Cinquecento: Fighting "500" For A Table.

Earlier in the week, Bail and I realized we hadn't gotten our husbands together for dinner in a long time. With The Husband coming to town this weekend, we decided it would be the perfect time to gather the nerdy ball and chains.

Bail's husband had been wanting to try a fairly new restaurant in our neighborhood, Cinquecento, and suggested we try to get a reservation there.


It's an Italian restaurant, in a space formerly occupied by Rocca at 500 Harrison. "Cinquecento" is Italian for 500... In case you're like me and didn't realize that right away.

I was able to book a table through their website, which uses a table reservation system I had never come across before, UReserv. Booking the table through the system was as easy as it is with restaurants that use Open Table. And the restaurant called and confirmed my reservation the afternoon of our dining time, which was great. But when we got to the restaurant just before 8pm?

Not so great.

The place was packed. PACKED! Bail had already sent me a text letting me know they had checked in and were told things were "running behind." But I was overwhelmed by the packed bar and lobby area.

"This place must be really good!" I said to The Husband. Knowing he hates waiting, I was preempting his inevitable frustration with having to wait.

When I checked in with the host and hostess, they assured that it would only be "15 minutes." The Husband looked at me and said, "Yeah, that's their standard answer for this kind of thing."

But I didn't want to be a bitch right off. I thanked them. And stood close by to make sure they knew I was watching as tables popped open. While we waited, we were impressed by the agileness of some of the waitstaff with being able to navigate the packed crowd. One waitress was consistently able to lift heavy trays of food over my husband's head while wading through a sea of people.

And she did it with a smile the entire time. AWESOME SPIRIT!

We watched as the flustered hosts and hostesses kept apologizing to guests about having to wait...

"It's restaurant week. We weren't expecting this."
"Our online reservation system didn't stop taking reservations like it should have."

Twice I was told that it would be "another 15 minutes." I posted on Facebook about my annoyance...


At the 45 minute mark, the hostess assured me I was being seated next. She pointed to a table not too far off that had just gotten up from dinner.

"We're making that up for you."

I thanked her and was grateful. Then I heard the other host tell a busboy to set the table up for a party of six.

I turned to The Husband and said, "Guessing we're not getting that table either."

He was pissed. And when my husband is pissed, it's a very calm and quiet anger.

That's when we heard the host say to another guest asking how much longer it would be, "Your reservation isn't until 9:30pm. Come back up then. It should be no problem. Be grateful you didn't have an 8pm reservation."

"Yeah," chimed in The Husband, loudly. "Like us."

That's when the host realized he better get us sat soon.  And we got the table instead of the party of six.

VICTORY!

After the disaster of the management of the reservations and flow of diners coming in... Overhearing that they weren't prepared for restaurant week on the reservation side... As well as overhearing that their online reservation system failed them... I didn't have high expectations.

But I was wrong to think that. THE FOOD WAS AMAZING!!!

Despite the large volume of people, every dish came out well-timed and extremely good. The waitstaff never once were anything but friendly and full of suggestions.

This is absolutely a place I'll go back to... Probably not on a Friday night though.

My only suggestion for the place is: SWITCH TO USING OPEN TABLE!!!!

Seriously! I know UReserv is cheap, but clearly it failed you. Badly. And if you saw that there were a large number of reservations that you wouldn't be able to accomodate, YOU SHOULD HAVE CALLED AND CANCELED PEOPLE'S RESERVATIONS! Maybe offer, preemptively, to book people for another night.

Just a suggestion.