just returned from dinner at al di la, one of my favorite restaurants in Charleston (tonight was my 6th trip in 6 weeks) - invited my best friend and her husband, for her birthday...so it was a special occasion. Needless to say the food was good, however the service was below average at best.
Our reservations were for 7:30. After waiting more than 15 minutes for the waiter to approach the table, we ordered drinks. Waited another 10-15 minutes before our orders were taken. When the appetizers came, only 3 arrived at one time. The 4th appetizer, a salad, took an additional 10 minutes to arrive. By that time, everyone else's appetizers were cold (being well mannered women, we don't eat until everyone has their food!). Dinner progressed without much incident, although the waiter was scarce and not overly friendly.
At about 9:50 we settled our bill, and not 10 minutes later, the waiter (NOT the manager!) approached the table and asked us to leave - stating he had to seat another table and they were "getting antsy." Other tables were settling up their bills and leaving as well. The group of people waiting on the table HAD a table...in the full service bar, but still had a table.
Again, being well mannered folks, we got up and accommodated the request. However, I am dismayed at the poor service that we received, and am curious as to the protocol in this event. My sister and I have eaten at fine restaurants all over the world, and have NEVER been asked to leave a restaurant for any reason. Our only "fault" in this case was enjoying the company of our friends for a very special meal. We considered returning to the restaurant after our friends left to speak to the manager, but didn't want to make a scene or be branded as difficult customers.
Any chowhounders out there have any insight/suggestions/comments regarding this situation?