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My Dinner at Recette - so so at best

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My wife and I go out to dinner every Thursday, to get away from the kids and just enjoy time by ourselves. Heard some good reviews of Recette and figured we would give it a try and help support some of the downtown restaurants.

I went on Opentable.com and there were openings for 6:15 to 7:30 for 2, so instead of making reservations we decided to just show up because my wife was driving back in from seeing clients in NJ. Showed up around 6:30pm & the place was 2/3 empty. Right off the bat the hostess was very unpleasnt, not a smile or welcome or anything, just a "do you have a reservation". When I told her no, she said we can seat you but you need to leave by 8:15 for another seating. I tried joking with her that there were all these availabilities on opentable.com and I didn't think it would be too busy. No reaction or even a smile just seated us and that was it.

We were seated by the wall and it was drafty right away. Throughout dinner it was getting colder and halfway through dinner, my wife put her hat and jacket back on b/c it was so cold. I felt the draft on my legs all night as well. When I asked the server about it, he said it's like that throughout the entire wall area. Huh, can't the owner do something about it, maybe insulation or something? If I'm paying close to $400 for dinner & bottle of wine, I don't want to be cold throughout dinner or have to wear a hat or jacket!

On to the food, I had the 7 course tasting menu and my wife ordered the 5 course tasting menu which turned out to be 7 courses b/c the waiter didn't tell us that all parties had to order the same.It was only midway through our meal when he told us b/c my wife was getting pretty full. Some of the highlights (or lowlights?)

Marinated hamachi - good execution, sauce was good but the fish wasn't that fresh.

Pork tongue - OK, wasn't on the menu, thought they could have added a little more salt.

Roasted scallops - Very good, enjoyed the caviar sauce

Sunchoke Soup w/ bay scallops - very good.

Foie Gras was very good- Nicely charred

Pork Belly - very good, loved the sauce, almost like a Korean gochujang flavor.

Poussin - butter overwhelmed the taste, not good

Artic Char - it came in a chicken consumme. Flavorless, char wasn't freshest either.

All in all, 3 very good dishes, others were not worth it. Around 8:15, the waiter dropped off the bill. We were done by this point and actually wanted to leave b/c it was so cold and drafty.

It's been a while that I actually regretted eating at a restaurant. Bad greeter/hostess, waiter was so so and the restaurant itself was so uncomfortable. If I paid $100 for dinner, I wouldn't really care so much but when the price point is 4 times that, you're looking at finer establishment type ambiance and service.

We usually eat at Little Owl, Mary's Fish Camp, 15 East, Jung Sik, Roberta's, Aquagrill. At almost every restaurant we've been to the last few years service is almost always superb, even if the food isn't.

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  1. I have to agree with you on the draftiness of the restaurant. I don't really mind it too much, but everyone I've gone with complains about those individual air units they have straight across the wall.
    As far as friendliness of staff, My experience has been, an unfriendly greeting, but the waitstaff and chef/owner very friendly. However, On last visit, hostess was very friendly ( maybe because I had returned within a couple of weeks).
    Food: I've never had an issue with freshness. It seems they run a tight ship and don't overstock food. So I'm surprised at lack of freshness on the fish.
    There have been some dishes that I did not like on the regular menu. I've had sweetbreads on the regular menu that were way too sweet. Other dishes that I was underwhelmed. Therefore last time I had regular menu I did a la carte and chose what I liked.
    The Monday with Jesse menu and food is way way way better than the regular tasting menu. A different world. Maybe more thought, or the specialness makes the difference. Although, I doubt if you will go back to Recette, if you choose to, Do it on the 2nd Monday of the month.
    Interestingly, I eat at 15 East, Jungsik, and Aquagril
    quite often and love those restaurants. Athough, I get friendlier vibes at 15 East and Jungsik than Aquagrill.
    Mary's I don't like the limited menu, the service, actually anything about it. I prefer Pearl over Mary's. Roberta's I've heard good things about ( except for the wait) but I've never tried it.