Had a decent meal at AOC last night, though not as over-the-top excellent as prior visits. We had the dates, a lettuce-avocado salad, the clams in sherry (these were the best thing of the night), the morels with ramps and polenta, and the skirt steak. All were very good, though not great. Hot dishes weren't very hot, either.
Unfortunately, the service was bad bad bad. We were first seated at a 2-top near the front door, at which the chair facing the door was backed up against a support column. Even though we are 2 petite women, it was impossible for 2 people to sit comfortably because the other seat was the banquette, and therefore couldn't be moved. It was really ridiculous. Thankfully, they allowed us to move to the next table over. The "uncomfortable" table remained empty the entire time we were there, even with many parties of 2 waiting near the door for tables. Had we been forced to sit at the first table, I probably would have left as it would have been impossible to sit there and enjoy the meal. As a single woman who often dines out with one or two girlfriends, I have gotten the "bad seating" treatment many many times before. This was the first time at AOC.
When the server brought the menus we ordered water, tap for me, sparkling for my friend. Then, over the next 15 minutes, the server proceeded to take the food and wine orders of 3 tables that had arrived AFTER we were seated. I had to flag him down after he began serving the other tables' wine just to get our wine order taken. On to the food. One of the things we ordered was the duck confit, on the strong recommendation of the server. About 10 minutes later, he came back to say they were out of duck confit. Strange, as it was only about 7:15pm. We ordered something else. However, over the course of our meal, couples were seated on either side of us, and we sat and listened as the waiter recommended the duck confit to both of them. And... both tables ordered it. When I inquired of the server (after a long time flagging him down to order another glass of wine, as mine has sat empty through the previous course): "I thought you were out of the duck confit" he stammered "Oh, well, we were, now we have it though, you know, this is very difficult for me, hard to explain, we didn't have it before, now we do, blah blah blah." Now, my udnerstanding is that it takes some time to make duck confit. You don't run out, and then just whip up some more. So I don't know what the deal really was, but the servers blathering non-explanation did not help.
As I said, the food was good, not great. I'll go back, but if the service is not better, it may be the last time.