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River Cafe: pro and con


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River Cafe: pro and con

steve d. | Apr 15, 1999 04:10 PM

Well, I just got back from my corporate lunch, and I have to say my impression was not as exclusively positive as I had hoped. The view is wonderful, of course (though not as good as the view from Jersey City -- one of the few things I'll miss about this place), and the food was very good as well -- I had the short ribs, preceded by "six-onion soup" (one of the women at the table asked me if I could tell the onions apart, and I said "Why yes -- it takes years of training, of course, but the subtle distinctions are quite apparent..." -- I then had to explain that I was joking), and finished with creme brulee and coffee, and everything was delicious -- but no more so than at other fine restaurants. And the service was distinctly inferior to the food. We had asked for one large table, but they seated us at two, claiming that bookings made it impossible to accommodate us (although by the time we left the place was only half full); they were pretty snooty about it, too, and apparently told the woman who made the reservation that we absolutely had to be out by 2 (see comment above about being half-full). They didn't bring water until asked, and served us one roll each rather than place a bread basket where we could each take what we liked (they brought more rolls around later, but still...). And they only had three wines by the glass, a cabernet, a merlot, and a chardonnay, which seems ridiculous in this era of wine bars and Cruvinets. All in all, I wouldn't go back on my own tab. Maybe I've been spoiled by places like Union Square Cafe and Montrachet, where you feel cosseted and pampered from making the reservation to retrieving your coat (and which are a lot easier to get to), but that's the way I see it. If I'm going to spend big bucks on a meal, I want everything just so, with no annoyances or regrets. As a matter of fact, I think I'll make a reservation at USC right away...

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