Whew, I’m glad last night was over. We had a surprise dinner party planned for a friend’s 40th birthday party. We settled on the location as recommended by those on this site. La Viola BYOB was the definite choice to host our party of 15. I called a couple weeks ago for availability and to book the reservation. I was referred to their new restaurant across the street that would be more than willing to accommodate our large party. I spoke with a gentleman, who I presume was the owner. I requested Friday night at 8pm. He hesitated....then took a long pause and said, “How about 9pm?” I said, “No, we would like the reservation for 8pm.” He said, “Possibly 8:30pm?” I said no again and was adamant about having that time for our reservation. I hung up the phone, content that I had a place booked, though had a feeling it wasn’t going to go as I planned.
I called again a week later to confirm the reservation, this time speaking to a woman. I confirmed the number of 15 and the time for 8pm. Again, there was another attempt to talk me out of the 8pm reservation. I explained that it was for a surprise party and that we would like the table ready.
Yesterday, 4 hours before the reservation, I called again, spoke to the same gentleman who booked the reservation, and confirmed our party and time.
With the uneasiness of the reservation, I decided to have our party meet at 7:00pm at the Brasserie Perrier, with the birthday girl coming at 7:30. Our plan was now to surprise her there and then head over to the restaurant.
Everything went as planned at the Brasserie. One person did not show up, so we were down to 14. Everyone was on time, so at 7:45, my boyfriend and I left and went to La Viola, leaving the entire party waiting at the Brasserie. We got there and the hostess said our table would be ready and asked where the rest of our party was. I told her they were right around the corner waiting for our call....no sense in having their tiny foyer overflowing with people. So she told me that we wouldn’t be seated until everyone was there. I called my friends and the party promptly shifted to La Viola........where there was no table to be found.
We waited and waited, very impatiently, with the hostess saying 5 more minutes, 5 more minutes. Finally at 8:45 my friend asked to speak to the owner or manager. The gentleman came up, apologized for the wait and then proceeded in telling me that whoever took the reservations over the phone, made a mistake. Funny thing is, I know it was him that actually took the reservation, since I recognized his accent. Honestly, from that point on, I don’t know how they did it, but within 5 minutes we were seated. I think they asked diners who were seated too long that they had to leave.
Now for the table......try fitting 14 people at a table that only sat 12. There weren’t enough seats! No seats....and they had no room to move another table to seat us. My boyfriend and I crammed in at the end, sharing about 15 inches of the table space. At this point, I couldn’t even tell you about the food. I was too irate and worried my plate was going to fall into my lap, since I was delicately balancing it on the edge of the table.
Now, please know, I realize BYOB’s are not always ideal for larger parties though do not commit to a party size that you can’t handle. The owner again apologized and said they can’t really do large parties.....funny thing, as I went to the bathroom and there was a party of 20 and another party of 12 in the back room.
What I am so angry about is that I called 3 times to confirm this reservation....3 times!!!!! What time did we get seated? 9pm....9pm! Exactly the time THEY wanted to seat us. So if you think dining out is all about the consumer, think again.
Will I go back? I doubt it. I am really upset with the place. They knew exactly what they were doing when I booked this reservation and they knew exactly what time they were planning on seating us. To me that is just inconsiderate, rude and greedy as a restaurant owner.