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Domenica service

s
sanglier Nov 14, 2011 07:54 AM

Went to Domenica last night. I always love the food, but without fail, no matter which different waiter I get, the service is amazingly inattentive. This guy ran the gamut: forgot which wine I ordered; forgot to bring a requested cup of ice; forgot to bring side plates for the pizza we shared; never filled the water glasses; never filled the wine glasses; forgot the cappucino. As bad a service as I've had there. Am I just snake-bitten or do others find this to be the case? Aside from the service, the food was as excellent as ever. Oh man, that grilled octopus pizza!!

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Domenica
123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

  1. h
    Hungry Celeste Nov 14, 2011 08:43 AM

    I'm a huge fan of the food, but the service is wildly inconsistent. I've rec'd everything from flawless to rank amateur...it usually falls somewhere on the low middle.

    1. uptownlibrarian Nov 14, 2011 09:03 AM

      Same here. Even the well-meaning waiters are overly familiar, but most don't seem to be trained at all. Still I like the food too much to write it off.

      1. c
        collardman Nov 14, 2011 02:09 PM

        Maybe it was the full moon.

        Dinner at Lillette Saturday was quite good but the service was the pits. I had guests from out of town so it was also embarrasing.

        1 Reply
        1. re: collardman
          uptownlibrarian Nov 15, 2011 05:59 AM

          That's a shame. I love Lilette but the service has always been their weak spot too, I think.

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          Lilette
          3637 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115

        2. c
          califkatie Nov 15, 2011 09:20 AM

          haven't been to Domenica or Lilette, but i had the very same problem last visit to Patois. Very excellent food and the worst service i've had in a long time. I will go again, but i just couldn't believe a restaurant of that caliber could produce that experience. (wasn't busy when i went so that wasn't the problem)

          2 Replies
          1. re: califkatie
            s
            sanglier Nov 15, 2011 11:30 AM

            Has every high-end restaurant fired their waitstaff and replaced them with cab drivers?! Went to Delmonico last night. For those crazy prices, I'd have expected better than Moe, Larry and Curly. So much for the "team" concept! One had to keep going back to the kitchen to see what the specials were; one brought the wrong wine; and the other couldn't answer a single query about the nature of the menu items. Makes me appreciate a place like Herbsaint that is always spot-on.

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            Herbsaint
            701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

            1. re: sanglier
              N.O.Food Nov 15, 2011 04:42 PM

              I think hit or miss service is the post-katrina norm. I've lowered my expectations quite a bit since then.

          2. Bill Hunt Nov 15, 2011 07:04 PM

            That is unfortunate. Our one trip was about 2 years ago, We were wonderfully impressed.

            It started, when I called them, to inquire on the menu, as my 89 year old M-I-L was in the group. Nothing looked like something that she would enjoy, looking at the Web site. In about 15 mins., the exec. chef called back, and promised my wife, that her mother could have anything, that she wanted, including Popeye's Fried Chicken, from over on St. Charles Ave.

            When we arrived at the Roosevelt, there were major problems, and we called Domenica (just down the lobby), to update them. No problem. The Roosevelt continued to throw problems in front of us, but we called Domenica one more time.

            When we arrived, we were now 45 mins. late, and most of the diners had cleared out, save for a few at the bar. The servers were all standing at attention, and worked well into the night, satisfying every need. None drifted off, and none went to their dinners, until we had everything that we needed. That nigh we closed them down, as even the bar was empty. Not one server missed a beat.

            Now, the food was good, but was a tad bit of a let-down, at least for me. Everyone else in our party seemed to have given it "two thumbs up." Service? We ALL gave that "two thumbs up."

            Sorry that things did not go well. Maybe too much time has passed, since our visit, or maybe the management has changed? I cannot offer any explanation on why I had a stellar service, and you never have. I am sad for that.

            Thanks for the review,

            Hunt

            -----
            Popeye's Fried Chicken
            1603 W Airline Hwy, La Place, LA 70068

            Domenica
            123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

            1. b
              BerkeleySQ Feb 28, 2012 07:46 PM

              We went tonight for the first and last time. Piss poor service from beginning to end.No greeting, no explanation of the menu or wine list. brought out each of our 4 drinks one at a time. The waiter placed our leftover box of pizza ON THE FLOOR. We were not impressed with anything we ordered.
              antipasta platter, chicken liver crostini ( pretty good ) and 3 different pizzas. 2 of 4 desserts were good and we liked our wine . After all the glowing reviews we were sorely disappointed. Horribly loud hotel atmosphere. Do yourself a favor and go to August instead.

              8 Replies
              1. re: BerkeleySQ
                texasredtop Feb 28, 2012 07:56 PM

                I've seen several reviews similar to yours. Thanks for the heads up, it will not go on my list ...

                1. re: texasredtop
                  s
                  sanglier Feb 28, 2012 08:57 PM

                  I know chef Alon has appeared on this board, and as much as it must pain him to see a consistent criticism of his service, I wonder, when will this 800-pound gorilla be addressed?

                  1. re: sanglier
                    j
                    JazzyB Feb 29, 2012 04:33 AM

                    Depending upon game time, we always makes resv. at Domenica pre or post Saints home games. They are always slammed and never seem to make a staffing adjustment. We usually have to wait for our table. Walk ins are told the wait is 1 1/2 hours.

                    Open table sent the usual post meal diner review request. I was rather harsh regarding the service and can't help but think others were as well...it was beyond bad.

                    The following week, we were seated in a timely manner and our waitress was attentive. Both the
                    manager and chef made the rounds. Will wonders never cease? Absolutely. The next week back to the same old. Front of house needs a total revamping...seems like everyone knows but them.

                    1. re: sanglier
                      c
                      culinas Feb 29, 2012 09:32 AM

                      I was so excited about Domenica, even before it opened, to have more options for Italian (and not Creole-Italian, not that there's anything wrong with that) in New Orleans.

                      There are so many things that look so good on Domenica's menu. I want so badly to go back but like you said, I have just heard (and, once, experienced) too many crazy service stories.

                      (My personal one, maybe 1-1.5 years ago includes bring out the wrong salumi platter, server being unable to identify the different meats, and bringing out entrees about 5 minutes after we received first courses, with our server holding our plates above our table and asking "Um, do you want these now?") Around the same time period, my boyfriend and his parents received similar service on two seperate occasions. I'm sad that these kinds of things are still happening so much later.

                      As sanglier said, even as just a line cook I know I hate to read bad reviews for a place where I've tried my best to put out good food to have the experience ruined by bad service (or to be unable to prepare food with the right timing due to bad service, but that's not the point. BOH and FOH are perfectly capable of screwing up independently of each other, haha).
                      I just want to be able to eat and enjoy the food Chef Alon has envisioned/created/described on the menu.

                      With recent reviews and at that price point though, I'm afraid I'm going to have to keep skipping it, or maybe just take the minimal risk (budget wise) and try the happy hour.

                      1. re: culinas
                        FoodChic Feb 29, 2012 09:39 AM

                        I ate there twice this last week and had great service both times.

                        1. re: FoodChic
                          j
                          JazzyB Mar 1, 2012 04:52 AM

                          Good to know. Hopefully it will continue.

                          1. re: JazzyB
                            j
                            JazzyB Mar 13, 2012 06:57 PM

                            Sorry to say, 8 of us went around 2. Had it not been for bread plates, we would have been dining on the table top. No plates for sharing. Great food, awful service. Many empty tables so no excuse for slip ups. Maybe they just don't care.

                            1. re: JazzyB
                              Bill Hunt Mar 13, 2012 08:33 PM

                              That is bad! No way around it.

                              Sorry that I got the food, AND the service, and that you got hosed.

                              While I am a tad surprised, based on our experience, maybe it points up a problem?

                              Thanks for reporting,

                              Hunt

                2. nomadchowwoman Mar 2, 2012 09:51 PM

                  I eat there often, most recently for lunch today. Only twice have I had "bad" service, once at lunch and once after a Saints game (though I have been there a few other times before and after Saints games without a problem). Even those times, it wasn't so bad I would write them off. The food is too good, the happy hour an incredible bargain. I've never had a bad meal.

                  1. k
                    kibbles Mar 13, 2012 09:35 AM

                    we eat there semi frequently as it's near by our work places. food is excellent, never had any complaints there. service can be pretty green...it's probably one of their training grounds. chef alon has visited the table is always pleasant and interested. we typically eat at the bar, so service is less of an issue.

                    1. f
                      fiorbhlasta Mar 19, 2012 08:14 AM

                      I have to say, I ate there in a party of 6 last Wednesday evening, early -- 5:30 -- and our service was fantastic. The food was delicious. They were perfectly patient even though our party TRICKLED in over the course of, oh, maybe an hour (driving in from Texas, taking the train from Illinois, flying in from Indiana and Rhode Island -- only two of us were on time). Our wonderful server was attentive but relaxed, enthusiastic about the food and helpful in answering questions. Actually, I had read that the service was bad and we joked that it would be a bonding experience for the group, but no such thing. My friend said her main course (?pork??) was one of the best meals she'd ever had. We had the gorgeous mushroom fontina pizza at half price, some prosecco and white wine, and a really wonderful, over the top cheese and charcuterie board -- the first of many over the long St. Patrick's Day weekend. It was extremely well done. My colleagues loved their half Margherita, half anchovy pizza too. Now, we WERE eating very very early by New Orleans time, but it's an hour later for those of us on East Coast time, so it worked out well. All in all, I'd strongly recommend it and was really pleased we landed up there. The beginning of a sublime weekend of eating.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: fiorbhlasta
                        nomadchowwoman Mar 19, 2012 08:36 AM

                        Isn't that mushroom pizza divine (for $6.50!)? I wonder if your friend had the pork garganelli dish, my husband's absolute favorite. Glad you had great service. We usually do too. I just love the place.

                        1. re: nomadchowwoman
                          f
                          fiorbhlasta Mar 19, 2012 10:31 AM

                          I know!! That pizza is killer!! Well worth tossing the carb-free dining out the window for. Also, really, that Affettati Misti board ($30) is an awesome way to go. What could be better -- go early, get stunning pizzas and then split that??? PERFECT!!!!

                          1. re: fiorbhlasta
                            j
                            j.ho Mar 20, 2012 07:34 AM

                            I was considering this for an early dinner the Monday between Jazz Fest weekends. Since we're traveling with child (he will be on east coast time) we thought we'd shoot for 4:30/5:00 to take advantage of happy hour prices.

                            Do these prices apply to the entire dining room?

                            1. re: j.ho
                              j
                              JazzyB Mar 20, 2012 07:48 AM

                              Yes. I'd make a resv. I prefer the clam pizza. Share a lasagna. It is addictive. So are the espresso/choc cookies that come with the check ( better than the desserts).

                              1. re: JazzyB
                                j
                                j.ho Mar 20, 2012 08:45 AM

                                Thanks for another great tip, JB!!!

                                - Jay

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