Last fall, my friends and I decided to try a restaurant that we haven’t been to in a while. While the place was fairly busy, we were seated immediately:
We ordered appetizers: 30 minutes later, they arrived.
- 55 minutes after we finished those, the entrees arrived.
- About the time the entrees came, the manager dropped by apologizing, saying the chef had “walked out the night before, and hadn’t come back”. They comped our entire meal, including the drinks. I didn’t write anything about it on the site, because well.. it was free, and, to use an old saying, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. All in all, they covered over $200 in food and drinks.
Fast forward a few months. We have heard rumors a new chef has taken over, that the food has improved. I’ve heard of this chef before, he has a good reputation, and I thought, let’s give it another try. What we didn’t know, is we were about to embark on one of the single worst service experiences I have ever had.
In the interest of clarity, I’ll put this in list form.
- We arrive at the restaurant. It isn’t crowded, so we are seated immediately.
- We are given menus, and two of the party ordered iced tea. We order two cocktails.
- 15 minutes later, the server comes by and takes our appetizer order.
- 15 minutes later, the ice teas come and we order entrees.
- The vegetarian options are rather limited, two appetizers and one entree. Since I had ordered one of the appetizers, a vegetarian friend ordered the other one.
- 10 minutes later, the waiter comes back because he can’t remember the cocktail I ordered. He has the other cocktail with him.
- 10 minutes later, the waiter comes back and says he is out of the second appetizer. He suggests another one that has meat. We remind him that this person is a vegetarian. He looks a bit nonplussed, and I suggest to my friend that he split my appetizer. The waiter says this is a great idea, and he will put it on two plates. Er… okay.
- We ask for a refill of the ice teas, as they have been sitting empty for far too long.
- After 5 more minutes, my cocktail shows up – a hot toddy. Somehow, honey ran over the side and down the glass. Every time I pick it up, I get an annoying coating of thick honey on my fingers that doesn’t want to wipe off.
- 5 minutes later, the other appetizer comes, on one plate. That is fine, it is finger food anyway. We eat quickly to catch up to our the rest of our part. While I’m not paying attention, our vegetarian friend dips his food into the sauce. It is fish based. The waiter forgot that it was only “sort of a vegetarian dish”.
- We finish our appetizers. A different waiter shows up with another plate of the same appetizers. Everyone is very confused, and we send it back.
- After 20 more minutes, the entrees arrive. My chicken dish has been split into two, the second half is served to the person we told the waiter is a vegetarian. Everyone is confused. We explain that when we said we would split the dish, we were ordering and discussing the appetizer, not the entree. The waiter says he can start the one vegetarian entree, but by this time our vegetarian companion is rather annoyed and says forget it, he’ll just eat something when he gets home. At that point I would have ordered another sticky hot toddy, but the waiter picked up my long-empty glass and strode quickly away before I got a chance to say anything.
- Half way through the entrees, a new waiter brings out a crème brûlée and sets starts to set it on the table. We tell him we didn’t order a crème brûlée, heck, we had just gotten into our entrees. Everyone is confused. The waiter takes the brûlée away.
- Five minutes later, the brûlée is back, placed with a flourish in front of our vegetarian friend. “We didn’t want you to sit there with nothing” he says. Our companion starts eating his dessert, as we work our way through the entrees.
- Our meal is finished. After 10 minutes, the dishes are cleared. 5 minutes later the ice-tea refill shows up.
- We wait 18 minutes. The waiter is no where to be seen. Discussion begins as to whether he might have gone on break. Suddenly he shows up with dessert menus.
- We wait 13 minutes. The waiter returns, but we have decided not to risk the rest of our evening by ordering desserts. There is also the issue of making the one person who’d already had dessert sit longer while we waited god knows how long for ours. We asked for the check.
- 10 minutes later, the check arrives. We begin the wait for… change.
I know you are all going to want to know where this happened, but I’m not going to say until I get back for a few more visits and see if this was just an aberration during the management change. Look for a review in the next month or so. However, feel free to guess.
[Updated 7.09. This was Asia Cafe or something like that… on Fremont where the Lucca is now. Worst service I’ve ever had in a restaurant]