We'd been to Forepaugh's for the first time just after they'd acquired new management, but never returned. That usually means we didn't like it, but because we wanted to go somewhere near our downtown hotel for our anniversary, we decided to give it another try. Our first mistake.
From the moment we walked in, the servers, bartender and host seemed flustered, yet it didn't look overly busy. Even so, you want to project an image of calm, don't you, even when (especially if?) Rome is burning? We were told our table would be ready in a few minutes and we could wait in the bar. I never say no to a drink, but what's the point of ordering a drink and then being ushered to your table before it arrives? There's no proper waiting area, not to mention a very unattractive sight right next to the host's desk of unwashed dishes and what I think is the dumbwaiter.
Aside: who in the hell is drinking their Martinis on the freaking rocks? Please stop! Bartenders apparently need to be reminded every time I order one that I'd like it up.
Our waitress was very sweet, but she looked like she was going to cry from the get go. I'd overheard her telling another table that the food was on its way. Our appetizer of ""foie gras carbonara"" was soupy and unimpressive and skimpy on the foie gras. My Wellington, and the food in general, seemed to be salty and underseasoned at the same time: not sure how you accomplish that.
The worst was the icky side of sauteed cilantro, a veritable bed of it. Someone needs to sit the chef down and have a heart to heart. Not all of your amazing ideas are amazing. Stop the madness. Additionally, but sadly, not surprisingly, my husband's plate was missing the duck leg confit. He was already done with his meal before they could bring it out. I have to say that he is one of the slowest eaters on the planet.
On the way out, the host asked how everything was. I said it was okay, and he inquired further. I told him that a duck leg was missing from the plate, and he said, yes, that they'd removed it from the bill. I had already thanked the waitress for that, and again thanked him. Then he made the fatal error of explaining why things had gone wrong: it was prom night, these kids had shown up late, etc., etc. Frankly, they all looked out of their league from the minute we walked in.
Such a sad experience: it's such a lovely old house but the food and service is really sub par. When we go out, we really don't look for ""value,"" but in this case, the prices were not commensurate with the food at all. I really liked the description of if as Norma Desmond: faded and sad.
I'm writing this with management and the chef in mind: take a look at your competitors (WA Frost, even the St. Paul Hotel Bar and Grill) and up your game. No one can rest on their laurels for long, especially in this economy.
Pros: Pretty but fading Victorian house
Cons: Service; Food; Price