Went there last night. Here's what I think (feel free to get angry):
Room/Decor: Anybody think the room is too big? It felt like an airplane hangar or something. The wall-to-wall carpet was also a problem, because it muted everything and made me want to go to sleep. I appreciated the high ceilings, however, because the place was hot. (Either it doesn't have A/C, or they had turned it off to enjoy the "cool" weather brought by the rain outside.) The french doors were open, and the sound of the rain outside was--admittedly--romantic. Would have been fine if it weren't still 85 degrees outside.
Service: Uhh, I think the prevailing idea on this board is that service is where Marisol suffers the most. Some find it charmingly idiosyncratic, I found it just kind of amateurish and spotty. The lovely woman who greeted us was delightful. She called me by my name, and gave us our choice of table. I took her to be the owner, and it seems her philosophy is casual: Whenever a glass of wine was brought to the table, the waiter bringing it would point at each of us until one of us said "It's mine, thank you!" Our waiter was doughy, slow, and occasionally sassy--not to us, but *with* us, which I still find a little annoying. (When we ordered the creme brulee, he said something like, "Good choice. That's easier for me to take care of than the molten chocolate cake!"--which apparently is a special preparation. Then I ordered the cake and he made a face.) Generally, it took about 5 min. too long for the waiter to appear, which didn't make sense because the place was only half full.
Food: Marisol salad (bleu cheese, dried cherries, prosciutto) was excellent, but it's hard to screw up a salad. My friend has the coconut soup with crabmeat which she said was awesome. One gets the feeling from the food that you're eating in a family kitchen, which is sometimes good, sometimes bad--the duck over asian spiced pad thai which was my entree tasted like a 30 Minute Meal. In other words, "Asian" meant a few spices (mostly hot hot pepper and this weird pickle taste) and the duck was flavorless--fake Asian, the kind Ma and Pa used to attempt. (The sword of homey-ness cuts both ways.) Dessert was excellent, though, which kinda shocked me. I especially enjoyed the molten chocolate cake. Yum!
Verdict: I would go back if I were taken and the meal were paid for, but I would not go out of my way to go here. (Nor should anyone despair over going to Marisol versus, say, Bayona, Stella, Cuvee, Clancy's, La Petite Grocery, etc. The other restaurant--though just as expensive--will be better.)
There you have it. Commence the firebreathing.
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