Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sometimes, The Service Undoes The Food

As was the case last night at a very drawn out--if very delicious--meal at Rouge et Blanc. It is the kind of dining room that a person might want to spend three or four hours in, yes, but not the kind of dining room that a person would want to wait three to four hours for dishes to arrive in. There is a difference. The restaurant was nearly empty, peppered only with the occasional guest and a strange oenophilic manager who spent most of service eating his dinner at the end of the bar, which, presumably, he did not have to wait for.

It started out with promise: grilled ramps and baby onions and shisito peppers with the briny tang of soy; cubes of pork fat with a sweet daikon sauce; a bubbling cauldron of tofu and ground chicken in what tasted like a really good hot and sour soup. But then, the space between dishes got larger and larger. Where was the Vietnamese sausage, we wondered? An hour later, the loose packed meat arrived on licorice sticks, with a cool glass noodle salad. It was good, but we were too hungry in its presence. Another hour passed before our noodles--thick like tagliatelle and in the company of a sunny side up egg, a half of a lobster tail, and three pucks of pork belly--finally arrived. Our wine was nearly gone and I had lost the wind of enthusiasm from my sail.

Dessert was a brilliant pairing of a seared mini lobe of foie gras (a tad undercooked, but at least it arrived within the hour), vanilla ice cream, cocoa nibs, grilled apples, and quince. I wasn't sure if it would make sense until I ate it.

It really did make sense, but our lapse in service and harried waitress who came to our table always a beat too late to explain our food did not.

*
Rouge et Blanc
48 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10012
212.260.5757

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