The restaurant is small and comfortable with an open kitchen and plate glass windows overlooking South Street. Waitstaff, however, are too inexperienced for the price structure of the menu, not knowledgeable of its offerings, scattered and generally unenthusiastic as they basically phone in their abysmal level of "service".
We started with bread service (listed at the bottom of the menu as "available upon request", which I found a bit odd as it was easy to miss and there was no verbal offer of said service). Do you want me to have the bread, or not? With that mini-rant out of the way, the tall, yeasty rolls couldn't have been more perfect unless they'd been warm and the accompanying sweet potato butter was light and delightful.
UD and I immediately ordered a bottle of sparkling wine (dry and lovely Domaine Barmes Buecher), which was deposited on our table at room temperature. A chiller with ice was dispensed only after we complained and requested one, which quickly overflowed onto the table as the warm bottle melted the ice at warp speed. When our server finally ambled back our our way, our table was a veritable pool, at which time the chiller was replaced with fresh ice and the retention pond on the table robotically mopped up.
Carrot and Orange Soup with cardamom marshmallow, ginger and mint was silken, candylike decadence and presented in a huge troth So good!
We were intrigued by the offering of Spring Crab Succotash (a concoction of lump crab meat with corn kernels, edamame, bonito flake, Old Bay seasoning). I inquired about the application and was told that it was a warm spread that came with Ritz Crackers. I was IN! This stuff was off the chain...nutty, spicy and crustacean morsel-laden, Dispensed sans the Ritz, we nibbled on it patiently while we waited for our wayward server to follow his trail of breadcrumbs back to us so we could issue an Amber Alert for the crackers. At long last, a back-up contingency
teen young adult waitperson drifted by to lackadaisically inquire as to our satisfaction. UD: "This crab succotash is quite tasty, but I believe crackers were supposed to come with?" Displaced-And-Obviously-Confused-Should-Be-A-TGIF-Server: "Were they? Let me go check with the kitchen." As we continued to wait, a third individual breezed by to see how things were going. Again, we asked for crackers. She disappeared just as TGIF returned with (count 'em) SIX Ritz crackers. We ate the six crackers with the dish and, with copious amounts of the succotash remaining, had to ask for more crackers from our Original Server (OS) who was seemingly shocked that the dish had been delivered without crackers in the first place. We then received a generous portion of Five. More. Crackers. OS explained the mix-up by revealing that this was a new menu item and that (understandably) there was some kitchen confusion. WTH? It's a $17 APPETIZER! Get your shiznit together because this clusterfluck could've been remarkable but only succeeded in pissing me off by not only forcing me to beg for crackers, but also to eat most of the spread without them.
Entree time. UD's Supper Burger (10 ounces of custom blended dry aged beef with crisp country ham, sharp cheddar, caramelized onions, tomato, house pickles on a freshly baked bun) was undeniably one of the best burgers ever created, although the accompanying salt and vinegar fries with their trio of dipping sauces were limp, greasy and uninspiring.
Finally, I ordered Duck & Waffles (crispy duck confit with pecan sage waffles and maple bourbon jus). Only the duck confit failed in this dish, but it was an epic fail. The duck was withered and overcooked to a superlative degree...far beyond "crispy" and bordering on "jerky" in texture. Left virtually untouched on my plate, I calmly provided the reason when OS came to clear the plates and inquired. He returned shortly and offered a complimentary dessert as compensation for this inedible dish, which I politely refused. Shortly thereafter, a managerial/owner type person stopped by with an air of faux concern, again offering a free dessert. Umm....No. I'm sure I could've pushed the issue and forced the removal of this $26 entree from our bill, but I preferred let the situation play out for journalistic purposes.
At the end of the day, lack of managerial concern coupled with unforgivably sloppy service far overshadowed the mostly redeeming qualities of the cuisine. Supper had the potential to be a positive dining experience, but ultimately just left me feeling aggravated.
My blog entries contain the unmitigated, and sometimes unforgiving, dining truths and perceptions I experience as an ordinary restaurant patron. Every meal I post about has been fully paid for by one of the participating members of my personal dining party. I do not engage in the gratis blogger freebie dining events I'm constantly invited to attend and never will. If I ooze font-like love for a restaurant in my blog, it's because they totally earned it…not because they gave me free food or knew I was going to share the experience on the internet.