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As for the restaurant’s setting, it has deficiencies that were more easily ignored during its earlier incarnation as an apple-cheeked locavore. But Corner Table 2.0 is aiming higher than its Spartan environment might otherwise suggest. Problems are more noticeable.
While there’s little to stimulate the visual senses, the auditory ones can suffer. Blame it on an ear-assaulting alchemy of tight quarters and acoustically unforgiving surfaces. It’s an all-too-common scenario: a vicious circle where the chatter from an overzealous foursome can drown out the surrounding conversations, forcing everyone seated nearby to raise their voices to compensate until a not-so-dull roar ensues.
One night the volume was so harsh that I distracted myself by making a game out of it, crafting as many polite euphemisms as possible for “What did you say?” Imagine my mood.
It’s not that the Rancones aren’t trying. In fact, if their highly personal, we’re-always-here level of service had a default setting, it would be Above and Beyond.
Exuding calm and sincerity, they both infuse their dining room with a level of grace and passion that remains, unfortunately, something of a rarity in this town. If they weren’t already so busy, the couple could probably have a lucrative side business teaching Front of House 101.
In the meantime, here’s hoping they can do something — anything — about the noise. The world needs to savor that risotto in relative peace.
Follow Rick Nelson on Twitter: @RickNelsonStrib