So, I met my friend Bina for a drink last night. She also wanted to try this new Speakeasy 21 place near where we live, but it was stupid-rammed. We went elsewhere. It was cold out, so we ducked into the nearest place. Unfortunately for us the nearest place was the Suits bar in the Trump Tower. Yes, that Trump Tower. Neither of us had been before; I’d only tried Stock, the upstairs restaurant/hooker pavilion.
So we sit down and order a glass of wine from one the lady server, who corrects my (correct) pronunciation of Bachelder. We also order a charcuterie board, which arrives a while later. It’s a very nice array of meats and mustards and vegetables flourishes, so we ask what each of the meats are just to be sure. The gentleman server tells us he doesn’t know what they are, but says he’ll find out. A little odd, but no matter. He’s back in a minute and…doesn’t really have any more information. He points at the prosciutto and tells us it’s prosciutto. He points at a different meat and says that’s also prosciutto. He points at what’s clearly chorizo and says it’s salami. And he doesn’t know what the fourth one is. (It’s salami). We figure it’s his first day and thank him anyway and he’s off. So, more than a little odd, but whatever. It’s all tasty.
At some point I finish my glass of Chardonnay and want to move on to a red. When the gentleman server returns and asks if I’d like more wine, I say I’d like a glass of the Tempranillo — I remember there being one on the by-the-glass list. No problem, says he, and he heads back to the bar. A few minutes later the lady server stops at our table and, before I even register what’s happening, pours another Bachelder Chardonnay in my glass. By the time we process what’s just happened the lady server’s moved on to another table. We wait for her to finish with them, then point out that I’d asked for a glass of Tempranillo. She’s surprised by this and begins to explain how she thinks our signals got crossed, but then stops and smartly says, “No matter, I’ll take care of it.” Great. She’s off and I’m getting thirsty from all this cured meat.
A few minutes later the gentleman server comes by and delivers my glass of wine. Except…it’s white. It’s another glass of white. To his credit, at least it’s not another Bachelder Chardonnay, but it’s sure as shit not Tempranillo. We can’t even hold it together at this point; we both start laughing. I stop the server before he gets too far, and tell him it’s still not right. I offer to point out the specific glass on the menu if he’d like, but he says he’s got it. Okay then. He walks away. Bina can’t stop laughing.
Finally, the lady server comes over — at least 10 minutes after I’d originally ordered my second glass — and with a pained “Third time’s the charm!” delivers a glass of what appears to be Tempranillo. At that point I didn’t even care; if it was red I was calling it a victory. Bina ordered another glass of exactly the same wine; she was having none of my adventure. We finished the board and ordered the bill. The lady server apologized as we split the $100 tab for our bits of meat and four glasses of wine. That’s right, four glasses –the thrice-ordered Tempranillo was not comped. I still tipped her; none of the mishegas was her fault. But I wished there was an option to delegate 100% of the tip to one server and one server only.
So, the moral of the story: never, ever set foot in the Trump Tower.
I got home from those drinks around the same time as Nellie, and we decided to get some dinner at Carisma. We’ve had great experiences both times we’ve been there, and I was hoping to wash the stink of #TrumpFail off me. Happily, Carisma came through in the clutch: our starters (shrimp pasta and burrata) and mains (steak and lamb) were amazing, the wine guru (who recognizes us now…score!) brought us a killer 2005 La Spinetta Pin Barbera/Nebbiolo, and the service was like a precision drill team. And that’s how it’s done.
Thanks for saving our evening, Carisma.
Cover photo by Derek Law, used under Creative Commons