I just returned from a week-long trip to Paris, where my most anticipated dinner reservation was at Josephine Chez Dumonet. I had read so many wonderful reviews about both the food and the service that I was sure that I would have a wonderful, if not at least good, experience. How wrong I was.
When we arrived, very few tables were taken. They were not overcrowded. Shortly after seating us, we were given a menu, a glass of white wine, and an amuse. OK, no problem so far. Unfortunately, after that, we sat. And we sat. And we sat. This went on for over 30 minutes. Finally, I asked if they happened to have a wine menu. Well, I got a crumpled, stained list (that was missing many of the prices), and less than five minutes later our waiter wanted to take our order. We quickly picked a wine and ordered food and two bottles (smallish, which is all he said they had) of water. When the waiter returned, he brought an opened bottle of the wrong wine. After another 15 minutes, he brought the correct one.
Finally, the meal started. We had our starters, which were all tasty. We finished the water, and were never offered any more water, or had a chance to order it. After another long wait, during which we were throughly ignored, our plats came. Again, very tasty. Unfortunately, no one would look at us. No one ever checked to see if we might like to order more wine or water. There were four of us, and we certainly would have ordered another bottle of wine and more water. I have never been ignored like I was in this restaurant. All four of us were amazed that the service was as bad as it was.
After we were finished with our plats, we just sat there. And sat there. And sat there. You get the picture: same as we did earlier in the evening. Only this time, we had no food, no water, and no wine. I had ordered the cheese for dessert at the same time that I ordered dinner, but it never came. Finally, we asked for the check. Clearly, they did not care to have us there so that we could buy more of their food and wine. As soon as I asked for the check, the waiter disappeared and returned with the cheese. I told him that in no way did I want to stay any longer for this bad service. Strangely, he seemed confused that we were unhappy about being ignored.
In all, it took us over 2 1/2 hours to have two courses, some water, and one bottle of wine among four people I've had five days to think now, and I cannot remember ever being ignored by the servers at any restaurant like I was by the ones at JCD. It wasn't like I never tried to make eye contact or didn't try to get their attention. They simple would not look at us. All this for only $300.
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