Restaurants & Bars San Francisco Bay Area Dinner

Dinner from Hell

Anne H. | | Mar 27, 2001 11:53 AM

A week ago I had a cousin drop into town, so four of us walked out to NB looking for something open. A lot of the Italian places close on Monday, but we noticed a new place about 6 weeks old was open, and I had a great dinner there a couple weeks earlier. We were asked to sit at the bar while they prepared a table. At the bar, we had a hard time getting drinks. My sister was terribly thirsty and asked right away for water. The bartender seemed to be really distracted and took our order but didn't bring anything. The bar was dirty. She could not get an opener for the glass of wine I ordered it took 15 minutes to get anything and only when I told her my sister was dying of thirst. Then she didn't bring another drink until we ordered it again. The manager who told us to wait was zooming around the room, and I could not catch the eye of the GM who knows me my sight, he too seemed to be racing around. I asked the bartender what was going on but she didn't answer.

The manager came to seat a party next to us, that I though had come after. Since we had been waiting 20 minutes while two empty 4 tops were right behind us I grabbed her and asked when we would be seated, pointing to the tables. She said she thought we were waiting for a table outside. No we just were really hungry and wanted to eat. It crossed my mind that we should consider going elsewhere, my cousin had to drive to a hotel in Fremont, my sister to San Jose, I was not feeling well and my daughter was tired. But they were ready to seat us so we sat. Then we found that we did not seem to have a waiter. We tried to flag down the passing manager but she was too fast. I asked an outside waiter what was going on, but it was his first day. The GM came over and we asked for a waiter, but he took the first part of our order, the appetizers. He said they were not prepared for so much business on a Monday. We asked for but did not get water.

We eventually were served by three or so different people, but never had anyone checking on us. We had to stand to flag down anyone, for a drink refill. The fourth time I asked for water I got the same answer, 'as soon as I can get to it'... that was the only time I got upset and told him it was 4 times were were asking. My cousin noted that the staff was in survivial mode. The place was now clearly a disaster area. Many of our dishes were brought room temperature, including the polenta. During the main course we noticed we had no bread and had to ask.

It seemed so outrageous, but no one really seemed to notice how badly we were being treated. My sister went to the toilet and there was no TP or paper towels, she came back and we laughed at the absurdity, but I had to stand in the middle of the restaurant in order to flag down the manager to get some.

We tried to remain in good humor, because there was nothing to do about it. We were stuck there about 2 1/2 hours, my daughter was falling asleep, my leg was aching and needed to be elevated. We did not order dessert, we just wanted to get out of there. Finally about 10:30, it slowed enought that one of the waiters came and told us how bad his night was, that he was working like this since 5:30. I said that I had never been treated like this in a restaurant and that it was a terrible experience. He just smiled and shrugged. No one really got it that we had an awful time, which was frustrating. I felt bad my that my cousin had this as his SF restaurant experience.

I insisted we leave no tip as that was the only way we could signal our displeasure. The others wanted to leave something, but really! Now I still feel frustrated about the entire experience. This was a place I really wanted to like, but I guess I'll never go again. I think we spent about $130. We would have spent more if we had a chance to order. I think, especially for those prices, you can't get away with stuff like this. No apology came at all. The chef/owner was not there. I think he should know about it. I wish they had just been honest and said they could not seat us. What do you think?

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