So my uncle from New York, who doesn't even live in New York anymore, and apparently isn't going to live on the east coast for very much longer either, was in town this weekend for...well, what, exactly, it was escapes me at the moment—a conference or meeting of some sort, I think. Whatever it was, it presented the opportunity to get together and visit over a lovely Sunday afternoon meal, so we picked up my mom and met my uncle, and Aunt Meg too, at the very popular, much praised, Fletcher Place eatery known as Milktooth (whose chef, according to the Star, was recently named one of the top ten rising stars in culinaria—a word that it's possible I just invented).
I could be talked into believing that someone from the back of the house at Milktooth could be named a rising star; I would not, however, be so easy to convince if you attempted to argue that anyone from the front of the house might be eligible for such a distinction. And before we go on, to what will be the shortest restaurant review I have ever written, due to the fact that I will not mention a single word about the food, please take a moment to note the distinction between someone and anyone. Based on lunch service today (or perhaps brunch—this is the sort of place precious enough to purple the prose of a midday meal), there is no one in the front of the house who merits any distinction of any kind—nobody.
The place was bustling when we arrived at 12:30 (on a Sunday, no less), and my uncle, the first of our party of six to arrive, had already put our name on the list. He didn't mention how long he had been told the wait would be, but no one was in a hurry, and Amy and I were very excited to try it, so we waited. And waited. And then waited some more. Many people who arrived after we did were well into their meals before we even had a chance to sit down. After multiple inquiries yielded no apparent change in our status, my uncle was finally informed that the restaurant had all of one table that could accommodate our party. Not unreasonably inquiring as to why he wasn't told that in the first place, my uncle was then told, by someone who might have been a manager, that "I find it hard to believe" that he was not so informed.
I have worked in movie theatres, places where customer service is a top priority, for a long time; and I have a passing familiarity with how to piss off the customers, though I have never ranked which are the best ways to do so. If I ever did that, though, I am quite certain that expressing disbelief in what the customer just told you would be pretty close to the top of the list. Up to that point, I had been fine with the wait. Milktooth is very popular, and we arrived at the worst possible time; maybe they had a very good reason (though they did not provide it) for refusing to push tables together (or even situate them in slightly closer proximity to one another); and the hostess was astute enough to inform us (eventually) that the very inconsiderate six-top, that had been lingering for most of the time we had been standing there, had both received its check and been informed that there was another party waiting for the table.
But do not fucking tell me to my face that I am lying. It would also be good to, you know, actually have all of the things listed on the menu. We were told that they were out of most of their pastries, including a particular scone that I don't recall the exact name of now (and which isn't listed on their online menu), as well as the merguez sausage you could add to the one egg baked in spicy tomato sauce over Amelia's semonlina for $12. (The added sausage would have made it $17.) The same woman who said it was hard to believe my uncle hadn't been informed about the lack of accommodation for large(ish) parties later came by our table and, when we said that all of the food was very good, asked if it was worth the wait.
I'm not sure it was. I generally take the position that food trumps service when you go out to eat, and in this case it's almost like both factors were turned up to eleven—the food was excellent, across the board, but it was preceded by what might have been the worst service ever. Such extremes tend to be more indicative of a bad day than of a general pattern, and if a Milktooth representative pinky swore that that was the case today, I would believe them. I just can't imagine that I would ever want to go back. Milktooth, with its reputation way out in front, disappointed dramatically, a far cry from the dining experience we had at its owners' other venture—Bluebeard.
534 Virginia Avenue