For many years, I was a pretty hardcore Top Chef fan. Of course I no longer have a television because I’m pretty sure mostly everyone watches TV on the internet now, so I am tapped out when it comes to addiction to cable TV shows, however, this did not stop me from getting excited to celebrate with one of my best gals at former Top Chef competitor Nina Compton’s new restaurant in the CBD.
Fun news, I just finished my first semester of grad school and my friend just wrapped her first semester of law school. (One of ours was harder than the other, I’ll let you guess.) Anyway we got all fancy to go out and celebrate. Even though it was a few days early, I thought it would be a fun surprise to call the restaurant to see if I could prearrange a candle in whatever dessert we ordered and they said “no problem.” Great, I basically expected nothing less because it is pretty darn easy to make a note on a reservation and give the chit to the server that says “birthday” and no seat number necessary because we always share.
Or so you would think. En route to dinner my friend shared a horrific story from the other night when she attempted to surprise her main man with a Star Wars ice cream cake at dinner. She spoke with them to make sure that they knew it was an ice cream cake and made arrangements for it to be placed in the freezer until dinner when she dropped off the cake a few hours prior. She also explained that the cake needed to be thawed for 20 minutes before they served it. Pretty straight forward: Ice cream goes in the freezer always and make a note about the defrost time. Check and check. Actually not. I tried very hard not to laugh too hard when she told me the story of how amid other points of bad service, some all-star employee put the ice cream cake in the walk-in refrigerator (READ: NOT THE FREEZER) several hours before their dinner reservation. And finally, after a long, long delay the manager came out with the bad news that the cake had melted. All of it a giant puddle. The force was not with that one. SIGH.
I had to laugh, but of course at the time that was definitely not as funny to her. There is some formula to level of tragedy and time it takes to become funny… I’m not 100% sure of what that is but for since both of us put more than our share of time in working with idiot hosts, I found this all very amusing. Also it will make a very memorable story for years to come. And he’s a grown up so no kids birthday was ruined.
Needless to say, I’m feeling really optimistic for the dinner that we are heading to because you can’t really fuck up a candle or a plate that says “Happy Birthday” on it.
Alas, no. We take a seat at our table to pour over the new menu. It is bound like a book and the outside is soft. (I like soft things!) We are a little close to the wall of window on a brisk New Orleans “winter” night but that is nothing a drink won’t fix… if those came.
The restaurant is pretty full so the fact that it took our server a long time to even greet us was noted but totally forgivable. But he didn’t seem to care and gruffly asked for our water preference. “Bottle of sparkling, and one of flat but I’m fine with house water, thank you” <- because we are still being nice and we are two fun people trying to have a fun night.
One glass of water gets poured. I don’t know what happened to the rest of that pretty straightforward order. We order drinks and some appetizers and then go to find a pretty spot to snap a few photos.
A few things 1) we did not ask grumpy server to take a picture and 2) we ordered before we ran off anywhere.
The hostesses were nice and obliging and we took a few pictures and then headed back to wait for an eternity for our drinks. And then, finally, our drinks came. I look at mine quizzically because I thought I’d ordered sparkling. (The heading said “sparkling and rose”) I missed that detail but Mr. Grumpy Pants was enraged that I even suggested that he perhaps brought the wrong thing. Wah fucking wah.
Ahhh appetizers. They were both fried with a dipping sauce and nothing to write home about, so I won’t except to say that he didn’t come by once to check on the food or to see if we needed anything (we did…to order the rest of our food.) and maybe, I don’t know, not be such a dick about the still water that I’d ordered and refresh my glass. But he did, however, stalk past us several times. I don’t know what his problem was. Two hot girls having a nice dinner and neither of us being demanding or rude, just chilling and having a nice, relaxed dinner. One of the pitfalls of being at a 100% tourist joint I guess.
We decide to pow wow about what we should do because it became clear that we were not getting another round of drinks anytime soon. And that he wasn’t in the mood to tell us the specials or what some standout dishes were. We think about perhaps a yelp review. (You know how I feel about naming servers on Yelp…) so we decided to just talk to the manager and see how that goes. We obviously got the greenest manager on the block and all that resulted was even MORE scowls from our waiter because now he’s pissed that we complained. GAHHH.
The bar was full when we sat down but magically, like a gift from the dinner gods, two spots opened up and we decide to make a move. Fuck this guy, he is ruining our night for no reason. And then like another gift from the dinner gods, the second course of crudo with shaved ice that we enjoyed at the bar with a plethora of attractive men as added eye candy working the bar, things turned around. We also had a delicious roasted beet salad with kale pesto and two (teeny tiny) pieces of house made bread. Yummy.
But here’s the thing. Now I’m worried that our move has ruined my “easy” birthday surprise so I have to jet off to make sure that everyone is still on board. (They were!)
We finished off with a lobster pasta. Waited mmmm 15 actual minutes for them to apparently bake two more (teeny tiny) pieces of that delicious house made bread to scoop up the rest of the sauce, and… dessert!
Dessert, amari and a candle.
And then we all lived happily ever after without ever setting food in Compère Lapin again because in this food town, no one needs that kind of crap. Woof.