Wanted to post a review of our dinner at Marisol's a few nights ago. We live about 5 blocks from the restaurant, and this was our third time there over the past 4 years.
First off, the food ranged from good to amazing. The flavor in my steamed mussels were very subtle but excellent. My wife got the terrine with fig jam, which came out very cold but was very good once it warmed up a bit. My entree was a special, an amazing lemon sole in an Asian sauce with Udon noodles and lots of fresh ginger. Absolutely perfect flavor and texture. My wife tried another special, shad roe with morell mushrooms and bacon. She tried it mainly because she knew she would probably never see that on a restaurant menu again, but neither one of us enjoyed much of it other than the bacon.
The service, on the other hand, was literally laughingly bad (a pattern across each of our three visits). I know that some think that judgments of bad service are somewhat subjective, so I'll give a detailed summary of what I mean. We arrived and were seated immediately. There were maybe 3 other tables seated, and at least that many wait staff walking around. We requested a wine list and were given one as we sat. We decided on a wine in 2-3 minutes, put down the list, and then waited for someone to come to the table. We then waited some more. And some more. We weren't in a hurry, and we were curious -- based on lax service at previous visits -- to find out how long it would take one of the waiters that was leaning up against the wall to at least come up and say "hi." Finally, 20 minutes after we sat down, I got up and asked at the bar if I could order a bottle of wine and get a dinner menu. The woman behind the bar didn't express any real surprise at this, she just said that someone would be right over. About 5 minutes later someone finally came to the table and took our wine order and gave us menus. About 10 minutes later our wine was brought out. While pouring the wine a bus boy came to the table and handed our waiter a small plate (an amuse bouche), which she looked at with some confusion. After eyeing it for a few seconds and even sniffing it -- my wife said later that she thought the waiter was going to lick it -- she said "I think this is is grilled shrimp with salmon but it might be tomato rather than salmon. Hmm. Anyways, enjoy!" Our appetizers came out about 15 minutes later, and things seemed back on track. Then the wait started for the entrees. Nearly 40 minutes after we finished the appetizers, they finally arrived.
As I mentioned at the beginning, the food was mostly very good, and the sauce and noodles that went with the lemon sole were enough to almost forgive any flaw in the service. We eat out at nice restaurants in New Orleans quite a bit and appreciate the luxurious, unhurried pacing at many of the high-end places. But 2+ hours for a two-course dinner on a night when the place is half empty is ridiculous. Our waiter was friendly and accomodating (if slightly confused) when she was around, which at least was an improvement over some overtly hostile waiters we've had there in the past. (Worst example: we had a waiter bring out our entrees when we were only half-way through with our appetizers. When I said that we would really like to finish our first course before moving on to our second, he literally yelled at us, saying "I can't even believe you aren't done with those yet." As my 4 siblings and my wife's 6 siblings will attest, neither of us are slow eaters.)
Proximity is the main thing that gets us to give this place a try every few years, but even though we tyically really like the food I think we've finally had it.