I had a really disappointing experience at brunch today. I'd been to dinner in the Tap Room and loved the food, so it seemed a perfect setting to take my mom on a rare visit to the city. Unfortunately, the experience was marred by a really weird and uncomfortable service experience and inconsistent food. Before placing our meal orders, we pre-ordered a pastry basket and food. 30 minutes later, no pastry basket, so I followed up with our server, and the pastry basket came out about 5-10 mins later. (As an aside, there were plenty of empty tables during our brunch). About a minute after the pastries were dropped (pretty good, but nothing to write home about), a woman came by and, without introducing herself, said "We can't hold your food for you any longer." I was so confused b/c I hadn't asked for anything to be held. I said we'd just gotten the pastries and she asked when they were ordered. I said that it was before our order and that I had had to follow up. At that point, she obviously realized she made a mistake and walked away to talk to the chefs in the open kitchen. I'm not sure what was said, but it was another 20 mins or so until we got the food. So, when all was said and done, we didn't end up getting the food until an hour after we were all seated. During our wait between the pastries and food, the woman came by again, and I told her that her behavior had been really surprising and rude, and she said she was sorry and there was a misunderstanding, period. I told her she should have apologized on her own rather than wait for me to say something.
Food: I had a taste of everything. The ricotta & spring veg frittata was very good, and I liked the grits, roasted vegetables, and roasted potatoes. The crab omelette I tried, on the other hand, had a weird, cold, congealed sauce on it. The real problem was my dish, which was, well no real word for it except gross. I had the baked eggs in mushroom ragu. Eggs were perfectly cooked--a little runny and not overdone like some baked eggs. I was hungry, so I did end up choking down the eggs and some of the mushrooms. The problem was that the dish was just the worst conceived dish I've seen--2 eggs in a sauce the consistency of broth and the color of teriyaki sauce (or greasy dish water). It was so salty that I couldn't taste any mushrooms (or even the eggs), just salty broth. I really couldn't believe that this dish was sent out, and when I offered a taste, no one took me up on it.
We left a 20% tip b/c the server was very friendly, as was the host, who seated me and my mom before the rest of our party arrived and 15 minutes early. But, I was still frustrated by the earlier behavior and service glitches and the fact that nothing was done to rectify (in the form of a spontaneous apology or comp, etc., that you'd expect at a restaurant of this caliber). I told our hostess that our server was great but I had a very bad experience with an employee who was rude. She said she'd call out the manager, and the same woman who had been rude before came out at the same time. It wasn't until then that I found out the woman was the manager! She apologized (not very sincerely but with lots of arm patting) and said that she had meant to say something on our way out and that the pastry basket had been comped, which no one had told us and we hadn't noticed since there were so many dishes on the tab. If there was a comp, shouldn't she have come by to say sorry and the pastries are on us? The whole experience was just bizarre.
Colicchio & Sons
85 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011