My girlfriend and I finally made our eagerly anticipated first trip to Fraiche last night. Perhaps our expectations were too high based on the amount of hype the place has gotten, but we were severely disappointed. The service was absolutely unacceptable, with a level of disorganization and inattentiveness that would make the local Chili's manager blanch with embarrassment.
We had an 8:30 reservation, got there about 15 minutes early, and were seated promptly. Once we were handed menus, it took a long time for our waiter to come over and greet us and take our order. (We already had our bread before we saw him.) We ordered our drinks, salads, and entrees at the same time. About ten minutes later, our salads arrived, but our drinks still hadn't come. (They were brought out a few minutes later.) Finished our salads after a while; they were pretty sizable so we took our time with them.
And then... nothing. Fifteen minutes go by, twenty-five, thirty. We try to catch our waiter's eye to ask him what's going on, but he keeps avoiding us, only swooping by to ask us if we want more drinks and then disappearing again. More time goes by. We're losing our appetite and our desire to be there. Finally I'm able to flag down the waiter and politely ask him if there's any problem with our entrees. All he says is "they're not ready yet." I reply that we've been waiting quite a while and all he says is -- and please, imagine this in the most condescending tone possible -- "We make all our food fresh, so it takes longer." (Oh, thanks. That totally makes sense. Because we're used to going to places that just grab a frozen Stouffer's meal out of the freezer and microwave it.)
A few minutes later the food finally arrives. I estimate we were waiting about an hour, all told. No apology for the long wait; not even an explanation (even the usual "Sorry, the kitchen was backed up tonight" would have been a huge improvement). We finish quickly because we just want to get out of there. (Incidentally: I ordered the four-cheese tortelli with brown butter sauce. It was fine, but it was just a knock-off of the same dish at Spago except not done as well.) The waiter comes back and asks us if we want dessert. We tell him no and ask him to send the manager over. When he arrives, I tell him in detail about the poor service we had. He doesn't offer an explanation either, but at least he apologizes.
Well, we're sorry too... sorry that we gave Fraiche a shot. It'll be the last time we do. There are too many great places in L.A. -- places that bend over backwards to provide superior service and don't talk down to their customers.
(One last side note: the group seated next to us was having a birthday party there. They brought their own cake. And Fraiche charged them eight dollars *per person* to serve it. Just a warning to anyone who's considering that.)
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