jeudi, mai 31, 2007

Carla&Friends Day 13: Seafood at La Brasserie du Dôme

After a day of work and such fun, I headed out of the office to meet Carla and company for dinner. I had stayed late at work, planning to go directly to their apartment and then off to La Brasserie du Dôme with them for our 20h00 dinner reservations. It was pouring rain outside, however, and I had a long way to walk to get to the métro station; things took a lot longer as a result, since I would dash from awning to balcony to awning, waiting for breaks in the rain. While on the métro, I texted Carla and asked them to come meet me in the métro station near their apartment. Of course, what I should've realized was that it was a) rush hour, and b) raining, which meant that the entryway to Saint-Paul station was clogged with buisinesspeople doing their best to wait out the storm. Apparently, I wasn't the only person to have forgotten his/her umbrella at home.

Anyway, after finally meeting up with the girls, we headed off to the restaurant and got settled in. Our dinner was culinarily fantastic, but marred by poor service. Actually, I should specify: the service by the doorperson, the coat check, the maître d'hôtel, and the busboy were all very polite and helpful. However, our primary waiter was jerk. His misheard my order for a pastis and brought out cassis syrup with ice cubes (huh?), and when I pointed out the error, he corrected it without excusing himself. Fine, perhaps he didn't want to admit it was his error, and it's certainly understandable when the room was as noisy as it was, and so I was willing to ignore it.

However, when our main dishes came out and one of our group got the sole rather than the risotto, things got much worse. When we sent the busboy back with the unrequested dish, the waiter appeared shortly after and said very sharply "Madame said 'sole.'" I insisted that I (who was sitting next to her) had heard risotto, and the other three people sitting around her agreed, but he insisted that she had ordered the sole, implying that she was a liar and we were lying to cover her ass. What sort of motivation would she have to lie like that? If she had changed her mind, she would've said so and apologised for the inconvenience; at a restaurant like this, it shouldn't have been a problem.

In contrast to the service, the food was excellent. Carla and I shared an order of frogs legs and decided that we really, really like them. The flesh is like a very very tender chicken, and the preparation was in a bath of melted butter, lemon and roasted garlic, which made for delicious aroma and flavour. Everybody else's dishes were reportedly just as tasty, and my tuna belly with roasted tomatoes and eggplants were perfectly cooked.

Nonetheless, at 40-60€ a plate ($55-85 USD), I expected far better service. There is no shortage of good restaurants in Paris, and I'm not going to hurry back to a restaurant that treats me or my guests like crap. We made a point of giving a cash tip of 20€ (huge by French standards) directly to our very friendly busboy, and nothing to our asshole waiter. I don't know if that will have left a lasting impression, but at least it's likely that the story got around the kitchen.

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