Monday, March 9, 2009

Le Pain Quotidien - Eastern Market Location - Review

So I have been to this place a bunch of times, with very mixed results.

On a weekday, it is a wonderful place to sit and read (although I agree with previous reviews- they really need blinds or curtains, the sun is scalding, and now that its getting warmer, its downright uncomfortable in there).

The food is top-notch- best muffins around, unlike anything I have had elsewhere. Avacado tartine was wonderful, and I am crazy for the apple cider. I like that the menu has the caloric values listed....keeps me from going too crazy :-)

The service though.....unbelievably awful. On a normal weekday, its pretty average, no complaints. But I went this past weekend, and it was prob the worst experience I have ever had. Ironic, since I thought the place it replaced, Bread and Chocolate, won that award for Eastern Market. Seems I was sadly mistaken.

We wanted to sit outside- they only have 10 tables or so out there. There was a sign to wait for the hostess to seat you (an nowhere to wait, which is annoying when it gets crowded on a weekend). We couldn't find anything that looked like a hostess, and the other door (front) had the same sort of chaos going on. We finally asked someone, and they just said to find a table on our own. Which was even more chaotic, but eventually, we waited out a table, chased off the other people who were about waiting (it was hard to see who was first, since there was no line or place to wait together, so people were scattered), and sat. And sat. We waited 25 min, and then I got up and got a menu myself. We waited 15 more min, and I asked a passing waitress (they have not making eye contact down pat, it was impossible to flag someone) if we had a waitress. She responded, visibly annoyed at me 'arugh, I'll tell someone inside'. A neighboring table overheard, laughed, and said that it took them 45 min to get served, don't hold our breath. Another table that sat down after us had similarly given up and retrieved menus themselves. We waited another 10 min, and no waitstaff came to our table, so I went inside. I spoke to who I think was the manager at the take-out counter, and asked if we could just order at the counter and eat outside, since we hadn't seen a waiter. He agreed, and I think yelled at someone who was supposed to be serving outside, but that's unclear. I asked for the muffin I had been craving, and of course, they were out of it. At that point, I was done. We left, having spent an hour there, and never having even been offered menus, much less food.

A shame, since when its not crowded, the food is excellent, and the service good. But I think they really need to work out some sort of system on weekends. I don't think I will be back.

Le Pain Quotidien on Urbanspoon


Cancemini4 said...

I've been wanting to try this place out--too bad about the service. Maybe the location opening soon in Clarendon will be better? I was lucky enough to try out one of the locations in Paris and it seems like one of their basic concepts--sharing a common table with strangers--may have been lost in translation.

Anonymous said...

I went on a weekend, and had no problem. I seated myself and was given a menu almost immediately. As for the sun, if you just ask, they will lower the blinds for you. I enjoyed the sunshine. Service was excellent. Waitstaff came by to check and make sure I was OK. I felt pampered. The food was excellent. I got the mushroom omelet, and asked if they could add a little gruyere, and that was no problem. Excellent breakfast!