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flinflon28

Corton (Formerly Montrachet)

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What others have said re "calling a taxi"--there is no way to call a taxi in NYC; there's no phone number to call. Probably calling a car service wouldn't have helped, either, because if its raining, they would take a reservation and it might be an hour or more wait. But with a customer who has MS and has clear mobility problems, it would not be out of line for the restaurant to send a staff member to hail a taxi for a guest. This would be expected at a NYT 3 star restaurant, especially one like Corton. Big mistake on their part.

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What others have said re "calling a taxi"--there is no way to call a taxi in NYC; there's no phone number to call. Probably calling a car service wouldn't have helped, either, because if its raining, they would take a reservation and it might be an hour or more wait.  But with a customer who has MS and has clear mobility problems, it would not be out of line for the restaurant to send a staff member to hail a taxi for a guest.  This would be expected at a NYT 3 star restaurant, especially one like Corton.  Big mistake on their part.

I'm not sure how clear it was to the restaurant that the gentleman had difficulty walking. If it was clear, then they could have called a car service for them. If it wasn't clear, I don't think that the suggestion of walking a half a block to 6th Ave was in any way wrong.

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What others have said re "calling a taxi"--there is no way to call a taxi in NYC; there's no phone number to call. Probably calling a car service wouldn't have helped, either, because if its raining, they would take a reservation and it might be an hour or more wait.  But with a customer who has MS and has clear mobility problems, it would not be out of line for the restaurant to send a staff member to hail a taxi for a guest.  This would be expected at a NYT 3 star restaurant, especially one like Corton.  Big mistake on their part.

I'm not sure how clear it was to the restaurant that the gentleman had difficulty walking. If it was clear, then they could have called a car service for them. If it wasn't clear, I don't think that the suggestion of walking a half a block to 6th Ave was in any way wrong.

It is very hard to miss a gentleman wearing a heavy leg brace!

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I would very much like to eat at Corton: Unfortunately, I have read too many reviews, similar to robyn's, that underscore that the front of the house and service in general at Corton is less than it should be at  a restaurant of Corton's reputation.

Given your relative frequency at other high-end restaurants (you make a point of giving us your per se, Jean Georges, and le Bernardin tally regularly), what would you have expected one of those restaurants to have done in a similar situation? In your many visits to any one of those restaurants, have you witnessed a physically disabled person leave the restaurant assisted by restaurant staff in any way, or known of one of those houses to hail a cab?

By now, I think I know good service when I experience it. Regardless of whether my evening at Corton was "big guns night" or not, service should have been wonderful. It was excellent. I have been at restaurants when VIPs sucked all of the staff's attention. That's great for the VIPs, not so much for us Lilliputians. Circumstances shouldn't matter. I expect good service wherever I eat regardless of who I am, who I'm with, the total on my tab, or the camera that I happen to have under my seat. Why shouldn't I? I'm paying for it.

My positive service experience at Corton may not overshadow the other negative reports you've heard. However, I might point out that I have read/heard about service issues at every restaurant in New York, even le Bernardin, Jean Georges, and on one occasion, per se. But those are OTHER diners' experiences, not mine. I have had excellent service at all three. I'm certainly no VIP at any of them (save one experience that was an exception). And I'm certainly no regular. You could colourably argue that I am friendlly with one of those houses, but that has only been a recent development, and I disclose that relationship up front. Am I just lucky?

robyn was clearly not happy with her service. But sethd, I will tell you that, based on my experience, Corton is a restaurant that I would commend - for both food and service - to *almost* any adventurous diner in New York. You seem to fit in that category. If hearsay service issues alone are keeping you from going, I say, take one night out of your per se rotation and head downtown and find out for yourself. I traveled hundreds of miles to eat there. A cab ride across town won't hurt nearly as much. :wink:


Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Ask the restaurant for a car service next time.

That should be easier for them to understand.

Better yet, since the night was so lousy weatherwise, ask the Four Seasons concierge to get you a car to the restaurant address and either pick you up at an agreed upon time or to be expecting a call for pickup at ....

That couldn't be more expensive then lunch at Cafe Boulud and dinner at Corton?


2317/5000

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What others have said re "calling a taxi"--there is no way to call a taxi in NYC; there's no phone number to call. Probably calling a car service wouldn't have helped, either, because if its raining, they would take a reservation and it might be an hour or more wait.  But with a customer who has MS and has clear mobility problems, it would not be out of line for the restaurant to send a staff member to hail a taxi for a guest.  This would be expected at a NYT 3 star restaurant, especially one like Corton.  Big mistake on their part.

I'm not sure how clear it was to the restaurant that the gentleman had difficulty walking. If it was clear, then they could have called a car service for them. If it wasn't clear, I don't think that the suggestion of walking a half a block to 6th Ave was in any way wrong.

I'm with daisy, the Corton person is likely doing the "out of town" crowd a favor (present case clearly excepted) by pointing them down the block for a cab. If they are right about their info (sounds like they were), then they are saving their guests some 15 minutes (potentially way more) of waiting around and some $15 off private car fare - good service as it were. Then again, it doesn't sound like the communication was handled particularly gracefully here, the "come back if I'm wrong" part is a little rough around the edges.

I've only ever been offered car service once, at Per Se our captain volunteered the option on a nasty day, when he picked up on our worry about finding a cab. Although I've never once thought to ask, I would definitely expect the 4 star places to oblige without hesitation if I did.

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It is very hard to miss a gentleman wearing a heavy leg brace!

Visible?

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Ask the restaurant for a car service next time.

That should be easier for them to understand.

Better yet, since the night was so lousy weatherwise, ask the Four Seasons concierge to get you a car to the restaurant address and either pick you up at an agreed upon time or to be expecting a call for pickup at ....

That couldn't be more expensive then lunch at Cafe Boulud and dinner at Corton?

We've had problems with car service in New York in the past as well. No need to get into that. And FWIW - lunch at Cafe Boulud yesterday was $24 (great lunch special). I wrote it up this morning and think it wound up in the Cafe Boulud thread. My write-up of Felidia wound up in the Felidia thread.

Actually - I didn't think the cab problem was as important as the "squab problem". Or the one little piece of uni (think it was the uni) as opposed to UE's 3 pieces. Or even the fact that I didn't much like the decor. Like I said - our meal was not bad - but underwhelming. That's the most important thing.

I haven't been in New York for quite a while. But when leaving other restaurants in cities where cabs may be difficult - it's not unusual for someone at the restaurant FOH to run around the block to find us a cab. That's what they did at Senderens in Paris last October. At Guy Savoy they had an arrangement with a cab service and called us a cab. Etc. Etc.

But New York is a different animal. I can't even get a cab to take me to Conran's late in the afternoon (guess they don't want to get stuck in traffic). OTOH - my aunt reminded me yesterday that one of my cousin's sons is a big deal in the city taxi commission (or whatever it's called). So I think I will start taking down cab numbers when I am refused service.

FWIW - you can't see that my husband is wearing a big leg brace when he's wearing pants (which he was that evening :biggrin: ). Although he does have a strange gait when he's walking. I really don't like mentioning his medical condition to strangers (and neither does he). Robyn

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I would very much like to eat at Corton: Unfortunately, I have read too many reviews, similar to robyn's, that underscore that the front of the house and service in general at Corton is less than it should be at  a restaurant of Corton's reputation.

Given your relative frequency at other high-end restaurants (you make a point of giving us your per se, Jean Georges, and le Bernardin tally regularly), what would you have expected one of those restaurants to have done in a similar situation? In your many visits to any one of those restaurants, have you witnessed a physically disabled person leave the restaurant assisted by restaurant staff in any way, or known of one of those houses to hail a cab?

By now, I think I know good service when I experience it. Regardless of whether my evening at Corton was "big guns night" or not, service should have been wonderful. It was excellent. I have been at restaurants when VIPs sucked all of the staff's attention. That's great for the VIPs, not so much for us Lilliputians. Circumstances shouldn't matter. I expect good service wherever I eat regardless of who I am, who I'm with, the total on my tab, or the camera that I happen to have under my seat. Why shouldn't I? I'm paying for it.

My positive service experience at Corton may not overshadow the other negative reports you've heard. However, I might point out that I have read/heard about service issues at every restaurant in New York, even le Bernardin, Jean Georges, and on one occasion, per se. But those are OTHER diners' experiences, not mine. I have had excellent service at all three. I'm certainly no VIP at any of them (save one experience that was an exception). And I'm certainly no regular. You could colourably argue that I am friendlly with one of those houses, but that has only been a recent development, and I disclose that relationship up front. Am I just lucky?

robyn was clearly not happy with her service. But sethd, I will tell you that, based on my experience, Corton is a restaurant that I would commend - for both food and service - to *almost* any adventurous diner in New York. You seem to fit in that category. If hearsay service issues alone are keeping you from going, I say, take one night out of your per se rotation and head downtown and find out for yourself. I traveled hundreds of miles to eat there. A cab ride across town won't hurt nearly as much. :wink:

One of the reasons boards like this one exist is to offer information regarding restaurants and allow and aid the boardmember in making informed decisions on whether or not to try new restaurants. We all have certain members whose opinions we value more than others. I always enjoy reading your reviews, ulterior epicure. I usually and unfortunately most often eat out alone and because of that I may be more attuned to service issues. For me, service issues can usually ruin a meal even if the food is delicious. If i read numerous service related complaints from respected reviewers on this and other sites about a specific restaurant, I am less inclined to go there. Why have an evening ruined. In addition, there is no doubt that VIP guests or "friends of the house" get treated differently from a first time guest. However, the overall standard of service for any guest, especially the "lilliputians", must be exceptional at a fine dining restaurant; After all, that is one of the ways regular repeat customers are created.

As for my experience watching physically challenged diners eating at restaurants, I can say that I have frequently noted how gracious the staff of Jean Georges is with customers in wheelchairs, crutches, or even with service animals and I have witnessed on many occasions staff assisting such customers leaving so said guest didn't have to walk down the stairs to the street.

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Actually - I didn't think the cab problem was as important as the "squab problem".  Or the one little piece of uni (think it was the uni) as opposed to UE's 3 pieces. 

At this point, you might as well write my review for me! :laugh:

Yes, in addition to the wine, the one dish that made me suspect that we might be experiencing "Corton deluxe" was our first "Uni" course. I was quite shocked (but not displeased) by the amount of sea urchin presented. I have seen photos by others of the "Uni" and it seems that one tongue, not three, is the norm. This I cannot explain.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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One of the reasons boards like this one exist is to offer information regarding restaurants and allow and aid the boardmember in making informed decisions on whether or not  to try new restaurants. We all have certain members whose opinions we value more than others.  I always enjoy reading your reviews, ulterior epicure.

Thanks for your kind words.

I usually and unfortunately most often eat out alone and because of that I may be more attuned to service issues. For me, service issues can usually ruin a meal even if the food is delicious.

This rarely happens to me, as I am usually fastidious about segregating front of the house issues from kitchen issues. In the past couple of years, I can only think of a couple of meals where poor service "ruined" a meal. My meal at Bouley in March was one of them. There, breathless food was so overshadowed by poor service that the entire meal was rendered worthless.

If i read numerous service related complaints from respected reviewers on this and other sites about a specific restaurant, I am less inclined to go there. Why have an evening ruined.

That is completely understandable. Money and time, alas, do not flow as water. I suppose I am less risk averse in this respect than many. Food is the primary concern for me. No amount of enthusiasm and generosity in the front of the house can increase my estimation of a restaurant if the food is poor. Conversely, rarely does poor service lead me to demote a restaurant despite brilliant food. Poor service suggests that there is a management problem, but not necessarily a chef problem, so to speak. Of course, the ideal restaurant is the one which can coordinate the whole operation seamlessly on a consistent basis. But as you and I know, these gems are few and far between.

As for my experience watching physically challenged diners eating at restaurants, I can say that I have frequently noted how gracious  the staff of Jean Georges is with customers in wheelchairs, crutches, or even with service animals and I have witnessed on many occasions staff assisting such customers leaving so said guest didn't have to walk down the stairs to the street.

That is good to know. And I would not expect less.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I don't want to make a bigger thing of this than robyn is, but I just want to point out that hotels have staff members whose job it is to hail cabs for guests. Restaurants don't. If a restaurant sends a staff member out of the restaurant for a potentially lengthy period of time to hail a cab for a customer, that staff member is neglecting whatever it is he or she is SUPPOSED to be doing. This can be done on occasion, but it can't be done regularly, as a matter of course. It wouldn't be fair to the other diners that the staff member is SUPPOSED to be serving in some capacity.

It independently occurred to me overnight that, as tan319 said above, if you are a visitor to New York with mobility problems, the way to address them is through your hotel, as that's the kind of thing hotels deal with. You can't expect individual service businesses you might patronize over the course of a day -- restaurants, department stores, theaters -- to be able to help you out with your transportation needs.

I'll finally repeat that what restaurants do in places like Las Vegas is irrelevant, because cab services just work differently here. New York -- or at least Manhattan (it's different in the outer boroughs, where there aren't regularly cruising cabs so everybody has the number of a car service) -- may be unique in this respect.

Of course, as docsconz said, it would have been nice if the Corton desk explained that.


Edited by Sneakeater (log)

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At the same time, any restaurant probably ought to have a couple of phone numbers for car/limo services.

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unfortunately that's just not common practice here in new york, as far as I can tell. given your husband's condition and your request, they might have suggested calling a car service. it wouldn't have been much more than the $20 in cab fare it cost you to come from midtown.

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At the same time, any restaurant probably ought to have a couple of phone numbers for car/limo services.

You're right. But on a rainy night, that would result in the customers' hanging out in the restaurant for an hour or more waiting for the limousine to arrive.


Edited by Sneakeater (log)

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It independently occurred to me overnight that, as tan319 said above, if you are a visitor to New York with mobility problems, the way to address them is through your hotel, as that's the kind of thing hotels deal with. You can't expect individual service businesses you might patronize over the course of a day -- restaurants, department stores, theaters -- to be able to help you out with your transportation needs.

Actually, I can and do expect that kind of service from 5 star hotels as well as premier dining establishments that I eat at whether in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, or Timbuktu. That is partly what makes these establishments highly ranked . You are right, it is not the restaurants job to get cabs for all who ask. However, it is the job of a restaurant to care of its guests. In this case, I think the restaurant was in error. In addition, having had mobility issues in the past,, I still remember acts of kindness shown to me by restaurant and bar personnel that might not have been in their "job description".


Edited by sethd (log)

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But the problem here is that this patron's mobility problems weren't apparent, and the restaurant wasn't apprised of them.

As far as Corton was concerned, this was a case of "all who ask."

(Also, Corton isn't, and doesn't aspire to be, a "5-star restaurant." It charges something like half of what per se does. You can't expect the same level of service. If you want to restrict yourself to "5-star"-type places, fine -- but you're going to pay a lot more than it costs to eat at Corton.)


Edited by Sneakeater (log)

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I said fine dining restaurants which Corton definitely aspires to be AND 5 star hotels. Corton is in no way an inexpensive dining location and thus I think it should be held to certain high level service standards. I think the restaurant's owner who has prided himself on delivering a wonderful overall dining experience in this city for the past 20 years would agree. Also, it shouldn't be up to the customer to say, "Hey, my husband has trouble walking" before the restaurant staff , says may I assist you. I am sure the staff noticed this gentleman's physical limitations.

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I actually think the waitstaff made the suggestion in order to try to be MORE helpful. There are a million cabs going up 6th Ave in Tribeca at all hours, and it was half a block away. Hailing a cab would save the customers a considerable amount of time and money. I'm sure if the customers had said that this would be difficult for them to accomplish they would have been called a car service. I can't see holding this against a restaurant if you take into account everything we know about the situation.

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Gosh - you guys are really hung up on transportation. FWIW - last time we took a limo - it was from Manhattan to Staten Island for dinner with a cousin (I have lots of cousins here). When we got to Staten Island - the driver asked us how to get to the house :huh: . We didn't have a clue - and neither did he (he didn't even have a map). So it was a miserable ride that cost over $100 (one way). Our last trip before this - it took forever for us to find a cab to take us to the nice restaurant up in the hills at Columbia U. Even then - the guy who drove us there got lost. Experiences like this make one long for London cabbies. I looked up my cousin's son. He is First Deputy Commissioner at the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission. Guess that means if a taxi or limo pisses me off - he can do something about it.

SethD - Had I known you were a single dinner in Manhattan - I would have asked you to join us. As it turned out - the second seating at the table next to us was a single guy on business from Toronto. I'm chatty - and we had great fun talking. He even smoked (like I do) - so we went out on cigarette breaks together. We probably won't be in New York for another 5 years. But if you are ever in our neck of the woods - give a holler.

UE - three pieces of uni versus one pretty much sizes up this restaurant. There are a fair number of "nobody" people out there like me and my husband who can easily drop $5000+ on a long weekend in New York. We just don't appreciate being treated like second class citizens. Perhaps there are lots of people who will buzz like bees around a hive when they see celebs of various types (most of whom are receiving comps of one type or another) at a place like this. But - in the long run - you won't attract serious diners who do some homework. Robyn

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UE - three pieces of uni versus one pretty much sizes up this restaurant.  There are a fair number of "nobody" people out there like me and my husband who can easily drop $5000+ on a long weekend in New York.  We just don't appreciate being treated like second class citizens.  Perhaps there are lots of people who will buzz like bees around a hive when they see celebs of various types (most of whom are receiving comps of one type or another) at a place like this.  But - in the long run - you won't attract serious diners who do some homework.

If, as you say, the restaurant has a multi-class service, then that is certainly not good. I have all too often been treated like a "nobody," and I know how ugly an experience that can be. I'm sorry your visit to Corton was not better.

I look forward to returning to Corton under more normal circumstances. Hopefully, your visit was an aberration from the norm.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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But getting back to the food part of Corton: for those members who had eaten at Gilt under Liebrandt's hand as well as at Corton, I'm curious to hear comparisons between his food there and his food at Corton. Sadly, I never went to Gilt (still haven't). I've heard some say that Corton is Liebrandt's Gilt dialed back a few notches.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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But getting back to the food part of Corton: for those members who had eaten at Gilt under Liebrandt's hand as well as at Corton, I'm curious to hear comparisons between his food there and his food at Corton.  Sadly, I never went to Gilt (still haven't).  I've heard some say that Corton is Liebrandt's Gilt dialed back a few notches.

I never had a chance to go to Gilt or Atlas when he was the chef there. However, it seems to me that he is a very heavily distilled version of his previous posts. The food at Corton really just makes me long for some of his more experimental cuisine at his earlier restaurants.

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But getting back to the food part of Corton: for those members who had eaten at Gilt under Liebrandt's hand as well as at Corton, I'm curious to hear comparisons between his food there and his food at Corton.  Sadly, I never went to Gilt (still haven't).  I've heard some say that Corton is Liebrandt's Gilt dialed back a few notches.

Corton = much more traditional French.

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also on the topic of regulars and VIPS.

OF COURSE a restaurant should take care of its repeat guests or industry professionals.

However, if a restaurant staff isn't able to discern that you are the kind of guest that is a "foodie" or you pay attention to the food and the service, they don't really deserve your repeat business.

I can't tell you how much free stuff I've received (extra uni, mid courses, comp dessert wine, whatever)....just by being polite and paying attention and being really passionate/interested in what the restaurant has to offer.

But I can guarantee if you start off with a bellini and have a green salad and the chicken, you might not get any perks. Unless of course you are a polite repeat guest. But this is another topic altogether, which I think has been rehashed on egullet several times.


Edited by Wemedge (log)

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