What started out as a promising night with a relatively early reservation (8pm) at this very new FiDi restaurant (in the old Tartare space) turned into a truly shocking display of novice unpreparedness. End result was that the entire restaurant ended up getting comped.
Even that, though, it didn't make up for it. And while Umberto (the owner) was gracious when told what this was a trainwreck (he knew it), he was still seating people when we walked out three hours, but only two courses, into our seven course tasting menu. Had we only known, we would have ordered something much simpler....
Things as simple as wine glasses were messed up: two different Riedel glasses -- one for a whie, one for red (each dirty, streaky, and lipstick-stained) were brought to the table for the same red wine. Things a little more important, like the bread components to the few dishes we got, were all seriously charred. Not overcooked, but burned and inedible.
It's one thing when the focus of the conversation at the table becomes the weakness of the restaurant, or how we should have tried something other than a first week place. It's entirely another when (literally) every conversation overheard is the same -- all about the fact that the evening is going down in flames, that only two dishes had come out of the kitchen between 9pm and 10:45, despite many promises to the contrary. It was an amazing sight to see and take part in, but it wasn't really pleasant.
I can say that the mussels were perfect -- well, the burnt toast didn't help them, but Umberto knows his shellfish.
There may be hope yet, but this is a deep hole. Very deep.