As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I had a birthday dinner to attend – at 10 Downing. This unfortunately is a case of awkward service nearly completely ruining a perfectly tasty meal – I’m being generous with my description, because I was incredibly upset that night with our service (and I wasn’t alone). Our server was perfectly pleasant – when she’d bother to pay attention to us. We were a table of 10, so her gratuity was included… but that is never an excuse for her to just completely ignore us. It took forever for her to take our order – we were literally left alone for more than 20 minutes, even as we tried to get her attention – and when she finally came over, she offered to tell us the specials… after we’d already all studied the menu for 20 minutes. It would have been helpful to know about the specials before that, yes? And when it came time for dessert, we were ignored again (not all of us ordered from the prix fixe menu, which included dessert) – she probably could have turned our $600-700 tab into much more had she appeared more frequently to ask if we wanted more drinks, too. It took another lifetime to get our bill, by which time, I was visibly agitated. It was aggravating in the beginning when I was hungry (it wasn’t just me!), and then as the night progressed it just started grating on my nerves how blatantly we were ignored. It did appear they only had one server for the nearly-full dining room (with multiple runners and busboys), but she never apologized, she never even seemed to realize that she was ignoring us. An apology or explanation would have gone a long way with me! Ergh.
I ordered from the 3 course prix fixe menu and started off with the shrimp & grits. The grits were deliciously cheesy, and the shrimp were plump, cooked properly. I enjoyed this dish greatly – as did most of my friends who also ordered this – though I was also so hungry by the time it came out that I can’t be too sure it wasn’t just hunger talking.
My main course, pan-seared salmon with dill cream sauce atop a risotto-like bed, was delicious. Crisp-edged salmon that was perfectly tender in the center – not overcooked in the slightest – with a cream sauce fragrant with dill, I practically inhaled this dish. I considered how to recreate the dill cream sauce at home, because I really enjoyed it that much. I would totally want to eat this again – light, simple, allows the ingredients to shine. Yum!
Dessert was lemon panna cotta with roasted cherries, topped with walnuts. The panna cotta, while denser and firmer than I prefer, was lightly lemony, which I enjoyed – especially in conjunction with the crunchy walnuts and the sweet cherries. Great execution here.
I can’t comfortably recommend OR not recommend 10 Downing – the food was very good, and I didn’t hear any complaints from anyone about their dishes either – it was just a matter of being really uncomfortable with the service that makes me hesitate over returning. I truly enjoyed the food, but I absolutely hated the way we were treated – which wasn’t blatantly rude or poorly, in which case I’d have said something at the time, it was just being ignored for so long but then the server acting like nothing was wrong when she’d come over like she totally had no idea she was ignoring us. I just didn’t understand. A real shame, too, given how much I enjoyed my meal otherwise.