Water Works Dining Review

This past Tuesday night we celebrated my fiancé’s birthday with another couple at The Water Works. I called that morning for reservations, and it was a little tighter than I expected. The only open times were 5:30 or 8:30. Since we didn’t want to contend with rush hour, we chose 8:30.

When we arrived there was a quick moment of panic, we noticed a few patrons leaving in jackets and the men wondered if they were required. Of course not. It’s fancy, sure, but not that fancy. We chose to sit outside and were given a very nice table with a beautiful view of the river, boathouse row and the gazebo. Small torches were lit along the railing and the just-after sunset temperature perfect.

happy birthday beignetsPerfect also describes the service. Our waiter, Jamal, was absolutely exceptional and employed elements of classic french service. The runners who brought out dishes, however, were often confused and never knew what dish belonged to what customer. Fortunately we were not a picky group and laughed it off.

We split a bottle of the Pinot Nero, a very light italian red which went well with our seafood appetizers. I had the oyster trio, and it was amazing, especially the last one, an oyster shooter. One of the oysters also included my first taste of dodoni feta cheese. Delicious. My friend instructed me to smell the concoction before drinking-eating it for the full effect. The tartare duo was also very well received and the grilled octopus the perfect texture.

The men in the group chose the filet mignon entrées and were very happy with them. A warning for those who are sensitive to rareness, though: even the medium was pink in the middle. I feasted on the rack of lamb, which I ordered “extremely rare. As rare as you’re legally allowed to serve.” The Water Works did an exceptional job, which is rare (ha!). The lamb was barely warm in the middle, exactly how I like it. The only disappointment here was the accompanying goat cheese pillow. It didn’t have much cheese in it and did not go very well with the mint sauce on the plate.

We had dessert, of course, as this was a birthday celebration. The ginger creme brulée was the favorite among the creme brulée trio. I had the very tasty chocolate truffle cake with dulce de leche ice cream and creme fraiche. The best dessert, however, went to the birthday boy: chocolate beignets with smoked chocolate ice cream. They even took the time to write “Happy Birthday” on the plate in chocolate sauce.

It was around this time, then, that our experience began to disappoint. While our waiter was exceptional throughout the entire experience, somewhere around dessert other staff came out to the terrace and began to break down tables and stack chairs. One even knocked over two large pillar candles. This was unacceptably inappropriate and very much disturbed us and the diners left on the terrace. The manager came out and told them to stop, but they ignored him.

It was unfortunate for such a wonderful meal and experience to end on this note. Despite this, I strongly recommend The Water Works, especially for a special occasion or romantic dining. We definitely plan to return when budgets allow.

2 Comments so far

  1. Joe S (unregistered) on August 18th, 2007 @ 8:52 am

    So glad you went there. We gave it a look over when it first opened but have not found reason to visit. Hoping to at least have a glass of wine and appetizer when Autumn slips in.

    As far as the help starting to clean-up etc. I would be extremely pissed and would want satisfaction. This seems to be happening to late diners more often. If the establshment cannot deliver the experience for which you are paying they should close earlier.

    It is totally ignorant, unprofessional, ill- mannered, (please feel free to add to the list) to be cleaning while guests are still dining.

  2. Sherri W. (unregistered) on August 18th, 2007 @ 11:24 pm

    The waitstaff actually ignored their own restaurant manager? Did they still have jobs the next day?

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