Resto: Under Certain Conditions

I've eaten at Resto before, but thought I'd try it again and see if they could top my last visit. I also wanted to be able to review this place for my new blog and not go on what I remember from a few months ago.

In this case, I should have just kept the fond memory and moved on to another locale to blog about...

Honestly, I must have went on the loudest night EVER in this place. The acoustics were so bad, I couldn't hear the hostess or the waiter say anything -and I'm not a lip-reader, so it was a challenge to communicate about the menu. -Not to mention, I kind of would have liked to converse with my boyfriend over the course of the evening, but... no. It was just ridiculous.

The set up of this restaurant isn't entirely terrible (but close!), and it's certainly not put together for comfort - at ALL. The chairs are made of aluminum - cheap looking and just as uncomfortable. The tables are way too small and my favorite part of the evening (get ready for sarcasm): the condensation from the overhead air conditioner that drips on you, your table, into your glass and onto your food! Yeah baby!

Tip for anyone considering a visit to Resto: DO NOT SIT under the air conditioning unit that lines the restaurant on the entire left hand side as you go in... unless you want to have your umbrella and rain coat handy. (The wait staff is HAPPY to wipe down the unit for you, but if you stay for over 30 minutes, you're probably going to get dripped on anyway! AVOID. I've warned you. Dine at your own risk.)

We asked to be moved since we just unknowingly sat down to the drip-zone. Crazy us thinking that it was a little strange that it was raining indoors, in the corner of the room. At first they were HESITANT to move us! Are you kidding me? If you don't move us, I'll go right out the door!

So in a few minutes and with a confused look on my face (why am I staying here, getting dripped on, WAITING for these yazoos to decide if I can move or not?!), we ended up in the center of the restaurant -which is anything less than ideal with other diners and the wait staff continuously buzzing around you while you attempt to eat your meal without getting your fork in your eye. To top that off, the guy sitting directly behind me was a little on the rotund side - I had to carefully squeeze into my chair and try not to bump up against Sasquatch.

What a fun evening so far! I can't hear, I look like I came in from a rain storm and now I'm sitting with my ribcage up against a table that is fit for gerbils. Oh yes - and I'm sitting on a chair that is about as comfortable as a bed of nails. Sheer joy.

When our waiter finally arrived - I swore it was John Mayer's doppelganger!! Not that it made a difference, it just made my so-far-crappy-night-at-Resto a bit interesting.

To my surprise, once my boyfriend placed an order (because I couldn't even hear the waiter) the food arrived and was actually quite good.

First, the appetizers. A little salty on the deviled egg - but so tasty in spite of a little extra sodium. Crispy, crunchy and with the egg to refine the flavor. Oh! But for a real good foodie moment, try the Bibb salad. The crispy pigs' ears, dandelion leaves and soft egg make this a mouthwatering delight.

When dinner arrived, I was more than ready. It wasn't served very timely, so don't go to this place too hungry (or thinking you'll be comfortable either).... I had the veal which was spot-on in terms of taste and presentation. I also inhaled some mussels that evening, moules frites with green curry, lemongrass, coconut milk and kaffir lime. Those could NOT have been served better -and I've had my share of mussels in the city. These were so delicious and the combinations of spices made the dish simply perfect.

The crowd started to get larger and louder as we finished our plates - staying for dessert just wasn't possible. My ears, butt and ribcage were really worn out by the time it was time for something sweet.

I don't know if I'll go back to Resto just based on its overall set up of space. It is also a bit far for me to try take out - but maybe a quick business lunch would be worth a try - just not while we have warm weather and a need for air conditioning.

It will be interesting to see if Resto makes it in this economy and with its customer unfriendly space. It is really sad to see a good meal to be overshadowed by a poor set up. Resto could be the best-o -but not in its current... ahem... condition.

How Daniel Changed My Life

I really don't need to tell anyone about incredible cuisine at the famed Restaurant Daniel - because it's already been done. And it's been done in style -as it should be.

What I could tell you about is Daniel's wrath.... you know, what it leaves one of its customers once you've dined there.

I'm reminded of the Seinfeld episode when Jerry and Elaine have to take a flight back to NYC, and there's only two tickets available: one coach, one first class. Jerry takes the latter because, of course, once you've had first class, you can't go back.

That's Daniel in a nutshell. You just can't eat substandard anymore...

Once you've been waited on with such attention to detail and service - you don't want to go anywhere else. And, when you do, you begin to compare -or better yet, contrast. That's right, foodies, you know what I'm talking about.... you become your own critic. Your palate gets sensitive and your expectations are so grand, that you are shocked if there is no Maitre D' or wine director at a fast food joint. You're officially a food snob.

Or even if you've dined at rival Per Se - you'll compare the portions you get there to what you get at Daniel for the same price. Granted, those who frequent either of these locales on a regular basis are not paying much attention to their pennies in their wallet - but maybe with the economy, they should.

My date didn't seem to mind spending over a William McKinley that night - but wow... the after effects of dining just last week still hasn't worn off. I realized, more than anything, that after Daniel and being treated to such a high level of ooh-la-la, I can never break up with my boyfriend either. Yes, it's that good. Stupid good. Zut alors! I'm so screwed....

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