Worst dining experience in a long time at Five Front last night. Began promisingly enough when I called earlier in the day to ask for reservation for 2 @ 7. Woman on the line said we could sit in the bar area at 7 or wait until 8 and sit in one of the dining rooms. "How is it in the bar?" I asked. "The table's right by the kitchen door," she said. "If you don't have to eat @ 7, I'd wait." Well, that was nice, I thought. "Okay, 8."
We arrived at 8:03, and the hostess said, "Your table's not ready yet. Have a drink at the bar." We don't mind waiting a few minutes for a reservation, but the sneer and the order to have a drink at the bar were not endearing. We ordered a couple of glasses of wine and sat around for about 10 minutes, at which point they told us our table was ready. A second hostess led us to a two-top in the bar area right next to the kitchen door. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have blinked, but the reservation woman had talked me out of an earlier reservation expressly so I wouldn't have to sit next to the kitchen. I told the hostess this, and she said, "Oh, well, let's see, there's a table in the back you could take a look at. But there's another party coming at 9:30." Uh, okay, that's not my problem, but thanks for the info.
We took a look at the other table and wavered for a minute, at which point the hostess said, "Don't worry, I'm not going to think you're high maintenance or anything." Outrageous! "I'm not really worried about that," I said. At this point, we should have walked out, but we sat down at the back table.
Bad move. We had some appetizers (crab cake and salad w/grape, pecans, gorgonzola) which were promising enough. We also finished our glasses of wine. For about 20 minutes, we were completely ignored. (Actually, the bus boy was a notable exception, filling our water glasses at the right moments and even bringing us more bread.) The waitress came into the (small) room no fewer than four times without even looking at us. We even put our empty glasses at the table's edge hoping to attract her. Finally, another waitress noticed us and asked us if we wanted more wine. When our waitress brought them over, she said, "Sorry, the kitchen's really backed up tonight." 10 seconds later, the other waitress brought our dinners. I can't be sure, but I think they were sitting unnoticed in the kitchen for 10 minutes and then reheated at the last minute to attempt to salvage them.
My pork chop was cloyingly sweet and the kale that came with it tasted like dish water. I ordered it medium and it was well done. There were about a dozen 1/2 shriveled sweet potato cubes on the side. My wife's salmon was almost inedible. Chewy, dry, overly salted just the way we like it! It's been a long time since I've tasted a worse piece of fish.
To top off the evening, when we asked for change of $100 on our bill of $76 (we paid for the first round of drinks at the bar), our waitress brought a twenty and four ones. Perhaps, in a moment of clarity, she was trying to tell us that she was sorry, that it was okay to leave the ones, but I doubt it. I thought about leaving a $4 tip, but we got change for the $20, left more than we should have (to be fair, the bus boy did bring us more bread!) and exited.
Can't wait to go back!
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