18 May 2011

Disappointing return to Nick & Eddie’s, Mpls.

We probably should have just left.

When we showed up at Nick & Eddie’s for our 8 p.m. reservation on a Saturday night, the host apologized and said our table wasn’t ready. There were some large groups that were not clearing as quickly as they anticipated. He offered us a complementary cocktail. So that helped.

While the host was cordial and accommodating, the bartender was strangely surly. That should have been our first clue.

The wait wasn’t really that long, maybe 20 minutes. We were offered a booth by the window in the bar. My wife really would have preferred to be in the dining room. But we took it.

A server swished by and dropped off a menu. We didn’t see him again for 20 minutes. The combination of inattentive service and a crush of people around the bar lead us to ask if we could be reseated in the dining room. The host (still trying to be accommodating) found us a table – in the back near the restroom and the back door. Now, instead of having a crowd hovering over our table, we felt like we were outcasts.

A new server greeted us and we ordered an appetizer. But while we were sitting there, feeling forlorn and disconnected from the rest of the crowd, we decided we just didn’t want to eat back there. My wife went back to the host who offered us our booth in the bar. This is where we should have left. Instead, we took it.

We didn’t want the same neglectful server from earlier. Our new server said that she’d take care of us. She did, and she was ok. But we still were frustrated by frightfully slow service.

Our appetizer arrived – fried pirogis. We decided to place our dinner order. Great, except … our server regretfully informed us that were were out of a few things. That turned out to be nearly half of the dinner items. Basically, the only dinner items available were chicken dishes. My wife really wanted a burger, and they weren’t out of that. I ended up ordering a Caesar salad and an appetizer-size pizza.

It took a long time for our meals to come out. But when they did arrive, the food really was pretty good. My wife really liked her burger. I thought the dressing on the Caesar had too much anchovy. (I like anchovies on my Caesar. But this dressing had an overpowering anchovy flavor.) But my pizza was very unusual. It had smoked mozzarella cheese and nice slices of ripe tomato. The cheese and tomato were over a layer of tapenade. Very unusual and very tasty.

Our first visit to Nick & Eddie’s was shortly after it opened. It was pretty good. I gave it a favorable review (click here to read it). But I can’t recommend it after this Saturday’s experience.

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