Friday, June 7, 2013

Bread & Chocolate Food Review

The Big Breakfast

I've had a go at all four main locations for Bread & Chocolate (I won't count the upcoming satellite at the Torpedo Factory, just blocks down from their King Street mainstay.) Almost always, I walk away happy and content (I love their Caprese Panini) but tonight was something different... something awful.

For starters, I arrived after the dinner rush (at 7:30) and had the whole place to myself, save for a couple of diners at the window. The hostess greeted me and told me to sit anywhere I liked (this was my first mistake.) I grabbed a small table along the wall (and next to B&C's "bar" area.) My server (who I could barely understand) addressed me from across the room, and began to take my order... from about 30 feet away! I asked him to come closer, and told him what I wanted (I didn't need a menu.)

It's never too late for breakfast (or so I thought.) I ordered B&C's The Big Breakfast (three eggs scrambled, two pieces each of turkey bacon and turkey sausage, with an Artisan Bread Basket) for the reasonable price of $9. I was served the bread a few minutes later, but had barely buttered the first piece when my breakfast/dinner arrived. Imagine my further disappointment when I noticed the "microwave juice" on the bacon... I'm guessing my entire dinner was nuked (except for the days old fruit pieces.)

Artisan Bread Basket

Unluckily for me, the poorness of my meal would be the least of my problems this evening. That's because the hostess chose to sit literally inches away from me, to chat with her friend at the "bar." I have no problem with having a chat, but do you have to pick a spot next to the lone customer in the dining room? For the next 15 minutes (I hurried through my meal, just to get away from this conversation) I had to listen to...

•  Host's mom broke a vase in her Florida home earlier in the day.
•  Host "needs an outlet for her creativity." Ditto for her friend.
•  Host hates expository writing. Ditto for her friend.
•  Host had to turn away a 20-year-old customer who wanted alcohol the other night... then complained in detail about some "old lady." That's a nice way to talk about your customers, isn't it?
•  Host and friend then spent the next 10 minutes talking about this "great opportunity" to learn stuff on a 7th grade level. I'd tell you more; but it was so boring...

Said host broke away a couple of times to tell a customer that they were out of Napoleons, and to educate a new set of diners that some wine was made by her Mom (of broken vase fame, I'm assuming.) Meanwhile, she seemed to miss the fact that my soda needed refilling (ditto for my server) even though she was sitting right next to me. To her credit, she offered to clear my plate... not for the 5+ minutes it sat ready in front of me, but rather after I asked the server for my check. Coincidentally, that's when the waiter finally asked me if I wanted a refill. I found how casually bad the service was, to be shocking.

And the food? Sorry for going on and on off subject (but when in Rome...) As you can imagine, microwaved breakfast is pretty awful. The bacon was curled and over-nuked. Eggs were dry and had zero taste. Turkey sausage never tasted so blah. I ate the single strawberry on the side, but stayed clear of the fruit cup. The bread was OK, but I think the butter came straight out of the freezer. Brr.

I broke my cardinal rule of tipping less than $5 for dining in, ponying up just $2.95 for my $12.05 bill. Sometimes, it is the server's fault. I can handle bad food and even service... but coupled with the incessant chit chat, I've chosen to cross this Bread & Chocolate off my list permanently.