Generally speaking, USC is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. I eat there frequently, attend the morning market meetings, etc. etc. Point being - I know what it is and what it isn't, and I think my expectations going into dinner last night were fair. The problems started at the door. we're on time for our reservation, greeted warmly, asked to step inside, and then ignored for 15 minutes. Struck me as odd - how hard is it (when there are three women working the hostess desk) for someone to stop and tell us our table will be ready in __ minutes? But ultimately we are seated. upstairs. I hate sitting upstairs there. I admit this is my issue, and there may be someone out there who thinks these are the best seats in the house, but to me nothing says "we're really not so happy to see you again" quite as much as seating me in the worst part of the restaurant. I have also had bad service when seated up there in the past, but last night the service was everything you'd expect. The food, however, was not. My appetizer - smoked salmon rillettes - tasted bitter and overly fishy to me. The fiance said "tastes like the lox spread from the bagel store, I'll eat it" and did. On to entrees - we both love the filet mignon of tuna and get it pretty much every time. But last night both portions - while cooked perfectly - were much too salty. This dish (to me) usually has a perfect balance of flavors, but last night the major taste was salt. Dessert followed, and lucky for us, it was extraordinary. chocolate bourbon bread pudding with bourbon ice cream. one of the best things I have ever eaten at any time, any where.
So was it an awful meal? No, just a disappointing one. And before someone tells me, I know that if I had complained, or likely even mentioned any of the problems I described above, USC would have tried to fix it. My point, really, is that there were too many things to mention. At the point where you want to ask that your table, your appetizer and your entree be changed, something has gone wrong.