Wednesday night, my husband and I decided to try a night out casually dining in the bar at Terrapin. We sat at the bar and ordered drinks and appetizers. The bartender was new and completely unaquainted with the menu. We were a bit disappointed by the size of the glasses and upon tasting the drinks, neither of which were memorable (way too sweet for both a Margherita and a red martini), we dug into the appetizers, poppy crusted scallops and falafel salad. The scallops were cooked well with an unremarkable sauce, while the salad was small, wet and had hard little falafels scattered around the plate. To make matters worse, the music was relentlessly blasting Bob Seeger vintage 1980s and when I requested a change, the alternative became the Rolling Stones. Is this dining music for what appeared to be an age 40's crowd? Rather than continue our evening shouting over the music, we strolled over to Bing's and was greeted with just the opposite sound effects. No ambient music at all, just the sound of the dishwasher swishing in the kitchen which could be heard throughout the uncrowded bar. The waitress was so awkward that we had to ask her to give us a few moments to breathe after she approached a second time just after we were seated. The lighting in the bar room had a grey unwelcoming tint, and the menu seemed a bit scattered and lacking in direction....and so, on to Gigi's which was as bustling as ever.
Say what you will about Gigi's but their kitchen and service is consistently good. The fried calamari came out quickly and was hot, tasty, tender and plentiful. The mussels in red sauce were sweet and tender and the broccoli rabe was delicious. The service at Gigi's has always been friendly and attentive and after trying the other newer places, my recommendation is that they take better care in hiring and traing their bartenders and wait staff. Neither my husband nor I are planning on giving either place another try any time soon.