Thursday 26 February 2009

Amway Arena Bathroom Really Just a Cave with Lots of Urinals

Amway Arena
600 W Amelia St
Orlando, FL USA

Where is it?

This bathroom reviewed here is located near the entrance to the seats in sections 103-104 and 203-204.

So to get there, find that area via the signs pointing to them, look across the hall from them -- you'll see a large tiled divider wall (almost monolithic in size, really). Go behind that wall and you'll come across the bathrooms.

What's it like?

Orlando's main arena, home to the Orlando Magic and big concert draws, this large stadium seats around 17,000 for most basketball games and concerts. It's a pleasant enough place to enjoy such an event, though the echoes and acoustics can be a bit of a strain -- as much sound seems to get stuck in its many upper corners.

Like most arenas, it has a number of attractions, from various gift stalls selling T-shirts and other wares, to an assortment of food vendors, offering an array of fast food and such. Seats are of the plastic fold-down variety -- not too comfortable, but not as bad as other venues I've been to.

The bathrooms here are enormous, multi-person and cavernous. In fact, walking in one it really looks just like a being in a cave -- only this cave is lined with urinals along its perimeter.

And it's not as dank as the cave-like bathroom at at Pulkovo International Airport in St. Petersburg, Russia, but that's only because it's much larger than that. Still, this is very much a cave and nothing else.

Essentially, the facilities here consist of one long room. A barrage of sinks (all white porcelain, with single mirrors over them) covering both sides of the walls greets you once you step inside. Beyond that is a long single room that has dozens of urinals fixed to its left and back wall and a long row of toilet stalls along the right wall.

The urinals have no dividers between them, and black metal makes up the stall divider walls. Various posters of upcoming events hang above the urinals -- which is better than nothing, I guess. The upper walls are covered in beige tile, the lower walls with a drab gray tile. That same colored gray tile (albeit smaller) covers the floors, which is also dotted with small black tiles for highlights -- similar to what was seen at Theo's Kitchen, only on a much larger scale.

What's amusing here is that a lot of the fixtures are dated. The sink faucets, for example, are the old-fashioned turn-on variety you used to see predominantly several years back. I haven't seen faucets this antiquated since visiting the Delta Crown Room in the JFK International terminal.

Also, this is the only place I've ever seen advertisement stickers placed around the piping of the toilets -- a very strange place to place an ad, I think, since you can never really see the entire ad. So far, I've seen business cards and fliers placed in the bathroom (like at that horrid CVS Pharmacy in Savannah, GA) and I've seen printed pieces of paper taped to specific areas of the bathroom (like at the scary Goyan Gip Korean Restaurant), but I never have seen stickers wrapped around piping. First time for everything, I guess.

That aside, the place was pretty clean as a whole -- though I visited during the opening minutes of a basketball game, so few had made their way to the bathroom by then. I've made other visits while attending other events and the bathroom was far messier then. For this one, I found some trash on the floor, some spilled water and pee and some foul odors in the air, but nothing too horrible. (It's been worse on subsequent visits.)

Still, outside of the sheer size of this cave, there isn't much that's memorable here. Utilitarian at best, and best experienced early on in the game than later as it gets pretty crowded during halftime and on the way out.

Marks out of 10:

6. Really a 5, but that one visit, where I was the only person in there, really added to the experience.

Comments to the Management:

Update the fixtures and keep it cleaner when the place is being swamped -- both things I'm sure you already know, though.

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Playful NYPD Pizzeria Bathroom Looks Like NYC Police Station Office -- Very Amusing

NYPD Pizzeria
Downtown Orlando
171 S. Orange Ave.
(inside the Plaza Building)
Orlando, FL USA

Where is it?

This is a mid-sized pizzeria, square in shape. After entering, you find yourself in the back of the dining room. The kitchen, open to the dining room, sits in the far right corner, taking up approximately 1/3 of the space there.

To reach the bathroom, walk to the opposite corner of the entrance. Once there, you'll see a door marked restrooms -- it's a one-bagger that serves both men and women, and as the sign states it's for customers only.

What's it like?

Downtown Orlando is a neighborhood in flux, and place with perhaps too many personalities. The area serves as the city's business district, as well as an after-hours entertainment complex filled with various nightclubs and other hip hangouts. The housing boom of the early 2000's left the area with a number of overpriced condo buildings, many of which are still unfinished because of the current economic downturn of the city (and the country), and as such several of the neighborhood's once thriving streets and happening spots are now empty or subdued. There's still a lot to do here, mind you, but it's also a bit drab in ways as well.

The dining in the area has always been a little hit or miss, and though Downtown Orlando has seen a resurgence of decent places in the last few years, most people with a taste for good food opt for driving north or south for a few minutes for the chance at hitting something better.

This pizza chain, which originated in Orlando and has spread to other parts of the country in recent years, has been a downtown staple for more than a decade. Often, nightclubbers looking to crave some late-night munchies stop by for a slice or two before heading home for the night. The restaurant itself used to be located on Orange Avenue, downtown Orlando's main drag, but a few years back, as the neighborhood began to over-develop, it moved into its current location, in the Plaza office building (across the way, literally, from Bento Cafe), where it has become a happening lunch spot for the professionals in the area.

The pizza here is, as the name suggests, inspired by New York-style pizza. It has a thin, foldable crust, is baked crisp, has a good sauce and fresh toppings -- it's top notch pie in a city that has a lot of pizza places but few that are of note. It also offers handful of other pizzeria specials, like hoagies, pastas, salads and such. For a pizzeria, the quality is decent -- if this were in my neighborhood, I would visit regularly.

The decor looks inspired by various sports bars in the area, with mounted flat screens and various posters advertising happy hour specials and such. Service is friendly and down-to-earth and prices are reasonable.

The bathroom is a fun experience that pokes much fun at New York's tough-guy police ideal. This is a one-room chamber for both men and women. It's about eight feet by eight feet in area, with the white porcelain toilet in the back right corner, the white porcelain sink station in the front right corner and a urinal on the opposite wall.

The decor here has been set to look like an NYC police station office. The mirror has height markings, a sign along the top railing reads "Captain's Office" and there's a poster-sized mugshot of Frank Sinatra himself in the back left corner (it's what you stare at while you're on the pot -- which I guess lets you let the Chairman of the Board what you really think of his Duets albums).

While it has been made to look grungy and of the French Connection era, it's anything but. Walls are covered in brick pattern wallpaper, floors are black linoleum -- everything is spotless.

The main door, because it opens out into the main dining room, at times feels a little too flimsy of a barrier between you and the rest of the place (especially if they're restocking plates, which happens right outside and proves downright invasive) but outside of that, it's a fine place for a pit stop.

Marks out of 10:


Comments to the Management:

A fun place. Only suggest would be to make the door a little heavier or to provide a stronger sense of privacy for the person inside (through music or other means).

Tuesday 24 February 2009

Too Much Style Keeps J. Alexander's Toilet From Perfection

J. Alexander's
7335 W Sand Lake Rd
Orlando, FL USA

Where is it?

On the exact opposite end of the place from the entrance.

So to get there, you enter, cross the large dining room, passing the semi-open kitchen on the far left wall and the glass-walled wine room on the far right.

Once you reach the very back corner, you'll see a waiter station on your left (this is where the dishes coming fresh out the kitchen get their last bit of dressing for table presentation). Veer right then, walking backward even further, until you see a small cutout in the hall, very dimly lit. Once there, you'll see some ornate wooden doors, one leading to the men's room, one to the women's.

What's it like?

Style is definitely the focus at this upper-class semi-class gourmet chain. The dining room is dimly lit and filled with dark woods, dark carpet, bits of modernist art, sleek metal highlights and a hip vibe. Tables are wide and offer plenty of elbow room, and sitting here reminded me some of the warmth one feels while sitting in a ski lodge's main room (you know, with the fireplace) -- yes, it that's cozy -- only it's not as common feeling as that. Rather's it's like a sophisticated fireplace den. Pretty nice.

The menu works a similar charm, albeit at times it works a bit too hard to achieve that effect. Both the in-house smoked salmon appetizer and house chili (the soup of the day on my visit) proved to be stellar starters -- very good versions of these traditional dishes. Also impressive-looking were the onion rings, which came in a foot-tall tower; sadly, I didn't get to try those.

Sandwiches were good but at times got a little too complicated for their own good. The ahi tuna burger, for example, made a strong first impression, with its Asian marinade and toppings of pickled cabbage and carrot, among other things, but those toppings and sauces eventually gave way to pretty bland fish. The same could be said of the Hyde Park, essentially a club sandwich; it started strong (with its freshly baked bread and abundance of toppings) but again ended up revealing some bland basics.

Mains were not sampled because we were there for lunch, though I will say the house mac and cheese was very good, though entirely too rich for any one person to eat -- and if one person can eat that as a side dish, then that person needs to see his/her cardiologist soon after, since the thing was more gooey cheese than anything else in it; very good but very wrong, if you catch my drift.

Prices are medium to high, but then again this is what one would call an affordable fine dining restaurant. You can come in shorts and a T-shirt but you can also come for special occasions.

What's a real shame here is that for all the work put forth in the food, decor and service (which is also very good, with waiters hitting you from all angles at times), none of it feels very memorable. Once I was out the door, I had a hard time remembering what I'd eaten. It's all style, if you think about it, and not much substance past the immediate. Some might make the case that this is OK with them, since not all meals need to create memories, but I sense that the place is trying to reach beyond that basic connection with its customers, only that it was coming up short.

The bathrooms, of course, are very similarly minded to that. They offer plenty of sleek design touches and a few things that make you pause and smile, but at the same time they are all style and little else. And in the case of the men's room, some of that style gets in the way of practicality and proves detrimental.

This is a small, multi-person chamber. Once inside, you'll see a tightly packed multi-station sink station to your immediate left. In the back right corner are two toilet stalls, and across from them are two urinals.

The toilet stalls are in fixed-wall chambers (not the standard separator-wall-created stalls), with floor-to-ceiling doors -- very similar in spirit, but much smaller in scale, to what was seen at the wonderful Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino bathrooms. Only, of course, this place has more contemporary design on the door, whereas that place has art nouveau doors.

The toilets are white porcelain and the chambers are very private, though at the same time they are a bit dark -- reminiscent of what was seen at the stalls of the at the Musee de l'Orangie in Paris.

The urinals, also white porcelain, aren't anything special -- a standard area for those, with a nice dark wood divider between the two.

The sink is the highlight of the place. It's a trough sink made of stainless steel, with two faucets in place but only with enough room for one person to stand there comfortably. Standalone metallic soap dispenser sit alongside, with containers for heavy-duty paper towels in the corners. A large single-pane stretch mirror, which accentuates the metallic sheen on the vanity all the more, hangs behind it all.

But as said it's a tight fit here, almost uncomfortably so, and it gets even tighter when you're washing your hands there and the door opens and someone practically runs into you because the door is situated too closely to the sink.

Also, while the faucets are automatic, their progression of flow is too far back on the sink trough. As we saw in the Wynn Las Vegas bathrooms, which have set the standard for trough-styled sinks, the water sprays down against the back end of the trough, which in turn sprays waters everywhere. Something this clean-looking needs to be clean on all accounts, and all that spilled water ruins the facade. Really, if you extend the faucet out from so the water hits the back of the trough, this problem can be solved easily.

Marks out of 10:


Comments to the Management:

Stylish, sleek and sophisticated, but also a bit clumsy in parts. Not sure if you can add more space to the sink area (perhaps fitting it into another part of the bathroom, like to the right of the urinals) but something needs to be done to make it feel less tight-fitting. Even if you're alone there, it's tight. Also, extend those faucets out so the splash from them is lessened.

Friday 20 February 2009

Bathroom in Hard Rock Casino in Tampa is Swanky, But Also Soaked with Spilled Liquids

Seminole Hard Rock Casino Tampa
5223 Orient Rd
Tampa, FL USA

Where is it?

This toilet is on the west end of the complex, just a short distance away from Floyd's, the establishment's nightclub and late-night high-end dining spot. Best way to get to this restroom is to first find Floyd's, then with your back to Floyd's entrance go to your right, following the perimeter walkway of the casino.

Note: You can't see the entrance to the bathroom from the entrance to Floyd's because there is a wall of slot machines blocking your view, but if you follow the perimeter walkway in that direction, you'll see it as soon as you turn the corner.

What's it like?

This casino hotel has been around nearly 10 years (I think?) and in that time it has transformed itself from a kitschy Cracker-themed gambling hall and concert venue to something on par with some of the nicer-but-smaller venues in Las Vegas. On my first visit there, years back, I was mesmerized by a game in which you played tic tac toe against a live chicken in a box -- at a cost of $5. Nowadays, the chicken game is gone and a slick array of new Vegas-inspired slots fills the place, along with plenty of swanky rock and roll decor.

Sure, the place is based on the Hard Rock Cafe design motif, but here the memorabilia seems to play second fiddle to the many gaming options, which literally overstuff the gambling floor. Not that the decor isn't there -- there are glass cases and displays everywhere, don't get me wrong -- but it's not as noticeable when compared to the barrage of flashing lights that hits you from all angles.

Of course, in its latest incarnation, the place has more similarities to Vegas than ever before, from decent dining options to shows to table games (the first incarnation had only slots, and though the slots still outweigh the tables significantly, you can see the tables becoming more predominant in coming years).

It's also a somewhat smokey place -- but then, what casino isn't? Still, if you can put up with that, and the with the huge numbers of people who crowd the place (especially on weekends), then you should have a fine time here. Not exactly a place for the rock and roll historian to connect to his favorite classic groups (though there is plenty to see in terms of memorabilia) but still an enjoyable place to make a slow afternoon more exciting and lose some money quickly.

The bathrooms here seem to be modeled after a combination of several glam rock stars, like modern-day Steven Tyler and KISS, among others. Outside the entrance are displays containing outfits worn by various rockers (can't remember who, though, I'm afraid). Inside, the color scheme and design will have you thinking you've stepped into a dressing room of sorts -- it's a somewhat predictable design move but still its executed well enough that you give a knowing smile once you step inside.

These are large rooms, by the way, on par with what was seen in spots like Grand Central Station or the Paris Las Vegas. Once you walk in, the large vanity area (on par in size with the one seen at the Delta Crown Room in JFK's Terminal 2) will be on your left. This area has a multi-sink station vanity made of black marble and a large stretch mirror hanging behind it -- very reminiscent to the mirror area in a dressing room, if you think about it (like what's done at Bill's Elbow South, only on a grander and classier scale).

The sinks themselves are all automatic, as is the soap dispenser (which dishes out a lovely foam soap). Towels (plush but disposable) are dispensed via a countertop holder -- like what you would see in a classy restaurant like Texas de Brazil, among other places. The vanity counter has circles cut into it, in which you toss the towels through and into the trash cans below.

On the floor beneath the vanity is a set of plush zebra-striped rugs, which add to the glam factor. Over the vanity -- and around the rest of the bathroom -- is a highlight row of colorful tiles, which add a sense of class to the place and also proves reminiscent of the classy tile work found in places like Caesar's Palace and the Venetian, among others.

On the downside, the vanity was covered with spilled water -- the counter was literally drenched, which was somewhat offputting. Also, the floor was wet, as was the zebra rug (which I guess makes you understand why bathrooms rarely have rugs in them). Really, this was one of the wettest vanities I've seen since my trip to the Island of Adventure's Toon Lagoon. Not quite that horrific, but it was close in spots.

Of course, I understand that the casino was packed that day and that it's hard to police a bathroom effectively when there are tons of people floating in an out of it. The Port St. Lucie and Fort Drum service stations on the Florida Turnpike are further evidence of this -- just too much traffic to keep it consistently clean. Still, this is a hotel that aims to be high-end and those are service plazas, so you hope the managers notice the difference.

Anyway, to continue with the tour, the bathroom follows the design of Grand Central Station (and of the bathrooms experienced at the Philadelphia International Airport) some more in that it is a square room with the urinals set up along a center wall, which divides the bathroom into two parts (for the vanity and toilet stalls). Both sides of that wall have urinals on them. In the back section (and to the far left end) are rows of toilet stalls, maybe 10-15 in total.

The urinals are your standard white porcelain variety and they are separated by stainless steel dividers. The stalls themselves have white toilets and stainless steel walls. The stalls are of standard width but the ones I stepped into had plenty of pee on the seats -- not terribly bad, like what was seen at the Oxford Railway Station, or the O2, but still bad enough to think that the place needed to have an attendant posted inside during the busier times.

The floors here are marble tile, beige with black highlight tiles. The walls are covered in a similar beige marble tile, but have that aforementioned ring of colorful highlight tiles. There isn't much on the walls, but the bright lighting and items like the zebra rug offer enough decor -- heck, there's a whole casino outside, so I have to respect the designers in their choice to make the place both glammy and a place to step away from the glitz (if only a little) of the casino outside.

Marks out of 10:

8. Almost a 7 because of the spilled water and pee, but still nice enough for you to be able to look past those fallacies and see what a quality restroom this really is.

Comments to the Management:

It's a well-designed place. I think putting an attendant inside -- especially during peak traffic times -- would keep the place clean consistently, and also add a bit more class to the spot. Think about it.

Thursday 19 February 2009

Columbia Restaurant's Supper Club Decor Not Represented in Bathroom

The Columbia Restaurant
649 Front Street
Celebration, FL USA

Where is it?

From the front entrance, head through the main doors. Once you do, you'll see a gift shop directly before you, as well as a hostess station. To your left (with your back to the door) is the restaurant's bar area, which has many dark woods and tropical tiles strewn about for decor. To the far left is the main dining room -- a sprawling space reminiscent of 1950s Cuban dining and dance halls, a vast open space packed with elegant white-tablecloth-covered table, wooden walls and low lighting (no dance floor or musician stage though).

In between the gift shop and the dining room is a wood-lined hallway, which in many ways looks like an old-fashioned parlor you might find in a 1950s fine dining restaurant or supper club. Down that hallway is a phone booth (a rarity these days) as well as the entrances to bathrooms, which are near the end of the hallway.

What's it like?

This Florida institution has been serving up some of the Sunshine State's best Latino cuisine (Spanish food by way of Puerto Rico and Cuba, to be more exact) for more than 100 years. The history of the place, whose ownership has remained in the family for four or five generations, is proudly displayed on their menus, and several other places (it's part of the branding, really) and those who have spent more than a couple of years living in Florida know that it's a great place to go for Latino cuisine (especially if you live out of the Miami area).

The restaurant itself started in Ybor City in Tampa but has grown significantly in recent years (no doubt thanks to the aggressive gentrification of the state) to include multiple branches in Tampa, as well as locations in St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Clearwater and Celebration, which is the subject of this review.

I've been to the Ybor City location, which has some more ingrained character in the building itself -- things are beautiful there but also a bit antiquated and rusty, giving the place some charm. Here, while the decor is beautiful, it is also a bit too new and polished and representative of the manufactured Americana of the town around it, if you will. Still, if you're in Celebration and are looking for a good meal and don't feel like hitting the fine Celebration Town Tavern, or just want a place that's a little classier than that, then this is the stop for you.

The experience here is decidedly old-fashioned. While on my visit the waitstaff was younger than expected (including several college kids), they still treated us well and professionally. The food was well-prepared and delicious, especially the house specialty of paella, which came in an enormous portion that was packed with seafood and meats. Also delicious was the black bean soup and the red bean and chorizo soup, as well as the house salad, which comes topped in the restaurant's delicious signature dressing. (Though originally they didn't have tapas on the menu, I'm assuming the trendiness of the Spanish-inspired nosh plates are the reason they are added to the menu here.)

Really, it's a great place for a fine meal. Prices are mid-ranged but not too expensive (about $20 per person, which isn't bad considering the quality and experience) and also perfect for a special occasion or elegant night out (though because it's in Celebration, you don't necessarily have to get dolled up to come here).

Given the old-fashioned feel of the dining room, I expected the toilet experience here to be similar to what I found at Montparnasse 1900 in Paris, or at least something built off the spirit of McCormick & Schmick's -- a sort of modern interpretation of old-fashioned, if you will. Or even Angelo's on Mulberry, or Philadelphia's Davio's.

But that's not the case. Surprisingly, what I found was closer to TooJay's Deli, in that the restaurant's decor was not at all indicative of what you find in the bathroom. No old-fashioned vibe here, even though everything else in the place leads up to that experience. Instead, here you get your average Teutonic bathroom, nothing more. Bland, bland, bland. What a disappointment.

The room itself is hexagonal in shape. Two urinals sit up against the front wall, a two-sink vanity sit on the wall opposite that, and two toilet stalls sit in the corner opposite those elements. There's a wide common area in the middle.

The walls are covered in light beige tiles (similar to what was seen at the Monsoon Restaurant in London, though this is an entirely different experience, or Cavallari Gourmet). The floor is covered in that standard faux-brick tile we've seen at countless other places, like the Kolob Canyon Visitors Center in Utah, or the aforementioned Angelo's on Mulberry.

The walls have no decor on them. The fixtures are all white porcelain. The sink station looks like a larger version of what we saw at the Tamarisk Restaurant. Yawn.

In fact, outside of the fact that the room itself is hexagonal-shaped and there is a small supply closet (behind a dark wood panel built into the front wall), there isn't anything memorable in this bathroom at all. If I stepped in blindly, I doubt I would be able to tell the difference between this place and the aforementioned TooJay's Deli or any of the other dozen or so mid-sized Teutonic bathrooms I've been to since starting this site (like the Big Boy Diner, Jack in the Box, etc.)

Sure, it's clean and odor free and quiet. But after that kind of setup, you expect things to be different here. You think that a place with this kind of local esteem would go that extra mile when designing their bathroom, you know?

Marks out of 10:


Comments to the Management:

Come on, show a little life in here. The space deserves it.

Monday 16 February 2009

Avanzare's Creative Cuisine and Spirited Atmosphere Not Extended to Bathroom

1932 14th Ave.
Vero Beach FL USA

Where is it?

A little tricky to find and for many it will be best to just ask someone for help, as I got lost trying to find it on my own.

If you try to go it alone, do the following: The dining room is split into two distinct sections. When you enter, you will find yourself at the back of the right dining room. Head to the middle of that and look for a small hallway opening to your left (a kitchen station will be on the right, which will help you find this hallway; the hallway itself has several racks of wine in it).

Once there, turn left down that hallway -- this narrow passageway leads to the restaurant's other dining room.

Halfway through is a unisex bathroom. There is another bathroom at the head of the hallway, at the point where you turn into the hallway from the right dining room -- this is the bathroom visited for this review.

What's it like?

This friendly, charming Italian restaurant sits just south of downtown Vero Beach and is one of the better eateries in town -- quite an accomplishment considering how many quality places sit oceanfront.

From the outside, it looks like a typical neighborhood joint. The front windows are covered up so you can't really see inside and the glass is covered in a variety of words, hinting towards the comfort foods prepared inside ("pasta," "calzones," etc.).

Inside, the vibe takes a decidedly hipper turn. The dining room is filled with large tables, low lighting, red walls and loud conversation. It's a hectic scenario to step into, especially from the quiet street outside, but it's a fun place nonetheless. Waiters jet to and fro, people make toasts and swallow food. It's a scene that's also a comfort spot, if that makes any sense.

The food as a whole is pretty inspired and a definite cut or two above the standard Italian joint. The freshness of the ingredients, whether its freshly caught fish or in-house made sausage, really shows. On my recent visit, I had a wonderful artichoke appetizer, in which the veggie was lightly fried and matched with a fresh tomato sauce, that managed to highlight the flavors of the veggie and the sauce. Also worth noting was a fresh ricotta al forno, in which the fresh cheese was prepared in a brulee style that made it both rich, creamy and light. Likewise, a fennel crusted grouper was both meaty and complex but not over-filling, and the sausage bolognese proved to be an impressive spin on the traditional dish.

Service was good but also a bit too gregarious on the front end; and as a result there was some communication mishaps perhaps because the waitress didn't realize we weren't on her wavelength from the get-go. Our soup arrived lukewarm, even after being sent back twice for reheating, and a pasta dish came trailblazingly spicy even though we had asked it to be toned down for a member of our party that couldn't eat spicy food. Prices are good, considering the quality of food. It's just a fun place to visit, with lots of activity and good spirits, as well as some truly creative, well-prepared food.

The bathroom is a far cry from that, however. The single unit facility I visited was a narrow chamber and very long. The toilet sat in the far back corner, the sink in the middle, a urinal just beyond that, a trash can and paper towels in the front corner, behind the door. It's right at the base of that noisy, busy corridor, so you hear a lot of that while inside, which takes the privacy factor down a good notch.

The walls here are dark red in color, the floor covered in medium-sized off-white tile (smaller versions of what I've found at places like like Sharky's Shrimp Shack, Long Point Cafe and Pho 88, among others.

The walls are bare, except for a lone thickly framed stretch mirror hanging above the toilet and sink station. Of course, since the paper towels are on the opposite end of the room from the sink, getting to them is a bit of a stretch -- literally. To be honest, it's one of the worst placements I've seen of paper towel dispensers since my experiences at Bloomingdale's Orlando, which chose to put the towel dispenser in its handicap stall as far away as possible from the stall's sink.

The room itself is pretty dark -- approaching the levels of Shari Sushi, and as a result it makes the noise factor a little harder to swallow (kind of has the effect of noisy neighbors banging on walls while you're trying to sleep).

The toilet, urinal and sink are your standard white porcelain variety. The toilet seat is particularly strange as it has a plastic hair growing out of the bottom of it, which kind of pokes out at you when you've raised the seat to pee. Very unique -- most unique (unintentionally so) toilet seat I've seen since my trip to Thai Singha, to be honest.

Cleanliness-wise: It wasn't bad. Some spilled water on the floor -- no doubt because the towels were placed too far away from the sink and people had to reach for them with dribbly hands.

But at the same time, I couldn't help but be disappointed. The dining room is such a fun, boisterous environment, you kind of hope the bathroom here would follow suit -- be more like Greens and Grille, if you will, than the Ravenous Pig. The possibilities are there but the execution isn't.

Marks of out 10:

6. Really a 5, but I like the rest of the place so much that I have to give it a little more love.

Comments to the Management:

The rest of your restaurant shows lots of inspiration and personality, so why not include those same elements in your bathroom? Make it as much fun as your dining room. Add some fun decor, pipe in some music (so the outside noise isn't as detectable) -- do something other than the bare minimum. Also, it wouldn't hurt if you increased the lighting some. And moved the paper towels closer to the sink. And perhaps cut that plastic thread coming up from the bottom of the toilet seat -- it creeped me out some.