Horrible! One of the most irritating, obnoxious dining experiences I’ve ever had.
Four of us arrived for dinner and first ordered cocktails. Upon asking the bartender if there was a happy hour, he replied that cocktails are $6 all the time, so it’s “always happy hour.” Anticipating an eternal happy hour, we were taken aback when the drinks arrived in munchkin-sized glasses. The drinks were good, but for $6, this was no bargain and it certainly didn’t qualify as happy hour. Our second round of drinks took twenty minutes to arrive—understandable if it’s busy, but we were the only customers there, so this made no sense. It was also strange that the bartender stood gazing at his reflection in the window and adjusting his hair as we decided on our drinks.
We ordered the pate appetizer and were shocked when it arrived with only four tiny pieces of bread. When we later asked for more bread, we were told it would cost $2 for four more pieces! With a name like Rye, you would think they’d at least be generous with the bread, but this came across as downright miserly. In addition, since this is a “new” restaurant, you would think they would be trying to woo return service by not skimping on simple things like bread. We were told by our waitress that one of the pates listed on the menu was not available, but this was because they rotated different pates. Well that’s fine, but it would be helpful to state this on the menu for the customer. We were looking forward to having the chicken liver pate only to learn that it wasn’t available. The pates that they did serve turned out to be mediocre and nothing to write home about.
We also ordered a bottle of wine, which we waited twenty minutes for. After the waitress opened it and poured a tasting, the person in our party who tasted it thought wine was off and so passed it around for other opinions. We all thought the wine tasted bad and communicated this to the waitress. Rather than offer to take it back and ask that we choose another wine, her attitude was that if you ordered and tasted it, you bought it. Why even go through the tasting ritual if you’re not going to honor the results?
Turns out, though, that the bad wine was well paired with mostly bad food. The pork chop was utterly tasteless and a disservice to the pig who gave its life only to end up in the kitchen at Rye. The side salad with mixed greens and nothing else was uninspired and boring. The chopped salad was so forgettable I can’t recall the name or toppings and only know that the person who ordered it bravely soldiered through. The lamb tagine, however, was truly outstanding, although you can’t be sure how much of that was owing to the contrast with the other sad entrees.
Worst of all, though, was the service. The person who first served us knew very little about the food and was arrogant at the same time. After serving the appetizers and wine, our server vanished and was replaced by a succession of three other servers, all of whom displayed a similar hauteur. We all began to feel that we were somehow imposing on these people. Come on, Rye, you’re in a college town where an REI vest is considered formal dress. Drop the pretense and get real. We spent $200 on bad food, bad wine, and bad service. There’s nothing like leaving a restaurant and feeling like you’ve been fleeced and flipped off.
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