Don't get me wrong, I love nearly everything about Bottega Louie - and Church and State (which suffers from similar decibel levels) for that matter. But the noise level is probably going to keep me from going there again, at least on a weekend night.
Last night I went to Bottega Louie for the third time. The other two times were for Sunday brunch and a dinner midweek. On a Friday night, the food was as good as it was the other times. The service was great. The price was reasonable for what it is.
I have been to rock concerts that weren't as loud. My girlfriend mentioned how loud it was to the hostess as she led our party of four to our table. She grimaced at my girlfriend and said she knew, that when she went home at night and her boyfriend wanted to talk to her, or wanted to watch TV or do anything that required sound - she'd just shut him up, she couldn't stand any more noise after her night of work.
The four of us quickly gave up trying to have any sort of conversation between all of us. Instead, the people sitting across from each other simply leaned in as close as they could get across the table to try and talk. Even so, we were all pretty much hoarse by the end of the dinner.
I understand that there is a school of thought that holds that a loud restaurant is more festive and fun than a quiet one. (I agree with that to a certain extent.) And even an offshoot of that school that believes there is a certain level of privacy involved when it is so loud that you can barely hear what your companion is saying, much less the people at the next table. But there is loud and there is LOUD.
I wonder how many of us feel the same way? And if enough of us do, and enough of us complain about it, perhaps our voices can be heard over the din and some otherwise great restaurants might tone it down, just a little, just a few sound baffles here and there - even some helium balloons floating at the ceiling.