I was a fan of Gaia - have had some memorable dinners there - so husband and I were excited to see the space kept as a restaurnt by Morello. We made reservations for this past Friday night and went with positive expectations, esp after reading the chowhound postings. I'm sad to say that they have some serious issues that need to be worked out.
It was fairly busy but I've never been to an upscale-type restaurant where I had to flag the waiter down so we could get some menus. And what were they thinking by placing a couple of 2 tops right in the midst of 3 separate 6-8 tops - all of which were occupied by very loud groups? It was so noisy that the waiter had a hard time hearing my order. Conversation with my husband required both of us leaning towards each other and shouting.
Foodwise, the appetizers were very good - we had the grilled octopus salad and the tiger prawns. Portions were generous and the seafood was cooked well. Unfortunately, the wine we ordered was seriously corked. You could tell how off it was, first by the colour (never saw a sauvignon blanc colored amber gold like a sauternes!) and secondly by the smell. We didn't even need to taste it to know. My husband took a sip anyways just to be sure and immediately regretted it. I thought any decent sommelier would at least check the wine by smelling the cork? We again had to flag down a waiter to bring back the sommelier, who at least was very apologetic.
We had problems with the main entrees as well - my gnocchi was delicious and I was happy with the half portion. However, my husband's lamb chops were completely undercooked. He asked for medium and they came out raw/uncooked in the center. This type of basic mistake, esp. when charging $29 for the dish, is unforgivable. The portion itself was also quite small, at least 1/3 smaller than what you get in Manhattan for the same price. Not impressed at all.
Desserts were ok, nothing to rave about. The lemon sorbet was suitably lemony and the hazelnut ice cream gave moisture to a slightly dry hazelnut/chocolate cake.
I guess I shouldn't have been surprised by the fact that the experience was topped off by the cloakroom losing our coats. Stood near the front door getting blasted by arctic air while the woman brought up the wrong coats/repeatedly asked us to describe our coats. When we finally got our coats back, I couldn't leave fast enough. I'll miss Gaia...
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