Tonight was my wife's birthday. We didn't have reservations, but decided we'd try and hit Fore Street w/ my parents, who are visiting this weekend. I dropped my wife off at Fore Street at about 4:50 and went to get my folks at their hotel. My wife asked the hostess if she needed to wait on line, or if she could instead get a seat in the bar - and then have one of us wait on line for the reservation when we arrived. The hostess told her sure, so she went and sat in the bar for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile more and more people entered the front area to queue up for a table (since Fore Street reserves one third of their tables for walk-ins). All of a sudden, the bartender told my wife she wasn't allowed to sit in the bar, since others were waiting for a perch there (the way it works: you give your name to the hostess at 5pm, and then go wait in the bar until 5:30pm, when seating begins). Surprised, my wife got up to head back to the line, which was more or less total chaos - no order, rhyme or reason, just everyone pushing up towards the front. On her way - and this clearly isn't Fore Street's fault - a patron waiting on line yelled at her for cutting (even though my wife was probably the third person there all night). The whole thing was demoralizing - I haven't seen her so shaken in a while. We gave up and managed to get a table a few blocks away at 555. Good food (transcendent dessert), and less overall hype - very pleasant and helpful staff. My wife said she felt that Fore Street had just gotten too big for its britches. There's no need to herd people in and mistreat them for the honor of dining in your over-hyped restaurant, and no-one should have her birthday wrecked by thoughtless bartenders or miscommunication among the staff.
Oh - the 555 dessert? Hot pepper ice cream with hot fudge, kahlua chantilly, fried bananas, and candied pignoli nuts. Just insane.