Not So Nuts for Almond
(Photo: Guests embarrassed to be seen eating at this restaurant. Oh the inhumanity!)
One would think that I seek out bad restaurants intentionally as of late... with my current track record. However, I think it's just the nature of the industry: some nights you got it, some nights - well.... you don't.
I hit another not-so-terrific-restaurant-despite-other-raves. Again.
Let me first point out that I use OpenTable.com quite a bit. I have racked up enough points early on in the game to be flagged as a VIP.... not that it means much. It only indicates that I'm a big dining out fan and use OpenTable.com to make many of those reservations. I just go out a lot. Four to five times a week is not uncommon. In fact, that's simply my lifestyle. The only caveat is that I have a tendency to stick with restaurants where I know I won't be disappointed....
I changed it up a bit and went to three new restaurants this past week. ALL of them: blaaaaaah! How could I be so unlucky? I don't seek out bad food or request the worst possible service...
If anything, I am very courteous to everyone and the only expectation I have is to be served good food for the price I pay. NOT a big deal. In fact, EVERYONE should operate with this maxim when dining out....
So my latest venture to Almond (NYC) was anything but scrumptious or worth writing about. However, I have this blog and I'm supposed to say something.... Momma always said, "If you can't say something nice...." Well.... I can say that the decor was nicely done for the space that they had available. There. I said something nice.
Despite my reservation AND arriving on time - our party of 4 was routed to the bar, since our table "wouldn't be ready for another 10 minutes or so." I smiled, thanked her and ordered up a cocktail... which was FINE! The bartender was friendly (as most of them are, or at least SHOULD be) and he made a very good brown-sugar rimmed pomegranate martini. Oh! Wow! 2 nice things! (Momma, do I get extra credit?!)
Those 10 minutes for the table, came and went. My friend's husband went back to the hostess after we were sitting at the bar for over 30 minutes... WELL past the reservation time.
Kind of a bad ploy to push alcoholic drinks on your guest. But, it's not uncommon in NYC to do that. Many restaurants push customers to the bar to get them liquored up before a meal. But it is really odd that Almond is pushing their drinks and have a baby as their mascot on their advertisements and website. I'm not putting those two things together, but their branding would say otherwise.... Take a look at the baby eating bread on the website and you'll see this repeated in literature in the restaurant. I'm just sayin'.... disturbing. Hello Marketing? May want to change that item too, while you're at it.... Anyway.....
I should have lingered a while longer at the bar... maybe it might have made the food taste better....
We were finally seated and all of us ordered something different - but I really and truly felt like this "Warm Salad of Duck Confit & Frisee poached egg, butternut squash, sherry vinaigrette, ricotta salata" spoke to me. I wish it would have yelled loudly at me NOT TO ORDER it.
Salty, soggy and with an overcooked egg.... a delight, it was not.
The service was friendly, when it was available. We literally sat there for hours. Not that we didn't enjoy the atmosphere and being with our friends. We just would have liked our drinks refreshed and our meal ordered before sitting in the restaurant for hours on end. Even when we were ready for the check, the waitstaff was incognito... still. You'd think they'd want the money and the tips. That's what logic speaks, but here....Maybe not.
Hopefully, the waiter and bus boy were not in the kitchen cooking. But, come to think of it, it may have helped. Or, it could have explained a lot since the people in the kitchen obviously had no clue what they were doing or how good food should be prepared.
My teenage children cook a LOT better than this place. I should have asked them to whip up something with me in the kitchen that night... instead, I just learned that in order to enjoy Almond, one must drink heavily and/or just be nuts.
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