This debate heated up in early November, and it seems to have settled down but I think it important to share my recent experiences with Chowhound. I had a TERRIBLE meal at Nostrana. I use all caps here, which is not a normal practice of mine, because this meal truly deserved it.
The meal's demise began and ended with disastrous service. In fact, the meal might have been deemed "fine" had it not been destroyed by such low quality service.
The server messed up the drink order 3 times, bringing us a new variation of what we had originally ordered each time. It was finally revealed that she had no knowledge of the drink "Manhattan" prior to us ordering and explaining it to her. She seemed to be concerned only with how the bartender was going to react to her asking for the drinks to be remade, and remade, and remade (something she fretted about each time she visited the table to repair her mistake). The drink fiasco took 30 minutes; we finally ordered appetizers, salad and entrees after about 45 minutes.
The appetizer (Meat Anti Pasti) arrived without the bread that was described on the menu. It took us 10 minutes to find someone to bring bread. The meats were delicious (from Salumi in Seattle), but the struggle to enjoy them hardly seemed worth it.
We visited for about an hour, and when our salads didn't arrive we began to realize that something else was going wrong. Our server's reaction to our question about the fate of our salad course: "Yeah, it has been a long time." She returned a few minutes later with our entrees. She explained there was a mix up and the salads got "lost" but that our entrees were ready now. You can probably guess how the rest went. We did end up getting our salads but as you can imagine, our hopes of a course meal were all but lost. The entrees were fine, but they grew cold quickly because of the amount of food we were trying to consume (salads, hot entrees).
So in the end, what did the restaurant pay for to make up for all of the mistakes? Nothing.
I've been 3 times, and each visit has been progressively poor. I don't expect to return.
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