You all know me pretty well by now. (So you also probably know that this isn't my cat - it's FP's.)
I'm a sweet girl, and I like to play nice...but sometimes plain ol' nice just doesn't cut it. Know what I mean? I've decided to add an every-now-and-then feature in which I can get some things off of my chest - and hopefully info-tain you in the process! To that end, I present Catty Corner (with thanks to my hubby for the clever title).
Catty Corner #1: Disses and Disappointment
Not long ago, I met a friend for lunch at a new place we'd both been dying to try. It's a smaller offshoot of a beloved local legend, tucked into a cozy corner near the Crescent. I arrived at 12:20 (a little early) that Friday afternoon to find the place hopping - great-looking cars buzzed through the valet line and the patio was packed with pretty people. As I approached the front door, I momentarily regretted my jeans-and-tank-top attire (I'd decided to play it L.A. that day), but shrugged off my worries in favor of focusing on the great meal ahead.
Inside at the host stand, I spotted a Silver Fox-type that I was sure was one of the owners chatting up a couple of botoxed blondies in low-cut tops. "How do you like our new place?" he asked with a grin, and whisked the pair to a table as they gazed about in admiration. He returned to his post an offered me a warm smile, but when I asked for a table for two, he directed me to the bar and told me I'd have to wait. Though I spotted several free tables here and there, I kindly obliged (he was very sweet about it) and squeezed into a space at the end of the bar behind a giant plant. I thought perhaps the delay was due to my "incomplete party", though I wasn't told this in so many words. In fact, I was assured that my table would be ready very soon.
As I waited (and waited), servers buzzed around me, a man to my left munched a burger and I began to feel very much in the way. My lunch date eventually came to my rescue, however, and we were seated at a small two-top in the back of the dining room. It still wasn't clear whether our being seated after her arrival was a coincidence or not, but I decided not to worry about it. I also didn't fret the nook-and-cranny table location, as I hadn't requested a specific spot, and sometimes these things are the luck of the draw.
I'd had plenty of time to look over the chalkboard while I was waiting at the bar, so ordering was quick-and-easy: the pasta with seafood special for me, and the club sandwich for my companion. We settled into the friendly banter of two old friends with a lot of catching up to do, but when our food arrived, my relaxed demeanor quickly turned sour as this restaurant racked up strike three. The special had been billed as a dish of whole wheat pasta tossed with trout, scallops, mussels and the like ($12, I believe), but it arrived looking more like spaghetti from a kids' menu. The only discernable sea creatures in the bowl were the mussels - four to be exact - one of which hadn't opened and necessitated quick disposal. Digging around, I found various bits of other fish, but the dish was awkward to eat, as someone had decided to break the long strands of whole wheat linguine in half before the boil. The result were floppy, flappy noodles that refused to twirl and threatened to throw tomato sauce across the table with every dip of the fork. To top it off, fragments of mussel shell peppered the dish (one of the bivalves had cracked), adding a gritty grind to every other bite. In short, there was nothing special about this special.
To be fair, my friend liked her sandwich and our server was quick to please. (She crossed the line to overly-solicitous a couple of times, actually, but it wouldn't have bothered me if everything else had gone off without a hitch.) We exited to a quick goodbye from the same Dapper Dan who greeted me, and on the way back out into a glittering sunny day, I spotted the blondies from the door at a prime table on the patio. I'll admit a touch of envy. I'd give this spot a second chance, but I'll avoid the pasta and hand-pick my own table next time, thank you very much.