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Serafina White Plains- SKIP IT!!!! ( long)

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We ate w/ friends last night at the new Serafina in White Plains and, I have to say, that if they don't iron out the multitude of issues they have, they won't last long w/ Westchester patrons. Yes, yes, I understand they are 2 weeks new, but for an established "chain", these kinds of problems should not exist.
We had an 8 pm reservation but decide to meet at the bar earlier for a drink. ( 7:45) The bar area is very small and you have to walk through all the tables to get to it. When we navigated our way in, the bar was already jammed w/ people who were waiting for tables. I saw people I knew who were already a 1/2 hour in to waiting for their reservation. The bartender ( very sweet, but completely frazzled) took our drink order- but let us know they were out of many things. Just about everything we asked for. The people around us were also pretty astounded that bar basics that they wanted ( Grey Goose, Maker's, ) were also unavailable. The glasses are tiny and they were running low on clean ones. The bar was under stocked, under staffed and overwhelmed.

After 1/2 hour of waiting, I asked the hostess where we were in the seating line up. She said we were next. We were not. The 2 hostesses and the manager were not aware of what the others were telling waiting patrons. After watching 2 tables sit, and being approached by a different hostess who asked if we had a reservation, my husband approached the manager. ( Please don't ask why we stayed. Friend's husband wanted to leave. We couldnt decide where else to go. Friend had really wanted to eat at Serafina since she loved it in the city, etc...)
While we waited, we asked about ordering a pizza to the bar now that we had 4 seats, and we were told it would take a 1/2 hour. We were also told they would comp some of our drinks. They did not.
One of the women sitting at the bar before us had to ask for some bread b/c she felt unwell after drinks w/ no food. They brought her one piece of bread on a napkin. And then never removed it from the bar after her party sat.
There were unhappy patrons at the bar who were approaching the manager about their wait, unhappy patrons at the tables who were waiting for food.
After an hour of waiting we sat at a table alongside the window. I had previously told the manager I did not want the table that was directly next to the bar b/c I do not like being jostled when I eat ( or have people'c behinds in my face).

Our waiter was very friendly and apologized to us for the long wait. He said he'd get everything moving for us ASAP. We were starving. We ordered a margarita pizza, bruschetta, fried calamari, goat cheese salad and burrata to start. We ended up w/ a plain cheese pizza instead of the margarita but we ate it. The goat cheese salad was greens, nuts, dressing and 4 rounds of cheese. Fine, but nothing to rave about. Same w/ the burrata. The calamari was not greasy, but completely bland and tasteless. We ate everything b/c we were so hungry.
The guys ordered the gnocchi for dinner. Decent size portion and soft, but again- no taste at all. Not sure if it needed salt, or the sauce needed more seasoning or both. My friend's bolognese was tasty but I didn't want to keep helping myself to her food. I had originally thought I'd order the salmon and our waiter said it was " pretty good", but the veal scallopine al limone was " very good". It literally tasted like leather. I didn't even bother to send it back. At that point, I didn't even care.
We clearly had no interest in staying for dessert and coffee, although it might have been nice if the manager had offered us some when he thanked us for our patience.
I know I should have expressed our dissatisfaction with the food at various points during the meal, but I didn't. I felt like it was going to fall on deaf ears anyway. It was like being on Candid Camera. A different waiter asked if we wanted coffee or dessert. We asked for the check. I should mention that oddly, the manager took off my husband's drink, but left my friend's sodas. My husband wouldn't let me see the bill, but I know the bar bill was at least $70.
On the way out, said goodbye to the people I know who were still waiting for their food...

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  1. Sounds like a total nightmare. They totally should have comped drinks, offerered dessert or SOMETHING! Looks like they have lots of kinks to iron out!

    1 Reply
    1. re: wincountrygirl

      I just can't understand how a restaurant with that kind of a following in/from the city could not anticipate the sheer number of people who would come. And, b/c of that following, there is clearly a high level of expectation. It was total disorganization on every level.

    2. I'm not surprised that it didn't deliver, but am quite disappointed. Cheeburger had similar issues when they opened due to "grand opening" jitters, but I call it utter lack of respect for your customers. It's pathetic. Last thing we need in WP is more crap.

      2 Replies
      1. re: broosewee

        I have no idea if they did a "soft opening" or not, but they needed to do something to get on track before opening their doors. I have never seen that many pissed off diners in one place. Ever. And all of their ire was warranted.

        1. re: MRS

          you've obviously never been to a MD boston market that ran out of chicken halfway though dinner.

          =)

      2. The original comment has been removed