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Country -- good food, but it needs to get its act together (long)


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Restaurants & Bars 5

Country -- good food, but it needs to get its act together (long)

amyknyc | Dec 15, 2005 01:13 PM

Had dinner at Country on Tuesday night with two others and while we enjoyed most of what we ate, I will wait a loooong time before going back.

We walked in at 7:30 on time for our reservation but it took at least 5 minutes to get through the crowd waiting to be seated at the hostess stand. When we finally got to the front, we encountered the most sour man I've ever met, who literally glowered at me when I gave our name. He told us our table was being cleared and it would be a minute. Fine. Ten minutes later, I ask if the table's ready and he says they're paying the check and then motions to a table behind him. I asked him what happened to the table that was being cleared and he picked up the phone and started talking, not even acknowledging my question. Our table paid quickly, got up and left and we literally stood there for 15 MORE MINUTES staring at the vacated table, waiting for busboys to clear it and reset it. Finally, a half hour after our reservation we were seated.

The room is a little hard to deal with. Aesthetically, it's great, but it's impossible to hear a waiter or the people next to you. We were seated to the right of the restaurant -- the area by the bar was even more deafening. It's also meant to be a more casual version of what's to come, so there are no table clothes, no floor covering and low ceilings in parts which only magnify the noise.

The service is really rocky. We didn't see a waitress until 10 minutes after we sat down and although we asked 3 times for water, it took ages to come (and never got refilled). We didn't get bread until our main course -- they seem to have a system where everyone seated in the same area gets things at the same time, regardless of when you're seated. I also don't think we encountered anyone the whole night who didn't seem frazzled or like they had a million other tables to get to. The menu, however, is quite good and reasonably priced (just an fyi, the one on menupages is outdated). I started off with a beet salad with citrus and black truffle, which was wonderful and very large. Another at our table had the roasted artichokes which were great. For my main course I had the skirt steak and fries -- the steak (such a big portion I didn't even come close to finishing it) was very tender and juicy and served perfectly cooked with a side of great fries. My husband had the squid, cuttlefish and soupions which was wonderful and a little spicy from chorizo. We had a side special of the roasted chestnuts and apples which was ok -- a little too soupy for me. Again, however, service was horrible. Our entrees sat next to our table under metal covers for several minutes while busboys cleared a nearby table. We were tempted to get up and serve ourselves, when finally someone (not a waiter or busboy) noticed we needed our food.

We skipped dessert as by that point we had been there for well over two hours and there was a rather loud fight erupting at the hostess stand. Apparently a diner had waited 45 minutes for her reservation only to be seated smack in front of the main revolving door (or so I had the pleasure of hearing while I paid).

It's such a shame -- this place has a lot of potential food-wise but really needs to do something about its atrocious service.

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