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"Kinks" at the Carriage House (longest post ever)

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"Kinks" at the Carriage House (longest post ever)

Alexis | Apr 3, 2003 12:43 PM

I had quite the experience at the Carriage House last night. In fact, I will be so bold as to say that this ranks among my top 3 worst restaurant experiences ever. Here's the story:

My three friends (all women of around 24 years) had a reservation at the Carriage House at 8:15pm. We arrived at that time and were told by one of the three hosts (three hosts at a max. 20 table restaurant?) that they were running "15 to 20 minutes late". Okay, to be expected, right? So my friends and I are standing around the bar (there are no seats at the bar, you see), chatting and waiting. And waiting. (Note: there was a woman in the bar area chain smoking, and ashing into a restaurant-provided ash tray. Not that I am pro-ban, but give me a break, this is a tiny restaurant and there is no separation between the areas, and it just didn't seem necessary. To make matters worse, we later realized that the offending smoker WORKED THERE. Appropriate? You be the judge.) So after waiting for a half an hour, patiently, suffering silently in our heels, I approached Team Host and asked about our table. Team leader said, and I quote: "Your reservation was for eight thirt...["fifteen!" I interjected] and I told you there would be a 20 minute wait, so technically you have only been waiting for 10 minutes." Huh?? That is very interesting logic. Not to mention, the attitude oozing from this man was unbelievable. In any case, we were seating shortly thereafter at a nice table.

We order wine. The wine list is by no means good, so perhaps this was a mistake in the first place, but we do so nonetheless. The waiter sets down four champagne flutes and I think "That's nice, making up for our wait with some complementary glasses of bubbly." Not so. The waiter instead says "We're going to do something a little unorthodox tonight, ladies. We're going to serve our white wine in flutes." As it turns out, the restaurant had not yet received its glasses, flatware or dishes and instead was borrowing it from other places. To me, those things seem indispensable for a restaurant, but then I've never opened a restaurant. But seriously, couldn't they have waited a week to open? Or ordered tableware earlier? Thankfully, it wasn't even a good wine, so why complain?

The waiter arrives to explain the menu, or lack there of, as the restaurant was out of four items. But come on, it's only their third day! We order, receive our mismatched spoons and appetizers and eat these without a hitch. The food meanwhile turns out to be pretty good (mussels in a broth and a filo pastry filled with tomatoes and cheese, then baked), but not spectacular.

App plates are cleared and we are sitting and talking. And sitting. Forty minutes later I ask my friend, b/c I honestly couldn't remember "Did we eat yet?" And she says no. The waiter comes around and asks "Another bottle of wine?" And I say "How about some food?" To which he responds, with a terrible look, "Another bottle of wine?" So up I get to find a manager or at least an important looking host. And I say to him "We have been here since 8:15 and it's now past 10:00 and we haven't seen our food. We'd like our check now." The manager/host says "It's only our third day... blah blah... We're offering 20% off food and first round of drinks for free. And btw, there's your food." So I sit back down and eat my okay salmon. My friend's steak is cold, but we don't feel like dealing. The waiter brings over a complimentary glass of wine, which is literally undrinkable and it smelled bad (and this is from one who has been known to drink Frangia boxed wine), but it was in wine glasses.

We get our check and there is 20% off of the food. And only $6.00 (!!!) off the drinks. I am about to get up to freak out, but my friends restrain me as we just want to leave at this point. So we pay and we leave.

I do want to mention that the water service was great. Our glasses never went half empty and at one point the water person nearly grabbed the glass from my friend's hand as she went to sip. So you may starve, but you'll never dehydrate at the Carriage House.

Now tell me, for a restaurant opened by people experienced in restaurant ownership, is this sort of experience appropriate, even within a week of opening??

Sorry about the novella. I had to get it off my chest.

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