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Awful RW experience at Vox Populi (long)

pamiam | Mar 12, 2008 07:08 PM

I know VP doesn't have the best reputation here in the first place, but a large group of friends (13) wanted to get together during RW and options were limited. Plus, a few in the group had dined there before and enjoyed the food and drinks, while admitting they were nothing spectacular.

However, our experience convinced all of us to never eat there again, and nearly to walk out as the evening went on. We had a reservation for 8:15, arrived on time, and were promptly seated, as the restaurant was nearly empty. A table of 3 came in soon after us, and appeared to be ordering off of the regular menu. Their food arrived well before our orders were even taken. We were perusing the wine list, and asked for another minute about 5 minutes after we were seated. Our wine order was not taken until 8:53 (by which time we were so annoyed we were keeping track of those things). Our waitress passed by our table at least 10 times on the way to the other 3-top, bringing them drinks, bread, and food, keeping her back to us the whole time, so as to ignore our attempts to flag her down.

When one member of our party attracted her attention as she was about to walk past again, and asked if we could place our food and wine orders, she said, "Yeah, I just told him [another member of the party] I'd be right back to take the order, and here I am. Here, I'm ready to take your order." This summary doesn't quite convey the incredibly snippy tone of her voice.

Anyway, we ordered food, along with a bottle of Chilean shiraz for four of us (far and away the best thing about the meal), and we asked for bread, which she said would take a little while because it needed to be heated up. At this point, nothing would have surprised us, so we said OK. When the bread arrived, the olive bread was good, but the white bread was "worse than Wonder bread" and disintegrated upon attempts to dip it in the olive oil.

The first courses arrived uneventfully, although the soup was incredibly over-peppered. Other people complained of oversalting in their dishes, but I didn't find that to be the case. The entrees arrived, and while the waitress had asked how we'd like our tuna cooked, the fish bore no resemblance to our desired degrees of doneness. At this point, however, sending it back would have been foolhardy. The gnocchi had OK flavor, but were incredibly dense and chewy.

Desserts were unspeakably terrible. One was a blueberry "mousse" that resembled runny yogurt in texture more than mousse. It was definitively liquid, and was served with horrendous dry lemony cookies. The other was an inedible banana nut cake, covered in a relatively palatable strawberry sauce, served with a scoop of thankfully inoffensive vanilla ice cream. When the waitress came back, she asked the mousse-eaters how they had enjoyed it (it was clear that the mousses were untouched, as were most of the banana cakes). The mousse-eaters demurred, saying that it had a strange texture and wasn't what they were expecting. The waitress agreed, saying that she had expected it to be like a chocolate Oreo mousse from the way it looked, but she made no offer to replace it with anything that more resembled an edible substance.

None of the 13 of us had a remotely positive experience, and it fell to me to summarize it here so that no one else makes the same mistake. It was truly wretched.

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