elsewhere. I was starting to feel stupid because it was obvious to other diners that I started to raise my finger several times only to be denied. My GF saw my frustration and suggested I just go for the major faux pas and get up and go to the Captain. That was not going to happen. So we sat some more and when my attempts were producing nothing my GF finally got someones attention, 27 minutes after the table had been cleared. I just don't see a good excuse for that, the restaurant was not packed, they did not appear to be in the weeds. I may return because of the food but it will be a while...

Thanks, needed to get that off my chest.

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  1. Thanks for the report, spirit. That's good to know.

    I do have to say that I'm with your GF. If they are not properly serving you, why is it impolite to get up and get the attention you deserve?! THEY should be embarrassed that you were forced to get up to get service, not YOU!

    1 Reply
    1. re: ml77

      I agree but I know my personality and was afraid it may snowball into something I didn't want it to turn into.

    2. I had almost the exact same experience at Tocqueville a couple months ago. The service was a little strange throughout but the wait for the check was interminable. We did eventually get up and get the captain's attention after 20 minutes. We also witnessed the same scenario play out with a couple who finished while we were dining. The gentleman in that pair was not quite as patient and made a bit of a scene.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Snarls

        Oh, so it wasn't just an "off" night, interesting.

      2. What a shame to be treated that way at that restaurant. Had it been me, I would have raised my hand and said in a matter of fact-ly way "Excuse me, we are trying to finish a meal here but have being ignored viciously for the past 27 minutes. What would it take to salvage this night for us?"

        1. How unfortunate. Did you speak with anyone about your disappointing experience? Might be worth a call or email to management after the fact. Sounds like it's an ongoing issue and if it's not brought to the right person's attention, it may well continue...

          1. You could just say: "Excuse me, may we have the check please?" That should help next time.

            That being said, holding eye contact should be enough to bring a waiter over in a restaurant of the caliber of Tocqueville.

            I would call and let them know. I'm sure they'd be happy to hear about your experience.

            2 Replies
            1. re: The Wandering Foodie

              Yes, saying "Excuse me, may we have the check please?" would have been an excellent solution, that the way I usually get the check, but as I stated there was no one within our vacinity to say that to.

              1. re: Spiritchaser

                It would certainly be well within reason to get up and ask someone for the check -- although you shouldn't have to at a restaurant of that caliber -- and I can't see how that would be a "major faux pas." Preferable, IMO, to sitting there and becoming increasingly frustrated and annoyed.

            2. what about calling from your cellphone? I bet you could get someone's attention.

              6 Replies
              1. re: rkaene

                Your suggestion is brilliant! Definitely would get their attention (and maybe an apology too!).

                1. re: ellenost

                  I have done that before and its great and certainly calms you down as well. However. In this case you could have stood up with your GF and walked to the door to leave. I bet they would have noticed you then.

                2. re: rkaene

                  Brilliant idea! I'm going to keep that one filed away for (hopefully not needed) future use.

                  1. re: Spiritchaser

                    WOW! That was totally opposite what my wife and I experienced when we dined there recently, our first time.

                    From the moment we entered I felt we were the only people in the place, the service was so attentive. We brought a bottle of wine and as we made our "happy anniversary" toasts the waiter overheard us and after we finished our meal, he said that the chef had a "special" desert for us. he brought out a plate of several small deserts with "Happy Anniversary" spelled out in chocolate.

                    When we finished our coffee and desert the waiter asked if we'd like to relax for a while or did we want the check. We asked for the check, paid and left very satisfied with a wonderful meal.

                    1. re: Stuartmc910

                      I had a wonderful experience at Tocqueville as well. For starter a salad of microgreens and baby beets. For entree I had the duck breast and confit of duck that was crisp skinned and succulent.

                      The pastry chef is phenomenal. I had an amazing seasonal dessert with scrumptious fresh pitted cherries and luscious chocolate ganche, as well as their curry pannacotta with spiced pineapple.

                      1. re: Pookipichu

                        Forgot to mention the bread. Brioche, perfect for sopping up duck juices, so very delicious. I ate four brioche rolls with their excellent butter.