January 7, 2014
Saarah and I are running out of diners in Brooklyn. This one has lousy food. That one has lousy service. The other one insists on putting pork ribs in its vegetarian salad. Very frustrating! So last Friday we tried The Bridgeview Diner in Bay Ridge. It has a view of (care to guess?) the Verrazano Bridge. Had it been called the Cesspoolview Diner I never would have gone.
We were there around 9:30 and the place was nearly empty. It is divided into two sections. One, the larger, is the dining room, with tables of all sizes and booths ringing the walls. The other side has the counter and booths, no tables. The booth side was about half full, at best, and the dining room side had three tables pushed together to accommodate a party of 10 and there was also one couple in a booth. It was nearly empty. When you walk into the diner, you are in the reception area, which is in the middle of both halves. We specifically asked for a table. I am not a small man (in the pants! Sorry, sorry, had to write it. ) and sometimes a booth is a little bit of a squeeze. One day they’ll make a comfortable booth for men like me, you’ll see. Or maybe I’ll just lose a few pounds.
Anyway, the guy in the suit (Greeter? Maître d? Receptionist? What do you call the guy who seats you in a diner?) led us to a table not two feet away. Literally. Without so much as shuffling his feet he grabbed two menus off the counter and dropped them on a table right against their Christmas tree, smack dab in the middle of the floor, in the direct line of the draft from the front doors, and in the way of anyone and everyone walking in any direction. It was a bad table.
“This is a bad table,” Saarah said. Nothing gets by her.
We asked for another and he led us into the dining room, past four or five empty tables to the back. We assumed he was leading us to the last table, so we sat down. But no! We had to get up. You see, that was a table for six. And in fact, so were all the other tables. (The tables for four or two had been pushed together for the party.) Now as I said, it was nearly empty. If we took a table for six, and a party for six entered, there were five more tables for them. And if a second party of six entered, there were four more tables for them. And if the odds were defied yet again and a mind-blowing third party of six entered, there were still three more tables they could be seated at, and if, in a cosmic coincidence on the level of Godzilla sporting a tiny chapeau leveling Tokyo, a fourth party of six entered there would be yet two tables for them. And if another entered? Still another table. But no. So, with no other tables, I sat in a slightly uncomfortable booth.
We argued a bit but to no avail. The guy in the suit was adamant that those tables had to be ready in case a large party- or this case, six of them- came in.
After we were there about ten minutes, a party of three women came in and wanted a table. The guy would not give them one. One of them, with disgust dripping from her voice, asked him if he really thought a large party would come in at that hour of night and take up all the tables.
He led them to a booth on the other side of the diner and that woman had a look on her face that said that she was about to leave but her friends talked her into staying.
By the time Saarah and I left, the large party had also left, the other couple had left, and the dining room was totally empty. If a party for 136 came in by God they were ready.
Saarah and I had already decided that we were never coming back to The Bridgeview Diner. Plus the fact that the French onion soup was really just chicken soup with cheese melted on top, and our waiter was really just a pimply busboy in an ill-fitting jacket who didn’t speak English (asking for cream cheese with my English muffin was a Herculean task) meant that they would not be getting a second chance.
Saarah and The Editor’s and Staff of Mr. Blog’s Tepid Ride give The Bridgeview Diner two thumbs down.