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Roberto's--Disappointment

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Roberto's--Disappointment

Michael | Feb 5, 2005 03:12 AM

Based on the reviews on this board, which have always been reliable in the past, I took my sister to Roberto's Restaurant in the Bronx for her birthday last week. It was a massive disappointment.

First, we had to wait almost 2 hours to be seated. That was no big deal, as I understand that they cannot seat more people than their capacity, and it was very crowded that evening.

Then we ordered and the problems started. One of our entrees was a spaghetti in a zucchini sauce. While the pasta was delicious, the sauce was watery and devoid of flavor except a very mild salty/cheesy taste. I could have bought homemade pasta from an Italian market and some Classico sauce, and it would have been about as good. Our second entree was a grilled quail and rabbit special. While the rabbit was delicious, the quail was overcooked and dried out, to the point that it lost its flavor. Very disappointing, especially considering that that dish cost $24.

Finally, and worst of all, the staff forgot to play the birthday song for my sister, even though they had done so for about a half dozen other patrons over the course of the night. I told the hostess, just after we sat down, that it was my sister's birthday, and she said she'd take care of arranging for the song to be played. My sister, being a teenager and seeing that the song was played for several other patrons, was disappointed that she could not be similarly honored.

I approached the staff about it, after we had eaten our chocolate souffle dessert (which was quite good), and I received a condescening response. I was told by the staff that "dessert is optional," and that they could not do the birthday song unless I ordered dessert. In other words, they were insinuating that I was too cheap to pay for the prerequisite to the birthday song. Maybe they were upset because we ordered only two entrees and an appetizer and some drinks to split between my sister, my girlfriend, and I, because none of us were terribly hungry and the portions are huge. I am in my mid-20s, I am a law school graduate, and I'm not used to being treated in such a condescending fashion by my bosses at work, let alone by waiters. I will never return; I believe that the size of the crowds that frequent that establishment has caused its staffers to adopt an undesirable attitude. My sister came all the way from Philadelphia so that I could take her out for dinner on her birthday. What a disappointment! I am a good cook myself, and I wish I had taken the preparation of dinner into my own hands, rather than trusting it to these pretentious jerks.

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