Does the Maître d’ Have a Right to Scold You If You Park at a Hot New Restaurant?
Ruth Reichl, Mimi Sheraton, Gael Greene, Josh Ozersky, and Andrew Carmellini loved loved loved their time at the Minetta Tavern, and aside from an odd hiccup (a waiter presumptuously keeping $20 as a tip when we asked him for change), we (dining anonymously) have felt at home there too. But a friend of Grub Street who frequented the tavern before it was McNally-ized came to us fuming about her experience there.
My friend made a reservation for 6 and we all got there 6:10-6:20. They kind of shoved us to our table so some fat rich guy who knows everyone could sit at the bar and eat. I have tar tare and the pieces are way too big, especially for raw veal. Eck. We spent $400 and leave at 9:30 p.m. Mind you, it's a French bistro known for taking a long time; our second round took forty-five minutes, so we felt very cool about parking it considering we ordered dessert wines, three desserts, etc. And everyone who sat when we did left when we did. So, we go to leave; the girl thanks the maitre d’ and he interrupts her to say he had to turn away two to three tables because we took so long. He literally went on and on, berating her. I felt really bad for her. I will say, the girls I was with were annoyingly girly, and this place is very male, but she's super nice and would've sent tons of people his way (not that he needs it or wants it, apparently). I just looked at him and said, “Asshole.” And we left. All I could think about were the countless late night drinks I've had in there, alone at the bar, when the place really had balls.
So, what do you think? Is three hours too long to spend at a hot new restaurant that has a hefty renovation bill to pay?