L’Express

If someone suggests that you grab a quick bite a L’Express, take the first L’Express out of there!

All the Fork can do is quote a teenager and say, ‘Oh, WOW.  Really?’  Spoon was busy stirring up trouble elsewhere, so the Fork, Absinthe Spoon and Cocktail Fork decided to get a quick bite at L’Express.

What was the worst part?  I don’t think there is a way to pick one thing more egregious than another.

The hostess stands – well, leans over on a podium just inside the door. She doesn’t smile. I am not sure she speaks.

But, really, let’s start with the NOISE! The noise, Noise, NOISE! Unbearable din. Fork has been in other places just as, if not more, crowded than L’Express with no where near the sound reverberating off everything.

Crowded…too many tables. We sat at a corner table for 4.   The cutlery that would have occupied would have been bumped into by a waiter or waitress or patron every time they passed. More likely than not, it would be one of the servers that banged into you.

Since we just touched on servers, let’s get to ours…Bobby.   He seemed to dislike us from the moment he walked over to the table.  He asked if we were ready to order, we asked for a few moments, we got a face.  He came back, leaned against the door frame, foot up against the door frame, dirty dish from someone else’s table in hand, and asked if we were ready to order.  

Absinthe Spoon ordered a burger, had a special request of salad instead of fries. Fork ordered a burger, Bobby rolled his eyes! It must have been the cheddar cheese that threw him off.  Cocktail Fork also ordered a burger, wanted fries, but wanted to make sure there was no salt on them. Bobby actually argued with him, saying there was salt in the frying OIL! It was simple, please don’t salt the fries. The answer should have been, ‘Okay, Cocktail Fork, I will make sure.’  He settled for salad instead of fries, just to be safe.

Fork ordered a Pimm’s Cup. They were out of Pimm’s. So Fork settled for a Juanito’s Pink Lemonade. Terrible. Cocktail Fork ordered a beer. Absinthe Spoon an iced tea.

Bobby, his rolling eyes, and dirty plate sauntered off to put in our order, we thought, but he returned and in rapid fire started to bark our order – which he completely forgot – at us.  He had the order completely wrong.  I am pretty sure that in the 20+ years that L’Express has been open they invented something called an order pad, try it, Bobby.

The burgers came. I must say, this was a really good burger. But it is hard to enjoy a burger when the atmosphere and service is so awful.  It was slightly less than medium, which I ordered, but not rare enough to be sent back. The burger was well seasoned, good beef, great toasted bread, nicely grilled.  The fries were thinly cut, crisp and just the right amount on the plate.

But all that was marred by our water glasses were empty, Bobby came by with a pitcher, annoyed, which seems to be his only character trait, and filled the glasses…to overflowing on the table and walked away. 

The bus boys are obsessed with taking things off the table.  I like a clear table, but nothing, and I mean NOTHING should be removed from the table while one is eating.  Ask if we are finished. Ask if someone at the table  would like another drink. But do not reach your arm across diners’ faces to grab a glass or a bottle or a plate.

We finish our delicious burgers, plates are cleared, Bobby asks if we’d like dessert, drops the dessert menus on the table and walks away.

Cocktail Fork can never pass up dessert, so we ordered the Profiteroles. They were fine, nothing spectacular. But, really, at this point, nothing would have turned this dinner around.

I couldn’t wait to pay the check and get out of there, between the noise, service, and Bobby, it was a misery.

Would I go back? NEVER. There are places with better burgers.  Heck, there are places with burgers not quite as good, but a comfortable atmosphere and good service … I would pick that over L’Express any day of the week.

By the way, the menus on the website are out of date.  It must be from the winter, if they wait long enough it will be winter again.

Want a great burger in that area, go to Stand.

L’Express . 249 Park Avenue South . NYC . 212.254.5858
L'Express on Urbanspoon

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