Maureen and I had dinner Friday at Gage and Tollner's in downtown Brooklyn. It was a spur of the moment thing, in that we both seemed to realize at the same time that we hadn't had dinner there for quite some time. We have had mixed feelings about G&T over the years, probably because they have the ability to produce a great dinner on one visit followed by a disaster on another visit.
Anyway, our dinner Friday night was quite good. M had the baked clam bellies as a starter and she liked them quite a bit. I also thought they were done just right, and the chef used an appropriate amount of breading. My app was the mixed seafood salad and it was one of the best renditions I've had.
For main courses, M had the shrimp and asparagus risotto, which was served too dry for her tastes. I thought it was OK, but she likes risotto more than I do and thus orders it more and has a lot more experience with it. I had the monkfish special, which came with wasabi mashed potatoes, and liked the dish very much.
We had a K-J 1999 Chard (listed on the menu as a 1998). One real negative was how everyone who poured either water or wine for us missed the glass by lifting the bottle too quickly as liquid was still coming out, spilling large drops on the table. They must perceive it as a cool thing to do, because several of the waitstaff did it. I finally told our waiter that I preferred my liquid in the glass, not on the table, so I would do all the pouring.
But the real killer was after dinner. We asked them to call a car service for us to take us home to Park Slope, which they did. After perhaps 20 or 25 minutes, we flagged down the waiter to see what happened. After a flurry of phone calls, during which the owner got involved, they told us that the car had come and sat outside for ten minutes and then left. None of us believed this, but what could we do? So they called another service and we began another "10 minute" wait.
After about an hour (in total), we gave up and decided to take the subway. On the way out, we spotted a car for hire, flagged him down and negotiated a rate to Park Slope. As soon as we got in his car, his cell phone went off and he began a conversation in a foreign language. After two or three minutes I told him in a loud and stern voice that I would like him to finish his call as I was not comfortable with him driving us while he spoke on the phone. To his credit, he hung up and didn't give any attitude, but my stress level was pretty high by then.
So, a dinner that was pretty good in sum was ruined to a large degree by the difficulties of trying to get home afterward. Am I wrong or is this becoming a greater problem in recent months and years?