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Falai - gone downhill...

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My husband and I have had several outstanding meals at Falai over the last couple of years, but this evening we were sorely disappointed.

Gone was the intimate atmosphere... Gone was the caring waitstaff... Gone was the sexy food... My entree, a tepid seafood soup, was lukewarm, with bits of clams, one tiny piece of nondescript fish, and one impoverished tentacle of a rubberized octopus. Yuck. The broth, which was actually quite tasty, amounted to less than a cup, for $28. Our waiter, for all of his charmed blondness, was way too frantic to even check in with us once to ask how things were. We got the check ASAP and got out of there.

I hate to even write this, but it was just such an astonishing change from the past graciousness and elegance. Falai used to provide top-level food and service -- now it's just an average, overpriced Manhattan eatery.

We had dessert at WD-50 next door, which was magical and fantastic... the waiter told us that Falai has a new chef.. is that the issue?

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WD-50
50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

Falai
68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

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  1. Dined at Falai Panneteria right down the block and had a really nice meal, at a lesser price than Falai proper.Some dishes are misses (the texture of the Gnudi was off), but we were glad we didn't spring for the fancier restaurant after taking a look at the menu. Oh, and their bolognese was delicious.

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    Falai
    68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

    1 Reply
    1. re: sugartoof

      Thank you for the tip!

    2. Very sad, isn't it? It was one of my favorite restaurants when it opened, but now it's really quite mediocre.

      1. I'm surprised - I dine there quite regularly and I haven't had any issues of late. If you've been there a number of times, I'd give them the benefit of the doubt and write it off as an off-night - every kitchen has them, even the best, unfortunately. I'm reticent to blanketly declare a restaurant "gone downhill" if I've had a number of good meals there, and one fell flat.

        Maybe they were understaffed? That could explain both the food and service being off. If the kitchen is frantic, for whatever reason - someone's out sick, etc - it can rub off on the waitstaff. Like I said, off nights happen, even at Daniel or Jean-George or EMP or wherever. (Well, okay, maybe not at EMP...)

        I don't know anything about a new chef - Iacopo Falai is still the main chef who creates the menu, but someone else probably oversees the kitchen during service.

        Admittedly, I'm pretty tough on restaurants. If I dine somewhere for the first time and it's an "off" night I'm not giving them a second chance - too many good restos in this town to bother with that. But if I'm already a regular somewhere - or even a somewhat-regular - and there's an off night... I give them some slack.

        Now, if I have TWO consecutive off meals, then it's time for a re-assessment of the "regular" list...

        And as long as the pici is still as good as ever, and the raspberry / black truffle souffle stays on the menu, Falai will probably stay on the list at least for those.

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        Falai
        68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

        2 Replies
        1. re: sgordon

          sgordon writes, in the same message:

          "... I'd give [Falai] the benefit of the doubt and write it off as an off-night - every kitchen has them, even the best, unfortunately."

          "... If I dine somewhere for the first time and it's an "off" night I'm not giving them a second chance - too many good restos in this town to bother with that."

          and we wonder why the dining market churns so.

          1. re: Phil Ogelos

            Well, it's simple - a dining establishment that I've been to a number of times and always had a good meal from has earned the right to have an off night. I KNOW that they can do better, because I've experienced better from them time and time again. A resto that I'm experiencing for the first time hasn't earned that leeway. I don't know that they're capable of better, so I'm not going to spend my money there again, not unless I hear something major has changed and it's worth a revisit. Or if someone whose opinion I trust convinces me to give it another go.

            Seems pretty logical to me.