191 7th Ave, New York, NY
Review by Runt Ekwesh
Niel Simon, the playwright, once said there were two universal rules ... the first one, we forgot ... but the second was that everyone loves Italian food. He did not, however, stipulate who would make that Italian food ...
A large group of about 20 I was out with recently had a reservation at Sette on 7th Ave between 21st and 22nd street in Manhattan. The reservation was for the late evening, but even so there was still a reasonable crowd there. About half were being barflies.
The staff were friendly and we were seated promptly. The quickly brought out foccacia, olives and a crumbled well-aged cheddar cheese. With a nice red wine, this was a great start ... alas, it went downhill from there.
The menu we were given was a "short" with only three to four appetizers and the same for entrées. I am not sure if this was their normal menu or an abbreviated one just for us. I got a mescalin salad as an appetizer which was nice, not overdressed, and I ordered a braised lamb shank as an entrée ... what I got was lamb chops. It was put in front of me without a word. When I questioned the waiter on this, I was told, "We ran out of shanks, so you got this." Verbatim!
Language barrier? Or cranky waiter ..? You decide. Either way, the chops were served rare. So rare, that they were only seared on one side. I was not the only one who got a messed-up order. Seemed about a third of us had a variety of mix-ups.
Maybe due to being so late, the staff were tired and not paying as much attention as they should have, but that's no excuse to piss off a large party. At $45 apiece, that's $900 ... do you want to not be tipped on $900? At the standard 15%, that's $135; in Manhattan, a 20% standard means $180. Which they didn't get.
It's sad that a good start could be negated by poor service and a cranky attitude paired with poor cooking, and on the whole it left me with a negative feeling about this place.
Sorry Neil, you should have been more specific about the Italian food everyone purportedly loves, because I would like to have that instead of what I had at Sette!
Images from www.settenyc.com
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