We have gone to Grille 3501 for a very long time. We have previously enjoyed the quieter dining, excellent meals, and stellar service. Unfortunately, our recent experience was sorely lacking.
The plus side: the food was excellent for the most part. We had appetizers and...a main course. My order of pork belly was nicely accompanied by kimchee and pickled cucumbers -- the "meat" part was a bit dry. Chicken dumplings were pretty good -- the sauce was stellar. Duck breast was excellent, and the salmon was nicely cooked.
The downside: when arranging for reservations online, NOWHERE did it mention that we would not be seated in the inside dining area. Upon being seated in the outdoor area, I asked the host why we couldn't be seated in the main, indoor section. "It's closed," was his reply.
We were in the "arena," as I guess it's called. It was extremely crowded at the outside bar, exceptionally noisy, full of three drunk women hitting on a man about 20 years younger. We could barely speak to one another. Loud music.
I asked the server if the indoor seating was closed for a reason: her answer -- "they must be full...or there isn't staff to wait on people there." The indoor area wasn't full -- it was closed. I completely GET that finding staff in restaurants is challenging these days. However, if the only option is seating outside, that should be made clear on the booking website. Other restaurants do that.
The server asked my husband for his drink order and left -- she walked off & never asked ME about an order, even though I had the wine list open in front of me. When the bartender brought out his Manhattan ($18 each!!), I told him that she never had asked for my order, and he very nicely brought my glass of wine immediately.
Our server was OK, but as a former server in a restaurant, I was trained to check back on my tables with every course. She did not. I know her name but will refrain from posting it here.
We haven't tipped 15% in a restaurant in decades -- it is usually closer to 25% or more. We could not justify more than 15% for this server's inattention to details.
Again, the food was good overall. The ambiance has completely changed. We had hoped for a relatively quiet dinner at a more upscale place. Had we wanted to eat in a bar venue, we would have chosen that. It will be quite a while before we return.
Two appetizers, two main courses, two Manhattans, and two glasses of wine = $157 before tip.More