Last Saturday night we were invited out by our very dear friends for dinner at Palma on Cornelia Street in the West Village. Our friends have excellent taste in restaurants so in no way did I question their choice.
When we arrived we also realized that it was directly across from one of my absolute favorite restaurants in NYC, Po, once owned by Chef Mario Batali. I have been going there literally since I was a kid. Their white bean bruschetta is a dish I have been trying to recreate for 10 years. I have never been able to get it quite right.
We had a 9:45 pm reservation and we were joined by our friends at 9:50 pm. Don’t blame them - they are Persian. They operate on a completely different time frame than most people.
At 9:50 another group of 4 arrived in popped collars and J.Crew skirts. They told the hostess “we have a 10:00 pm reservation.” My husband and I kept our eye on them, noticing the arrogant, entitled attitude of people who did not deem themselves worthy of waiting for a table like us mere common folk.
And lo and behold, when a 4 top opened up, the UES preppy foursome was seated by the hostess, while the same hostess came over and told us a manager would come see us shortly. Um, what!?
When the manager came over he said we would be seated in about 5 minutes. Ok, not much to complain about. But when 10 minutes passed without being seated (oh yeah, shocked), we were all a little annoyed.
I asked the hostess, “excuse me - why was that other party of 4 seated before us when they had a 10:00 pm reservation?” To which she replied, “oh, I don’t know - they must have spoken with a different hostess.”
What do I look like, bitch - an idiot?! They spoke to you. Thanks for lying to me.
In the end, the meal was entirely mediocre, so much so that when they brought over my husband’s pasta dish, which had bread baked right over the top, they admitted it wasn’t right, but didn’t ever offer to bring another. Between so-so food and the lying hostess, well you can bet I will not be going back.
But really what I want to say about this is: while a foursome of UES prepsters may give you a good tip tonight, a bunch of food-blogging fat kids like me will keep coming back and tell their friends and maybe tweet, instgram and blog - whether good or bad.
So thanks Palma - I will be sticking with Po, where the food is always plentiful, the waitstaff always helpful and the reservations are respected.
My other favorite NYC Italian pick - Celeste on the UWS. Cash only, super affordable price for NYC and always satisfying. You WILL wait awhile for a table there, but it’s all part of the charm. If Gian Garlo the manager recommends a dish, listen to him and try it.
And don’t bother with Palma, unless you make sure you look like you just stepped off your yacht.