Before you think I'm just shilling for them, though, I have *major* problems with the rest of the Gayle experience. I should say, before continuing, that every staff person we dealt with was perfectly lovely, curteous, helpful and personable. So when I say the place was completely intolerable- at 9:30pm, yet -, you should visualize Azafran that was, then double the number of tables: the space is so infernally crowded, our twosome actually became a foursome, as making new intimate friends was much the better option, since I wasn't able to move without elbowing our neighbors. A server actually did elbow me in the back of the head. I spent a good quarter-hour waiting to be spoken to, on first arriving, and furthermore spent that time trying to negotiate with sundry arrivals and departures for the use of the four square inches of floor available to us all. Blood was not shed, but it was a close-run thing. We were not given the amuse-bouche other tables were offered, most likely because the servers were in permanent overdrive. While these nice young men and women were pleasant and helpful, they clearly did not have the training or experience that allows the staff at La Viola (the only other restaurant in town I think may be as crowded) to minimize the damage to the eating experience.
All in all, I am glad I tasted chef Stern's food, but if I return it will be on an off-day and at an off-time. For the $130 I dropped, not including the wine, I need a bit more space, physically and mentally.
Edited by Capaneus, 04 December 2005 - 06:48 PM.