You'd think a place that made a martini this delicious would be a little more attentive in the service department. After all, crafting a good drink requires a certain--perfectionism, a little dash of panache, something different and exciting. A place like 60 West Bistro and Martini Bar  that has a martini menu featuring upwards of sixty cocktails ought to have itself together, right? NOT ON DERBY WEEKEND! Against my better judgment, a couple girlfriends and I decided to grab some dinner and cocktails at 60 West on the evening of Oaks. We were ready and willing to embrace the 60 minute wait--even with drunken ladies and gents stumbling through the place hollering at the top of their lungs and generally classing the joint up. Once we were seated, we ordered a few of the aforementioned libations--"Oatmeal Cookie" (Irish Cream, Jagermeister, Goldschlager, butterscotch and cinnamon), "A Taste of Summer" (gin, sprite, cucumer and lemon muddled), and "Bourbon Ball 8" (Maker's Mark, creme de cocoa, Godiva dark and white chocolate and hazelnut). The "Oatmeal Cookie" and "Bourbon Ball 8" were sweet and creamy, but the "Taste of Summer" tasted EXACTLY like cucumber melon lotion, and none of us could stand it.
We drank. We ate the brie cheese with jam and crackers; and the crispy calamari, both quite delicious. We waited for our food--baked chicken and scallops. We waited, and we waited, and we waited. We were not offered cokes. We were not offered more drinks, and the awful lotion martini sat beside my friend's plate untouched and unnoticed by our harried server. We waited for ONE AND A HALF HOURS before I finally got up and complained as nicely as I possibly could under the circumstances. Fifteen minutes after that we got our checks, and the apologetic manager comped our food and boxed it up as we hussled right out of there, still hungry and so frustrated we could just cry. The place was almost empty by the time we left, and the tables around us hadn't gotten any kind of good service either.
I suppose the moral of this story could be "Don't ever go anywhere on Oaks/Derby weekend" but really, let's be honest. This is Louisville, and the restaurant should have prepared with extra staff and better procedure for the influx of guests. I didn't mind the hour wait for a table--truly--it was the HOUR AND FORTY FIVE MINUTE WAIT for scallops (that take five minutes to cook properly) I minded. Was it just Derby weekend? Was it simply understaffing at an overpopulated time in our fair city? The fact remains that the only time some people will EVER visit Louisville is during this busy time--shouldn't we make a good impression? Shouldn't we strive for the same caliber of service and foodstuff we attain on a regular basis?
Either way, I will give 60 West another shot; simply to test their service and their food and that lovely martini again. Some people just don't perform well under pressure, I suppose that's true of some eateries as well.
pictures by Elizabeth Orrick