I asked friends for a recommendation for Xmas dinner; my friend Al said this is his and his wife's favorite restaurant. I called to make reservations, but the person who answered the phone didn't have the December calendar. She said she'd have her manager call me the following day, which he did. I made a reservation for a party of two at 6:15 on Christmas evening.
My husband and I arrived at 6:05; we were greeted immediately by the Matre'd who was very friendly. He seated us a minute later. While he was explaining the single sheet of paper which was today's menu (a prix fixe Christmas dinner on one side, a limited ala cart menu on the other side), the waiter (Jason?) showed up and started asking us questions or giving input. Both Jason and the Matre'd spoke at once; I didn't know where to look, couldn't hear either of them well. In the end, someone gave my husband a Wine Menu -- which he then gave to me.
Before I could look at it, Jason told me that they have a new Pinot Noir that is very popular, Cherry-something. He showed it to me on the menu. We were planning to spend the night in the hotel, so I ordered the bottle ($44). Jason left and the busman arrived. He gave us each a glass of water; he put a bread bowl on the table; and poured olive oil and balsamic vinegar into a dish.
Jason returned with the twist-top wine, which he poured for me to taste. I smelled it and said "Huh. This doesn't have a Pinot nose." There was nothing WRONG with the wine, so I accepted it and Jason poured.
I then asked Jason whether I should order something to go with the Lobster Ravioli. Jason suggested my husband and I split a Caesar salad, so we agreed. We also ordered our entrees at that time.
My husband passed me the bread basket -- which contained cold white bread. Before I knew it, a fourth person arrived with our Caesar salad. He placed the salad in the middle of the table, along with two large spoons, and two small plates. He did offer us freshly ground pepper, but then left us to serve the salad ourselves. WOW -- such service!
There were few croutons on the salad and almost no Parmesan cheese. The dressing was mediocre; couldn't taste even a hint of anchovy. No tableside preparation; just a mediocre Caesar salad placed in the center of our table.
My husband had a serving. I had a second serving. I noticed his water glass was empty. A young couple was seated directly in front of us. They were given a bread basket but no water and no oil/vinegar. We started watching... and waiting. They were looking around. We waited... and waited..... At least five minutes after being given a basket of bread, they were finally given olive oil and vinegar. It was another 5 minutes before they were given water at which time I waved to the bus person, trying to get him to give us water, as well.
He never looked in my direction, so we sat with my husband's water glass completely empty and mine down about 2/3. Waiters and busmen kept passing our table, but no one even looked at our water glasses. Until the Matre'd walked by. He looked right at my husband's empty water glass -- and kept on walking!
This entire time, we never saw our waiter. After pouring the wine and taking our order, he left. He never once asked us about the salad; never checked on us for wine or water; never came into my line of sight.
At some point, yet another person came and took away our salad, salad dishes, the two large serving spoons, and my fork. He missed my husband's salad fork.
I finally offered to get water myself, as I was sitting about 4 feet away from the water pitchers. My husband declined and informed me that our waiter had been having a conversation at the 'hostess stand' with the Matre'D for about 10 minutes; that it appeared they were just B.S.'ing; it didn't appear to be work related.
Eventually, my husband was able to get our busman's attention and get water. But even then, he had started to walk right past us again, and my husband had to yell a little (it was noisy) to get his attention.
We were seated between 6:05 and 6:10 PM. At 6:55 (still no food), the Matre'D stopped at our table and started to top off my wine. My glass was 40% full. Anyone who knows anything about wine, knows not to fill a red wine glass more than halfway; 1/3 of the way is best. I put my hand out to stop him, so he started to top off my husband's wine.
My husband put his hand on top of his glass and said "No. I don't want any more. I don't like the wine." The Matre'D swooped up the two wine glasses (both of which had wine in them), and the half full bottle, so quickly I'm surprised I didn't get whiplash. He said "Then I'll take this away and...." I don't remember what else he said because my husband then said that we'd been waiting for our pasta for 45 minutes. A scene was developing..... The Matre'D left and, a minute later, Jason showed up (for the first time since taking our orders) and said "I just checked on your food. It'll be out in two minutes."
I quietly told my husband that I'm not eating it; he angered the Matre'D and the waiter BEFORE they brought us our food; I'd be afraid to eat it. I told him to pay our bill and meet me outside of the restaurant. It seems our meals were brought out shortly thereafter; we did not eat them or take them with us. The Matre'D comped our bill.
When we were checking out of the hotel later, my husband ran into the young couple. They had waited so long for their food, that they comped his one beer.
There were only two buspeople for the entire restaurant and they both worked their tails off. They provided horrible service, because there should have been at least four busmen; not their fault. That is a management problem.
I noticed another reviewer said that the Matre'D and waiters hung around BS'ing with each other rather than working. That too is a management problem. My friend raves about this place, so I can't help but wonder if there is new management. If so, you need to bring back to previous manager. If not, goddess help you. This place is a real mess.
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