Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lunella Ristorante in New York: A Review

If you've never been to Lunella Ristorante in New York's Little Italy, consider yourself truly blessed. That restaurant is a complete disaster. The food it serves is not really Italian. It might have stood on the same shelf in the refrigerator with real Italian food but that's as close as it ever got to anything Italian. The service is abysmally poor.

I ordered seafood risotto. Ordering risotto is the best way to figure out if a restaurant is worth visiting again. I have ordered all kinds of risotto at a variety of restaurants across the continent. Some are good, some are bad, some are indifferent. Lunella's risotto, however, is not a risotto at all. It's rice with seafood. It isn't a bad plate of rice, mind you, but it should not be called risotto when that isn't what it is.

Now, I wouldn't bitch about a plate of food that was far from spectacular if that were the only thing that's wrong with Lunella. However, the service at that place was so horrible that I still feel traumatized. When we received the handwritten bill that wasn't easy at all to decipher, we discovered that a 22% tip had already been included. This is a very strange practice that we hadn't been warned about at any point during the bill. Many people pay the restaurant bill without reading it in detail (especially a handwritten bill that is difficult to understand). Just imagine how many people just paid the amount requested and then left a tip on top of that.

When we asked the waiter why the restaurant was doing this, he became extremely aggressive. First, he insisted that this was a common practice in New York, which is a patent lie. Then, when we disagreed (very politely, I might add), he screeched, "I don't give a fuck!" and threw the bill at us. This wasn't a matter of money for us because we were going to leave a good tip initially but such attitude was simply shocking. The manager came up and refused to acknowledge that the conduct of the waiter who yells profanity at polite customers might not have been entirely appropriate. The waiter, in the meanwhile, was lurking in the background, banging food trays, and showing his discontent in every imaginable way. Since I left my country 12,5 years ago, I haven't witnessed such naked and unjustified displays of aggression  from complete strangers. Even the criminal who mugged me several years ago was less scary than this waiter. Which is not that surprising, given that he is, in all probability, a compatriot of mine.

So my advice: whatever you do, avoid the horrible Lunella restaurant in New York at all costs.

No comments: