So, the NY Times didn't like Sapa. Nevertheless, a friend from out-of-town wanted to meet there and couldn't be convinced otherwise. Arrived on time for our reservations, but some members of our party were a bit late. We ordered wine in front and found ourselves rushed to our table, before the complete party arrived. Ordered $7 french fries for the kiddies, but they brought the mashed potatoes instead. No problem, they replied, bringing 40 french fries in a crock (something like 17 cents per fry, I figure. Probably worthy of publishing in the Guinness Book of World Records). Ordered mussels and clams in broth. Lots of shells, but only a few mussels. Absolutely no clams found. Mentioned this to server, who didn't seem to care. Main course of parchment-roasted cod over celeriac and wife had monkfish. Very good..both dishes. Worth $31? Maybe.
Skipped dessert. With wine (not expensive bottles), nearly $70 per person. I think: how many $55 prix
fixe menus are there in fine NYC restaurants without the noise (senseless techno music made conversation tough), the singles crowd (three deep at the bar and forty people crowding the front entrance at 9 PM waiting for their tables). I must compliment a man who seemed to be one of the hosts (long blondish-brown hair, very well dressed and well groomed). He took the time to connect with one of the children at our table and even asked if there were any birthdays being celebrated at our table (I was tempted to lie)...he even brought over some fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies for the kiddies while the grown-ups settled the bill..nice touch (hey, for that money, I want a cookie, too.). Son just told me there weren't enough cookies for all the kids, so he went without. Nice move, son....learning life's lessons at 16. If someone from Sapa reads this, send your cookies to: PO Box XXX.....
Interested in hearing others' experiences here and Chelsea preferences.