The other day I had lunch at the Breslin, housed within the Ace Hotel. Our dishes were quite good: skate terrine, lamb burger, salad, fries, chocolate donuts. The service, however, was not just bad it was atrocious. The person acting like the host surely could not have much experience being in the front of the house. He really did not seem to know what he was doing, and certainly did not act particularly interested in our patronage. When we arrived, the room was empty but for 2 tables. None the less, even though the restaurant does not take reservations he would not allow us to sit at a table, instead he fidgeted around for 5-10 min. before seating us. With an entire room empty he sat us next to the service area...the place takes no reservations so we just ignored him and moved to another table. There was a lot of wait staff but no one seemed to be tending to the few patrons in the restaurant, instead they were all hanging out at the kitchen counter with their backs to the dining room. When a customer wanted something , the staff were none the wiser because they were not facing the room. Requests for condiments, (salt pepper etc.) were not responded to until the third time. It took close to 40 minutes for our dishes to arrive..when the office awaits your return from lunch, you do not want to wait for more than half an hour for a burger and fries (the terrine was cold and I assume it too could be completed in less time). I wonder what they plan to do when the restaurant is filled.
It really is unfortunate how poor, very poor, service can color (for the worst) the whole experience that the kitchen has clearly tried hard to make wonderful. Hopefully ,as the Breslin matures, it will either replace the incompetent/disinterested staff, or provide proper training.