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not-the-bad-steve | Jul 11, 200407:04 PM     9

Based chiefly on people's raves here, I've been working hard to give Brasserie Margeaux a chance.

1. Had a dinner there about a year ago. Liked the food a lot. Found the service to be a little slow, even on a slow night. Found the table to be too smoky.

2. Had breakfast there a little less than a year ago. Gave the bar a wide berth during the table-selection process. Pastry basket: good. Breakfasts: forgettable. Service: very slow and very clueless, but at least we were able to contain our disappointment enough to stick out breakfast.

3. Dinner this weekend: We were able to escape the smoke again by employing a similar strategy. Server took at least 15 minutes to arrive, during a pretty slow period. French onion soup was good, mushrooms were good. The entrees--lamb shank and pork chop--arrived pretty dried out. I would probably have forgiven a small-town diner for the state of these meats--they weren't inedible--but for a $75 meal, my companion and I were both looking for something more tender and juicy. For the 10 minutes after delivering our entrees, our server never came near our table. After about that long, our busboy came by, and we asked for our server. When he asked if he could do anything to help, we explained the problem with our meat, and he took our plates away. Shortly thereafter, our server arrived. She told us that she had sampled each of our returned entrees, and found them quite good. Without consulting us, she had started the kitchen on replacements, but wondered why anyone would want that, as (1) the meat was bound to come out the same way the second time as the first, and (2) it would require another 20 minutes of prep time. This bizarre diatribe was delivered in the most irritating tone imaginable. I feel quite proud that my reaction did not involve striking her, thought to ensure I wouldn't, it felt prudent to leave immediately.

4. I'm pretty sure there's not going to be a 4.

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