Two less-than-transporting experiences.
Aquitaine. A nice meal marred by an entree of raviolis that arrived badly underdone, yuck. They whisked it away and returned with a properly cooked version ten minutes later, but that kind of blows the course.
I've decided that the truffle oil on the steak frites here is a bad idea, and it's a good idea to get a side of scalloped potatoes, which are far superior to the just-okay pommes frites. I was annoyed by a "dark-chocolate mousse with shaved chocolate", which arrived sans shavings, and sickeningly sweet: an insult to chocolate mousse.
Stella. A mob scene, but a decent meal, with a few qualifiers. Bartending is rather sub-par here. They can't seem to make decent versions of the drinks on their specialty cocktail menu (the Sidecar is dreadful), and they don't chill their cocktail glasses. Too bad; I was hoping for a useful late-night addition to the list of nearby places that take their bartending seriously, like the Franklin, Union, Rouge, Tremont 647, and Caffe Umbra.
Then a waiter hit one of my hot buttons: upon informing us that the modest wine we had chosen was sold out, he recommended a bottle that was three times as expensive: a shabby and transparent move, especially when you've got nothing else you can recommend. The pepperoni pizza now lacks the copious slices of garlic in an earlier version, a bad choice. And they still don't offer half-orders of pasta, another bad decision.
But our fettucine did actually contain the advertised pasta, killing our running joke that no matter what the menu says (tagliatelle, fettucine, spaghetti), you get linguini here. And there's one bit of decorating hideousness (maybe influenced by the ghost of Gallia's stuffed snowman): the cheap-looking white wicker chairs in the bar area. What the heck is up with these? Might make sense on someone's Southern veranda, but not in this otherwise very sleek and modern room.