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Gordon Ramsay at the London


johnder
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Wow, Daniel, what atrocious service! I'm really shocked. Sounds like a Mickey Mouse operation. Do these people know how to do business? What's with that?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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The service lapses Daniel described are, of course, unacceptable at a restaurant on GR's level. The funny thing is, when I dined there we ordered a wine pairing with the Menu Prestige and didn't specify a price range. The sommelier came in at $60 per head, and our requests were honored.

Servers who can't make themselves understood in English are a pretty common occurrence in New York. At a few restaurants, I've had to just give up and eat the food without knowing what it was. Del Posto was one of these.

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The service lapses Daniel described are, of course, unacceptable at a restaurant on GR's level. The funny thing is, when I dined there we ordered a wine pairing with the Menu Prestige and didn't specify a price range. The sommelier came in at $60 per head, and our requests were honored.

Servers who can't make themselves understood in English are a pretty common occurrence in New York. At a few restaurants, I've had to just give up and eat the food without knowing what it was. Del Posto was one of these.

Which exactly are unacceptable in your opinion?

In both recent reviews - Daniel's and Little Ms. Foodie's - the restaurant was basically "cleaning up" and preparing for dinner before they finished their meal. While the former found this unacceptable and the latter found it acceptable - I find it unacceptable (unless the restaurant is supposed to close for lunch at 2:30 and I insist on lingering over my dessert until 3:30).

With regard to the wine - I think it is a minor breach to exceed the budget by $50. The bigger issue was were the wines good wines? I've found that when my husband orders wine pairings by the glass (because I don't drink still wine) - the whites are generally better than the reds. So I wonder how good/bad the wines were. Based on our own experiences - and those I've read about - I think it is better to ask for the sommelier than to trust the server even when ordering wines by the glass.

Finally - I do not consider it a breach of anything for a server to have an accent. There are many domestic accents that are difficult to understand (try the deep south). In addition - the US is a multi-cultural society - and New York is perhaps the largest "melting pot" in the country. In addition - New York has tons of international tourists - and it is not unreasonable for a high class restaurant to have servers whose first language isn't English. I have encountered servers both in the US and abroad who have accents that are difficult to understand (try Scotland :wink: ) - as well as servers who speak little or no English (Miami can be as bad or worse than Tokyo). I haven't had any problems that I've found insurmountable. And I am curious - Daniel - do you know/can you guess what the first language of your server was? Robyn

P.S. The more I read about branches of famous restaurants/chefs - the more I think that I'll pass on all of them.

Edited by robyn (log)
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The service lapses Daniel described are, of course, unacceptable at a restaurant on GR's level. The funny thing is, when I dined there we ordered a wine pairing with the Menu Prestige and didn't specify a price range. The sommelier came in at $60 per head, and our requests were honored.

Servers who can't make themselves understood in English are a pretty common occurrence in New York. At a few restaurants, I've had to just give up and eat the food without knowing what it was. Del Posto was one of these.

Which exactly are unacceptable in your opinion?

In both recent reviews - Daniel's and Little Ms. Foodie's - the restaurant was basically "cleaning up" and preparing for dinner before they finished their meal. While the former found this unacceptable and the latter found it acceptable - I find it unacceptable (unless the restaurant is supposed to close for lunch at 2:30 and I insist on lingering over my dessert until 3:30).

With regard to the wine - I think it is a minor breach to exceed the budget by $50. The bigger issue was were the wines good wines? I've found that when my husband orders wine pairings by the glass (because I don't drink still wine) - the whites are generally better than the reds. So I wonder how good/bad the wines were. Based on our own experiences - and those I've read about - I think it is better to ask for the sommelier than to trust the server even when ordering wines by the glass.

Finally - I do not consider it a breach of anything for a server to have an accent. There are many domestic accents that are difficult to understand (try the deep south). In addition - the US is a multi-cultural society - and New York is perhaps the largest "melting pot" in the country. In addition - New York has tons of international tourists - and it is not unreasonable for a high class restaurant to have servers whose first language isn't English. I have encountered servers both in the US and abroad who have accents that are difficult to understand (try Scotland :wink: ) - as well as servers who speak little or no English (Miami can be as bad or worse than Tokyo). I haven't had any problems that I've found insurmountable. And I am curious - Daniel - do you know/can you guess what the first language of your server was? Robyn

P.S. The more I read about branches of famous restaurants/chefs - the more I think that I'll pass on all of them.

In terms of cleaning up.. Its not that I found it unacceptable.. I find it completely unprofessional and against the service they are trying to provide.. Turning out the lights and gathering around a table chatting goes against the entire vision of the restaurant.. I am not stuffy and find much of the routines unnecessary, but nonetheless was shocked that they decided to break tradition with me.

With regard to the wine.. 50 dollars is a lot to be over if your budget is 100 dollars.. Thats 50 percent more then I asked.. Its not a lot of dollars but, its a considerable amount different.. Also, the wine steward did not take my preferences into consideration even after our discussion about my tastes.. We spoke through out our meal, there was plenty of time to mention him going over budget.. You are dealing with people in the restaurant business.. I am tipping these people over 80 bucks for a meal I was not happy with.. Would it have been a big deal if I was 50 percent wrong on his tip? What if the expected 20 percent tip was 50 percent less?

In terms of the accent, it was too much.. I again am not being picky here.. I go to places in New York and Jersey where they do not even speak English.. But this is not a Taco Stand or a hole in the wall or an ethnic restuarant.. This is a high end restaurant and my server was unable to communicate something that we both were looking at.. Our waitress had a Russian Accent and I had no problem understanding her. Slight accent is not what I was said with regards to our French Waiter..

Edited by Daniel (log)
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Daniel - thanks for taking the time to upload and comment!! Wow.

I'm sorry you had an off-experience. I've also had problems in NYC with having a hard time understanding the waitstaff.

Tell me - how did you find the cheese selection? Was it mostly composed of pedestrian usual suspects, or did they have a nice variety and some challenging, if not novel cheeses? I find that a well-kempt cheese board satisfying.

“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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The cheese board was rather pedestrian.. Not bad, not exciting..To tell you the truth I missed a lot of the choices.. But they had an Epiosse I think you can find at a Pathmark, selection of blue that didnt look too impressive.. They had this one cheese that tasted like hot dogs.. Seriously and thats what our waitress even told us.. Nothing compared to an Artisinal or a Murray, or my local Italian place Celeste.. My first indication that the cheese was going to be mediocre was the vast selection they offer..

Edited by Daniel (log)
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Daniel - So you think the server you couldn't understand was French?

That's a hoot (at least to me). Because the restaurant (which basically serves French food - at least at RHR) probably went to a lot of trouble to get a US work visa for a French server. I doubt they scrounged up a French server out of one of the thousands and thousands of legal and mostly illegal immigrants in New York. Maybe they should just hire illegal Pakistanis (based on my experiences - their English is very good)?

By the way - I happen to be awful when it comes to French (which is the most non-phonetic language I've ever seen). I felt pretty good this week when I read an article that said the average US diner - even a "foodie" diner - can't even pronounce "prix fixe" correctly :smile: .

Regarding the set-up for dinner while you were dining - I don't care if you call it unacceptable or unprofessional. It's just not right. We agree on that one. Robyn

P.S. With regard to cheese - I think US restaurants have a problem these days since customs started to enforce the laws against importing raw cheeses. It is very hard to get something like an Epoisses where I live - so I order cheese from France. But I can't get the raw cheeses these days - and restaurants can't either (legally).

Edited by robyn (log)
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Interesting comments, Daniel. Thanks for posting.

Some thoughts:

*That's poor form that the wine person (sommelier?) went 50% over budget without discussing it with you first. I've been to places that, I'm certain, LOST money on the wine (e.g. Eleven Madison) when I told them we had a certain wine budget--they erred on better wines, but charged the originally agreed upon price.

*Unbelievable that they started cleaning while you were still eating. To me, that's simply unacceptable, bordering on unforgivable. This is supposed to be a NYT 4 star (aspiring) or Michelin 3 star (aspiring) place. Unbelievable. Again I say, unforgivable. Where was the Manager?

*The food looked awfully good.

*The cheese cart looked appealing but I resonate with your comment about too many choices. Sometimes (as would be found in Europe) less is more.

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The cheese board was rather pedestrian.. Not bad, not exciting..  Nothing compared to an Artisinal or a Murray, or my local Italian place Celeste.. My first indication that the cheese was going to be mediocre was the vast selection they offer..

Dude, couldn't agree with you more, except the cheese comes from Murray's, just like every other high-end restaurant in New York.

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P.S.  With regard to cheese - I think US restaurants have a problem these days since customs started to enforce the laws against importing raw cheeses.  It is very hard to get something like an Epoisses where I live - so I order cheese from France.  But I can't get the raw cheeses these days - and restaurants can't either (legally).

It doesn't necessarily have to be an import for me to find it novel/interesting... but yes, if all they had were Roquefort and Parmesan, I'd be disappointed too.

Daniel, I take it you didn't try the "hot dog" one? I'm curious what it was - do you remember the milk/origin?

u.e.

“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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P.S.  With regard to cheese - I think US restaurants have a problem these days since customs started to enforce the laws against importing raw cheeses.  It is very hard to get something like an Epoisses where I live - so I order cheese from France.  But I can't get the raw cheeses these days - and restaurants can't either (legally).

It doesn't necessarily have to be an import for me to find it novel/interesting... but yes, if all they had were Roquefort and Parmesan, I'd be disappointed too.

Daniel, I take it you didn't try the "hot dog" one? I'm curious what it was - do you remember the milk/origin?

u.e.

You can buy/import stuff like epoisses - it just has to be "aged" 90 days (? about the exact time) or more. Not bad - but not as good as "unaged" IMO. Robyn

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Daniel, I take it you didn't try the "hot dog" one?  I'm curious what it was - do you remember the milk/origin?

u.e.

I tried the hot dog one.. I believe it was a goat, I do not remember the name.. It was really not for me, it tasted artificial to me.. I wish I knew more.. But if someone were very curious I am sure a call to Murray's Cheese shop would answer the question..

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You can buy/import stuff like epoisses - it just has to be "aged" 90 days (? about the exact time) or more.  Not bad - but not as good as "unaged" IMO.  Robyn

Yes, I occasionally can get epoisse (Berthaut) here in Kansas City, so I'm sure that restaurants, like GR can certainly get it in NY - although you're right in noting that they'd (legally) have to have been aged more 60 days.

Another cheese that I always enjoy, but can never find state-side is Vacherin Mont d'Or. Might anyone know if GRNYC or any other high-end establishements has that on their cheese carts?

u.e.

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

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Finally - I do not consider it a breach of anything for a server to have an accent.  There are many domestic accents that are difficult to understand (try the deep south).  In addition - the US is a multi-cultural society - and New York is perhaps the largest "melting pot" in the country.  In addition - New York has tons of international tourists - and it is not unreasonable for a high class restaurant to have servers whose first language isn't English.

At a luxury restaurant in an American city, I think it's reasonable to expect servers who can communicate in comprehensible English. That doesn't mean English with an American accent, but it needs to be understandable. I am trusting Daniel, based on his past reviews, that when he complains about this, it isn't merely that the server had an accent, but that the accent was thick enough to be basically incomprehensible.
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You can buy/import stuff like epoisses - it just has to be "aged" 90 days (? about the exact time) or more.  Not bad - but not as good as "unaged" IMO.  Robyn

Yes, I occasionally can get epoisse (Berthaut) here in Kansas City, so I'm sure that restaurants, like GR can certainly get it in NY - although you're right in noting that they'd (legally) have to have been aged more 60 days.

Another cheese that I always enjoy, but can never find state-side is Vacherin Mont d'Or. Might anyone know if GRNYC or any other high-end establishements has that on their cheese carts?

u.e.

I buy Vacherin Mont d'Or from fromages.com (from France). Had a couple this winter - and they were excellent. Robyn

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Adam Platt reviews Gordon Ramsay and The London Bar in this week's New York, awarding two stars to the former, one to the latter:

As our plates were finally being cleared away, past midnight, none of the weary diners at my table had anything horrible to say about their food. On the other hand, no one was babbling with rapturous excitement, either. Despite the solid quality of the cooking, there is a connect-the-dots feeling to dinner at Ramsay’s new restaurant, a sense, as the sommelier proffers his list of fancy Sauternes and the overburdened cheese cart trundles into view, that you’ve seen this all somewhere before.
Platt concludes, "Possibly Ramsay’s earlier London restaurants were imbued with passion and a certain ineffable sense of place. This one isn’t."

I'm not going to directly agree or disagree with Platt's rating, but he seems to exact a pretty heavy rating penalty for the lack of an "ineffable sense of place." Nevertheless, Platt and Bruni often agree, and seldom disagree by more than 1 star. It suggests a 3-star maximum from Bruni, with 2 stars a very realistic possibility.

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a quote from Platt's summary at the end:

" you have a taste for bracing whiskey cocktails, take note of Ramsay’s signature drink, the Diablo"

this ticks me off on two levels.

The Diablo, of course, has been around for many years...back when Ramsay was in diapers, if not before.

a. it's disturbing because it only evinces a growing trend that I've been noticing -- restaurants and bars passing off classic cocktails as "signature" or "house-created"....at least they didn't change the name the way many restaurants or bars do!

b. that a professional reviewer would be ignorant of this. (if he doesn't mention cocktails then he doesn't have to know anything about them....but if he does then he should)

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Adam Platt reviews Gordon Ramsay and The London Bar in this week's New York, awarding two stars to the former, one to the latter:
As our plates were finally being cleared away, past midnight, none of the weary diners at my table had anything horrible to say about their food. On the other hand, no one was babbling with rapturous excitement, either. Despite the solid quality of the cooking, there is a connect-the-dots feeling to dinner at Ramsay’s new restaurant, a sense, as the sommelier proffers his list of fancy Sauternes and the overburdened cheese cart trundles into view, that you’ve seen this all somewhere before.
Platt concludes, "Possibly Ramsay’s earlier London restaurants were imbued with passion and a certain ineffable sense of place. This one isn’t."

I'm not going to directly agree or disagree with Platt's rating, but he seems to exact a pretty heavy rating penalty for the lack of an "ineffable sense of place." Nevertheless, Platt and Bruni often agree, and seldom disagree by more than 1 star. It suggests a 3-star maximum from Bruni, with 2 stars a very realistic possibility.

I think two is pretty much on point..

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Ummm, The Platt review mentions that "his eponymous establishment in Chelsea is the only one in England to be awarded three Michelin stars", I'm assuming he means of Gordons restaurants as The Fat Duck in Bray also has three as does The Waterside Inn (in Bray as well)

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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Ummm, The Platt review mentions that "his eponymous establishment in Chelsea is the only one in England to be awarded three Michelin stars", I'm assuming he means of Gordons restaurants as The Fat Duck in Bray also has three as does The Waterside Inn (in Bray as well)

clearly not somebody who likes to be overburdened by accuracy of expression. Where is this "England" place anyway?

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Ummm, The Platt review mentions that "his eponymous establishment in Chelsea is the only one in England to be awarded three Michelin stars", I'm assuming he means of Gordons restaurants as The Fat Duck in Bray also has three as does The Waterside Inn (in Bray as well)

I think it's just an error. Had the sentence said "London," rather than "England," it would have been correct.
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