My mood was great as we arrived at the restaurant for our 6:30 reservations. Last week, I had booked for our group of 26 and was impressed with their prompt response to my email and phone message. The person with whom I spoke came across as helpful, polite, and quite friendly.
The evening started out fine with our waiter introducing himself. We would be served by two people since our group was so large. As I sat on the terrace chatting with colleagues, I lost track of time. Turning to one of my dining companions, I asked for the time, since it seems we had been waiting a while to order. Turns out we had been waiting for an hour... no drinks, no water, no wait staff by our side. The waiters finally came back to take our orders at 7:30.
Service was frustrating throughout the evening, even though the place area was less than a quarter full on the terrace, with nobody eating inside. The waitress serving us was unsmiling and downright rude at times. When one of the diners tried to help by passing the napkins & cutlery to her neighbor, she curtly said “Don’t! That’s my job”. When she finally delivered one of the meals to another diner, the diner tried to help by reaching over her shoulder for the plate. The waitress grabbed the plate out of her way and said “Just move your knife!”
Water and bread was finally brought to our table around 8:10... dinner started arriving at 8:45, over 2 hours since we had arrived. When one of our diners received her meal (steak frites ordered done medium) the meat was solid and stiff. When she advised the waiter, he hemmed and hawed for a moment, checking out the other plates on the table, obviously hoping to trade it off with someone else.
Three people ordered the salmon, which was served burnt. No, not Cajun seared, but so burnt you lost half the flesh. All bavettes served were not even slightly warm, but instead cool to the touch and extremely well-done. One diner not being a meat eater ordered the Fettuccine Alfredo without chicken. What she was served was fettuccine that had obviously originally prepared with the chicken breast on top, as chicken shrapnel was strewn throughout her pasta. The fries, served with all the meat dishes were hard and mostly dark brown to black.
The waiters were MIA for a good portion of our meal. Dirty plates sat on our tables, long after we had finished eating, and were still there as they took our dessert order (we actually had to go into the restaurant and ask them to take our desert orders!). By this time, I was more than ready to up and leave, but many had ordered from the table d’hôte which came with dessert. A disappointed diner was told they had run out of one of the dessert she wanted, but could substitute any item off the menu. She had seen a beautiful purple sorbet- served in a tall sundae glass - being served to other tables and opted for that. What she was served, was a small ball of said sorbet sitting on a similar sundae glass, but the glass was half empty.
Four hours after arriving at this place, we finally prepared to pay the bill and leave... once again; we had to go get the waiter from inside.
Our experience at l’Ambroisie was terrible. I, as the organizer was not only extremely disappointed and angry, but also embarrassed by the whole evening.