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Reports From V-Day Hell, Country Edition

We don't have it in for Geoffrey Zakarian. Really we don't. But Valentine's Eve diners at his restaurants sure seem to. Let's round out the afternoon with Report #3, this time from a diner at Country, his new outpost on Lower Madison:

Just read those two posts re: Town and their crap-tastic service. I would venture to say that Country was as bad (if not worse) than Town. Zakarian's got some service issues, to be sure.

After reading all of the buzz about Country, my partner and I made a V-day reservation for 8:30pm, and went through the normal shenanigans of making the reservation guarantee, complete with credit card info. I called to confirm the rez that day, and all seemed to be fine. Fast forward to our arrival at Country - we checked in with a hostess, who pointed to a nearby table being re-set by the busboys, and told us that it would be just a couple of minutes until we would be seated there - we shouldn't even bother going up to the bar upstairs. So we stood there, with our coats on, waiting for our table - the busboys finish, we're still waiting; more people show up and are seated, we're still waiting; ten minutes goes by, and another couple comes - early for their 9pm reservation. A new hostess points at "our" table, indicating that she'll seat them there, upon which, I reminded them that they had promised us that table nearly 15 minutes earlier. Shock, confusion, and general disarray (on their part) ensues, but we're shown to our table, still in our coats - no one ever offered to check them.
After we were seated, our waiter - a clueless gentleman - greeted us and took our order. Drinks and appetizers arrived, and the food was OK - nothing amazing or at all envelope-pushing, and definitely catering to the lowest common denominator of NYC eaters. At 10pm, after sitting at our table for AN HOUR, untended to, half drunk, we still had not received our entrees. My several attempts to flag down our waiter over the hour since our apps had been cleared went unnoticed, and I had to half-stand and wave my arms to get him to come over to our table, where I informed him (with charm, of course) that we had been waiting for an hour, and were a bit concerned about the status of our dinners?

We were assured by our waiter that, no, our entrees were on their way - no apology, no "can I get you a drink", nothing. 15 minutes later (it was about 10:15 at this point), a manager comes over - the first person we encountered that head their head screwed on all night - lots of apologies, self-deprication, etc. were spouted before he confessed that our entrees were lost. They were prepared, sent out (in the 9pm region evidently), but never made it to us. The mind-boggling thing is that our waiter, who had about 4 tables in a 10-foot radius, never thought to find out why. Further, by 10:15, they had run out of the entree my partner ordered, leaving her with few options besides the super-boring and salty chicken. We finally received our entrees, though 90 minutes after our apps were cleared.

To the manager's credit, he comp'd us our apps & entrees, and insisted upon dessert and coffees on the house (dessert was the best thing all night). While this gesture was enough to keep me from storming out of the place and setting up a picket line out front, Country is a classic example of an average restaurant with average food trying to carry off 5-star service. The servers, busboys, hosts, etc. are thoroughly un-trained for the kind of service they attempt to provide. Last time I try one of these places - I've learned my lesson.

· Reports From V-Day Hell, Town Ediiton [~E~]
· Report From V-Day Hell, Town Edition II [~E~]

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