After hearing about how good this place was from others, I got an opportunity to go as part of a birthday celebration for my boss. To be fair, it was a day that I knew I would only be getting a green salad for lunch. The restaurant was fairly empty and since it was 1 pm in the middle of DC, I found that rather unusual. Plus it was a beautiful sunny day, so everyone was out walking around.
We sat at a huge table and the server took our drink order and poured water. We were a large group and ordered a variety of things, cesar salads, lasagna, penne and meatballs, a steak sub and garden and Carmine's salads.
They brought some bread, which they kept refilling as well as refilling the water. It took a little while to get the salads. I ordered a garden salad, which was served on a huge oval plate and consisted of some romaine lettuce, mostly the stem parts and an overwhelming amount of watercress that looked like it had just been retrieved from someone's back yard after the rabbits left. It was dirty and holey with thick stems. Although the server told me there was supposed to be cheese in the salad, there was none. There were a few olives and a large roma tomato sliced in half, lots of radishes. The dressing was supposed to be a balsamic vinaigrette, but it was a yellowish creamy color and tasted nothing like balsamic. I can't have milk or cream, so I asked for something not creamy - my only alternative was oil and vinegar.
The salad was terrible, the lettuce was old and other than the stems, not particularly crisp.
One of my colleagues ordered a chicken cesar salad. Even though others at our table got cesar salads, she never got hers. Instead when the entrees were brought out, she got a small dish with three small pieces of grilled chicken breast - no cesar salad. The server didn't seem to question this. My colleague asked to have the salad taken off the bill and just ate the chicken. The others got their giant portions of pasta and seemed to be satisfied, although it took at least 30 minutes before those dishes were delivered to us.
No one ever asked any of us whether we wanted refills on our iced teas.
It was one of the worst dining experiences I have ever had. The food was terrible and the service was poor. Nothing could make me return there for any reason.
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