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Manhattan

Suba review and rant

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Suba review and rant

Meils | Jan 31, 2005 09:09 AM

My boyfriend and I went to Suba on Saturday night. I had been told about better restaurants in the neighborhood but I was sort of intrigued by the space and hadn't read anything bad about it. It was a MISTAKE.

We were running late, and I called to tell them we would be 15 minutes late. When we got there, we had to wait about 15 minutes to get our table, which was down in the "grotto" area. The space is quite interesting: a platform surrounded by water, bare brick walls, metal stairs and walkway.

The problems began when it came time to order. I ordered the only green salad on the menu, and asked for the dressing on the side (I usually do, and was even more inclined to do so since it was anchovy dressing and I'm not the biggest fan of anchovies.) I also ordered the hake which I believe came with parsnips and salsa verde. My boyfriend then asked to order an appetizer that had two different types of fish, accompanied by scallops, which he doesn't eat. He asked if it was possible to get the dish without the scallops, to which our waiter responded that it was impossible to make any substitutions or changes to the menu because the chef would not allow it. We were both taken aback, but he preceeded to order another appetizer or salmon and a duck entree.

We then began the long wait for our food. Looking around, it seemed as though no one had food on their table. Occasionally things would come out of the kitchen, but it was extremely slow. When our appetizers arrived, my salad had the dressing on it. I said that I had asked for it without dressing, and it was taken back to the kitchen only to be brought back out, still dressed, by the waiter. He informed me that the chef refused to put the dressing on the side, because it would destroy the composition. I told him that seemed entirely ridiculous, and he apologized, and then asked if I wanted the salad or nothing at all. I was hungry and decided to give the salad a shot- it was heavily coated in a salty rich anchovy dressing, which was exactly what I had been trying to avoid. I have never experienced anything like that at a restaurant before.

A manager came by a few minutes later to ask how everything was, and we told her about the salad situation. She looked slightly shocked, and said that while the chef doesn't put dressing on the side, I could have gotten it without any dressing at all (the waiter had not mentioned that as an option.) She offered to take it back and bring an undressed one, but at that point that would have slowed down our meal even further and wasn't worth it. She also took the salad off the bill. We also told her about the waiters comments regarding the scallops, despite the fact that my boyfriend is allergic. She said that they probably could have removed the scallops, and explained that the waiter was relatively new, which doesn't excuse his attitude in my opinion.

Our main courses were slightly cold when they came out, and while they were fine were nothing amazing. The sauce with the hake was a little oily, but the duck was nicely prepared. Needless to say, we didn't attempt dessert.

One more issue: I went to the restroom. There were four separate rooms. The door of one didn't lock, a couple was apparently in another, one didn't open for some inexplicable reason, which basically left one open for use. The line was 8 people long.

Suba has been open for a while, yet the combination of the service and preparation made it seem like it was the restaurants first week. I have never experienced a restaurant situation where they were completely unwilling to be accomodating of diners requests, especially considering that you would have a hard time getting out of there for much less than $100 if you get appetizers, entrees and a drink or two. I don't think that asking for dressing on the side was overly picky or demanding- especially if it involves anchovies which are a matter or personal taste. I understand the chef's desire to maintain the composition and integrity of his or her dishes, but IMO this is a "trendy" restaurant that is not going to be the destination of foodies who actually care immensely about composition. Suba probably isn't even worth a review of this length, but I was really irritated by the situation and wanted to spare others. I do NOT recommend it- there are too many other good places in that area.

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