Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Strange Service, Yummy Food at Cafe Cluny

I recently went out to dinner with Jill at Cafe Cluny in the West Village, and the experience we had with the waitstaff was so odd that I felt compelled to write about it. To start, the hostess showed us to a table in the back corner of the restaurant that was arranged in such a way that there was part of a wall between us. After moving the table around a bit and rearranging our seating, we were able to sit more comfortably. I looked up and saw a giant bug on the ceiling and thought to myself that it was a strange piece of art for a restaurant.
When our waiter came over to the table we noticed that he had an incredibly thick British accent. While I love me a good British accent, his was so thick that we couldn't understand a single word that came out of his mouth! He read off the specials, managed to take our drink order and (I think? I hope?) asked us if we wanted some bread. We did. When he brought it back to the table, he took our appetizer order as he delivered our drinks. We decided to split the Crisp Pumpkin & Goat Cheese Fritters with Warm Lentil Salad & Smoked Paprika. I sipped on my crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc as we anxiously awaited whatever was coming next.

Our incomprehensible waiter returned to take our entree order, and the adventurous spirit in me lead me to ask him what he recommended. I have no idea what he said. I ordered the Grilled Eden Brook Trout with Winter Brussels Sprouts, Radish & Bacon Salad, Onion Rings & Whole Grain Mustard Aioli while Jill ordered the Grilled Tuna Burger with French Fries. Our appetizer arrived at the table and it looked so green and bright!
The lentils were the perfect firmness and the fritters were delightful. Crispy, flavorful and not a drop of grease to be found. The appetizer left me with high expectations of my entree, and Jill and I discussed whether we'd be able to understand a single thing our waiter said.

We never got to find out. A new waiter dropped off our entrees, thankfully he didn't have an accent but his high level of enthusiasm was a bit overwhelming. He was what I like to call a "close talker" and excitedly announced our dishes as he put them in front of us. The portion of my dish appeared small, but the smell was intoxicating.
The onion rings, like the fritters, weren't at all greasy. The fish was tender and succulent and the rest of the dish blended beautifully. I ate every bite and was very content when I was done.

"Excited Waiter" came back to the table to clear our dishes and ask us if we wanted dessert. He practically yelled, "WE HAVE A DELICIOUS SELECTION OF DESSERTS, CAN I BRING SOME COFFEE?!" as he stared at us wide-eyed and expectant. It was official, we were frightened. We ordered some Homemade Biscotti with Espresso and simultaneously asked for our check to limit the number of interactions we'd have with this guy. He returned with our check and our dessert, which was delicious, and we quickly finished and left.

While the food was excellent, we left the restaurant feeling slightly confused about the odd service we had received. I'm sure that isn't the norm at Cafe Cluny, but it certainly was strange. Have you ever had odd service at an otherwise good restaurant? I'd love to hear your stories.

Let's Eat!
-The Fabulous Foodie


  1. Just imagine if the food was bad...The food looks fab and you were entertained. All in all, a good evening.


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