I could write pages about my "opening night" meal there on Friday. It would be entertaining, but it also would be pretty cruel as, except for the comfy and very pretty chairs upstairs, I have nothing nice to say. So, I'll keep it relatively short.
I'll admit it. I've now learned my lesson--nothing good can come out of the deadly combo of opening nights and trendy meatpacking district restaurants.
Suffice to say that if one were to think that Mr. Chodorow had learned his lesson after Rocco's about opening a restaurant before it's ready, he or she would be sorely mistaken.
The crux of my criticism--The service was abysmal. Not me-being-a-snob-abysmal. I mean this-should-not-happen-at-Friendly's-when-I-pay-$5-for-a-microwaved-chicken-sandwich-to-be-served-by-a-15-year-old-abysmal. They got NOTHING right. They had no wine or bar lists--the manager had to come over to suggest wines, and then it took more than 1/2 hour to get each of our two bottles. It took between 20 and 30 mintues to get each of our two bottles. The first was warm. After being seated, we didn't get menus for 20 minutes. We didn't get even a cracker for over an hour. Our original waitress was combative when, while ordering, we pleasantly asked questions about the menu, and then admitted that she didn't know the menu. They gave us the wrong food (and then attempted to charge us for it!). The hot food was cold (thank goodness half our meal was sushi). The robata was served without the chef's famous sauces (they came about 10 minutes AFTER we received our food).
The food itself seemed decent enough, though nothing really impressed me. Then again, I was so hungry by the time we got served, I would have eaten rocks.
Oh, and, for a while, the upstairs smelled like burning meat.
I kid you not.