Had the pleasure of dining at ICOB with Japanese visitors Thursday night, and how stellar was our evening at ICOB! After the knowledgeable blond server took over from the handsome bearded newbie, it couldn't have been a better evening. Sorry I did not ask her name, but she is really a serious candidate for cloning; terrific with attitude, knowledge, follow-through.
Unusual for us, we had the opportunity to compare service et al when we dined at Clio last night. Maybe best to be brief, but, leave it that Clio was not good. I can't tell you how disappointing it was, and on all points too. No one wants to bash a potentially talented person like Ken, but we will not return to Clio. I'll just mention one very specific point that I think illustrates the service difference between them- in a mote:Not ONE person at Clio said goodnight to us as we left (too busy elsewhere and/or chatting w/ each other). But at ICOB there had to have been FOUR who did. And authentically, with authentic smiles.
Our food at ICOB was as terrific as ever: the MA oysters, the lobster roe noodles, the halibut with ramps and black trumpet chanterelles risotto, the biscuit (AH, that biscuit!), the ramps with romesco sauce..... all clean plates on our team!
Now, if Jeremy would just expand that menu a bit and let out more of his creativity, we could eat there two nights in a row, instead of going elsewhere when our friends come to town!
The ICOB Front of the house could not be better. Authentic great smile, greeted me by name, AND....AND>> she actually READ my Open Table request for seating.
My one suggestion for ICOB is that they train or repeat-train their servers - that when a server sees that they can't answer a diner's questions, they should quickly excuse themselves and seek the help of a server who can answer the questions. ( Our first server was a newbie, attractive and personable, but the wrong server for me, who asks a lot of food questions.)
One of my very fav things about ICOB has nothing to do with the food or the service. It's the room. Tall ceilings, good spacing between tables, well- designed pathways and circulation, lots of absorbent surfaces. It's prob 3x the size of Clio but at Clio, none of us could hear any of the others, and at ICOB we could easily have an intimate conversation.
All in all a really relaxed and fun evening. We were so well cared for and our friends were delighted. Happy campers all.