May 18, 2004

Loved It/Hated It - Artisanal

Prologue: "A" Gets a Reservation. "A" strikes up a conversation with her coworker who loves to talk about food! Turns out she worked for Artisanal (woo hoo!) and we can get a reservation for Friday night, when "J" will hit New York.

Act I: Friday Night. 3 very hungry people looking forward to a wonderful dinner at Artisanal - the reviews are excellent, the place is packed, and we all love cheese.

Act II: Appetizers. We had a wonderful waitress - cheerful, French, attentive - everything was perfect. Delicious cheese puffs came in a paper cone with some of the strongest drinks ever. They were the only drinks we've ever paid $12 for that were actually worth $12. (In fact, it is a miracle we can remember the meal...) The Artisanal Blend Fondue (not too stinky!) with apples and bread arrived in due course - we had no compunctions about ordering two separate cheese-based appetizers. At this point, after pouring the wine, our beautiful French waitress informs us that as she is in training, she has to leave for the evening. At this point, they really should have sounded the death knell on dinner, but we were oblivious...

Act III: Entrees? We were exposed like Kate Winslet on an iceberg to the horrors of "team serving." No fewer than 7 different waiters, and 2 managers "helped" us with our meal. Needless to say, the raclette (yes, another appetizer) arrived 1 hour after the wild mushroom risotto (shared by "A" and "J") and the hanger steak ("C"). Not only that, but it took no fewer than 3 requests - of different people - before we got that raclette. Now, this didn't make us as upset as you might think, because the food was fabulous (and hey - we were still doublefisting!)

Act IV: Deserted with Dessert. We didn't learn. and we ordered dessert anyway, from waiter #7. We got a baba rhum (wonderful), and the piece de resistance, the cheese plate. As "J" described it, "transcendent." (Def: Transcending the Aristotelian categories...) We picked one creamy (Stanser Flada from Switzerland), one tangy (Tourmalet from France) and one STINKY (Il Caprino Tartufo from Italy). "J''s reaction to the latter: "Barnyard." "A's" reaction: "Public bathroom." They were not kidding when they described it as stinky cheese. It was gross, but oddly compelling, and the next day when "J" was in Princeton she walked by a freshly fertilized garden and thought to herself, "Now what does that make me think of? Oh - right! The cheese!" After getting 1/6 of the bill knocked off because of the poor service the night was complete.


Posted by littlelee at May 18, 2004 08:41 PM


Posted by: TSFGH at May 7, 2006 11:38 AM
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