Thursday, January 31, 2008

Manhattans Tries to Take Me Out

Here we are before things went horribly awry. There's Laura, moi and Andy. We were dressed to the nines for this magazine event that Andy had been invited to. Surreptitiously standing before me is the drink that would be the downfall of an otherwise auspicious begining. See how preeeety? Andy really should wear more red. Laura and I are lovely in curls and velvet.

We convened, at my suggestion at Manhattans. The event was being held on the top floor of Solera (which I've some how avoided going to up until now.) I thought a little pre drink before the party was a good idea. This picture was taken just after I arrived and before my drink was served to me. The limoncello martini in front of me was Laura's, but also what I ordered. The bartender took his sweet time in bringing it to me. A lovely waitress was kind enough to take this shot.

After the moment had been properly captured I swung myself up onto the stool. There were some tempting smells wafting from the kitchen. We contemplating trying the calamari again. It was a slow night, with barely anyone else in the place. Still, I had to wait, patiently, while the bartender talked to antoher server and the bar back before he got around to mixing my drink.

When it arrived Laura suggested a toast. We raised our glasses. "To - "

She didn't get any further because as I raised my glass, the panel under the bar where my knee was leaning popped out. My leg slid out from under me, the drink spilled everywhere, all over Laura's dress, the bar and my vintage beaded clutch. I barely caught myself before slamming a cheek into the marble bar. I was so confused. What the hell just happened? I hadn't even had a sip of my cocktail yet - stone sober, how does one nearly fall off a bar stool?

Andy grabbed a bar rag and I tried to sop up what I could with napkins. I felt so terrible. The drink's super sugary rim had dissolved and everything was sticky - including Laura's velvet dress. It was all spotted. I fretted over my purse, a gift from my long gone great aunt Niecey - once wife of Cedric Adams, a very glamorous lady about town in her day. I crouched under the bar to see what had happened.

I heard Andy ask the bartender if he would replace my drink, he asked someone else, "Should I give her another limoncello martini?"


My inspection showed that the panel was a really thin piece of plywood and the rest of the bar was also made of pretty thin wood. The panel must have just come unglued. It lay on the floor, leaned back against the ice machine. I poked my head back up. Glass, sticky, half empty still sat before more. The bartender had done nothing and was completely unconcerned about what had just happend. Would asking him to wipe down the bar with a wet rag really be such a waste of his precious time? Honestly, it kind of scared me. I could envision chipping a tooth on the marble, or actually falling and banging my head on something.

The bartender (bar stander, more like it) ignored us. I said, "I can't believe I broke the bar... I don't know if you can fix it?"

"I'll fix it after you leave," was his weary reply.

What the hell was this guy's story? You've got a total of seven patrons, three of them actually at the bar and you can't be bothered? Where's my new drink? I tipped back what was left in the glass, anxious to get the hell out of Dodge. Wiped off my sticky lips and reapplied my lipstick.

We were all disappointed and angry. If this is their standard of service, they can forget it. Last time I tried to go there, the food was only so so and the service was spotty. I won't be back. There was not one thing about my entire time there that would ever convince me that it was worth the price of admission. I'd rather start a night at Rock Bottom or Palomino than have to put up with this crap. I get it if you hate your job, but would it kill you to even be human about the fact that a lady was almost felled by shoddy construction?

We bitched as we walked across the street, trailing the other four bar patrons, also fabulous, glamorous ladies headed to event. Big tips for Crabass tonight. Maybe he could take a time out and think about what he's doing in the "service" industry. Clearly, he wasn't qualified to be a bartender, ticket taker or WalMart greeter.

Luckily, once we got to the party, our night was so fabulous that I was almost able to forget the unfortunate incident. Eric soon arrived and the free wine and champagne cocktails (guava cava - how cute!) were flowing freely. There was a fashion show that was fun. It was almost like a live viewing of Project Runway, without a weepy designer to be judged. And, p.s. the male models were GORGEOUS. Oh, my heavens, what fine specimen they chose. The girls behind me were whooping. Being too cool for such things, I rooted through my bag of goodies, Oh! Neiman Marcus notebook - sweet!! "Skinny Water?" What are you trying to say?

Once the show was over, the food was laid out. There were spicy veal meatballs served over a sweet and sour slaw and empanadas crafted from slow braised short ribs, served over a sweet tomato jam and garnished with balsamic reduction and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. I think the embellishments might have been a bit much, but the food was delicious. There was also a wonderful smoked salmon dish served of celery root, julienned and mixed with mayonaise and ground pepper. The only off dish was the shrimp kabobs. They were served in little espresso cups. I pulled out the skewer and looked at Eric.

"Why would they serve only the end of the tail?"

"Don't eat that! Look, it's got a bite mark. Someone took a bite out of that."

Ew. He went back and retrived an un-chomped serving. It was disgustingly fishy.

My night was saved by my wonderful friends and our fabulosity. And, if that sample of the food was what Solera served, I've got to go back.

And, as I said, I'm never setting foot in Manhattan's again.


At 1:35 PM , Anonymous andy said...

As a gratuitous side-comment, the Drrty Martini wasn't very drrty despite my request to make it so.

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