It would have been a four-dot visit, but the service really disappointed.
First, the good news: the food itself met our expectations. The menu includes mostly small but some large plates, with lots of variety and ambitious but not overly fussy combinations, all priced right -- not cheap but right where they should be for this kind of inventive and grown-up food. Same for the cocktails and wines - all reasonable and lots of excellent options. Three of us shared a dozen fine oysters and a “greens” plate to start, followed by a delicious grilled whole fish and five small plates. We shared two tasty desserts, a good bottle of wine, cocktails -- $200 including tip. All in all, it’d have been a very fair price for the meal. BUT....
BUT here’s the bad news: good service really makes the meal, and here the service let us way, way down.
* We were barely inside the door when the man at the desk said, “Reservation? “Name?” No greeting, no welcome, no let me take your coats, glad to have you. Felt brusque and cold.
* We’d finish a course and our used plates would sit there for a long time as wait staff walked back and forth past our table, oblivious, so we had to repeatedly ask wait staff to remove our used, empty dishes.
* Waiters seemed to be rushed throughout the two hours we were there, creating a kind of frantic air. Maybe okay for a bar or bistro but not for what’s supposed to be a fine dining restaurant.
* Dishes were just kind of plopped onto our table instead of being graciously put before us.
* The oysters came with a lovely tray of four accompaniments, but our waiter neglected to describe them. Sure, the menu had listed them, but by the time they came, who remembered what the menu said?! So we guessed that this one was pineapple, that one was cocktail sauce, that one looked like lemon juice...
* Dishes came with not one piece of service flatware, so we had to use our own used, dirty forks, knives and spoons to take our portions from the shared plates - nothing to cut and serve the fish, nothing to spoon out the mac and cheese, etc.
* The time that elapsed between the arrival of our small plates was way too long. We enjoy a relaxed meal and we know the standard small plates drill: things come out in whatever order the kitchen prepares them. But anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes elapsed between each of our first few small plates, and our large-plate grilled fish was nowhere in sight until almost an hour had passed since our first course, making not for a pleasant, relaxed dining experience but rather for one that signaled a haphazard, disorganized kitchen.
* As we finished the last few bites of our dessert, the waiter brought the check. Didn’t ask if we wanted anything else (more coffee? a cordial? one of the nifty-sounding ports on the menu?).
Too bad. Moro occupies the space that years ago housed the ground-breaking The Silk Purse, Wilmington’s first real nouvelle American fine dining restaurant. We’d hoped that Moro continued the tradition but last night it sure did not.
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