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AOC Restaurant - Hospitality Deficit


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AOC Restaurant - Hospitality Deficit

VV | Jul 13, 2004 11:40 AM

Just wanted to share an experience I recently had at AOC Restaurant on Bleecker Street, as to warn other Chowhounders.

I was part of a group planning a bachelorette soiree. Needing to be in the West Village, I discovered AOC and its lovely garden and made an advance reservation for 10 for the Saturday night in question. I explained that it was a special occassion and that we'd like the garden if it was good weather - a table overlooking the garden, if the weather was bad.

Three days before the party, three ladies dropped out of the plans. I called AOC, let them know about the change in number and reconfirmed that we wanted the garden if the sun was shining. The hostess said it wasn't a problem and that I didn't need to call again for another confirmation, unless the party number changed.

Saturday night arrived. The weather was gorgeous and we were looking forward to an al fresco dinner. But, we were quickly disappointed.

There was a problem with the reservation. Apparently, they didn't have a table for us in the garden.

I figured it had to be a mistake. But, no. I spoke to the manager who insisted that the restaurant NEVER takes reservations for the garden. I told her that I wouldn't have even MADE the reservation if I had been told that was the case. She wasn't sympathetic. She only had a table in the back room - a room WITHOUT air-conditioning that was sweltering hot.

This was unacceptable. I asked how long we'd have to wait at the bar to get a table in the garden. She snapped back that she would NEVER give us a table in the garden, as she wouldn't want to pull the tables for four or two together. I stared at her in disbelief. Who was this woman? She may have had a French accent, but Alain Ducasse this was not. It was a bistro in the West Village and we were a table of seven with a long-standing reservation that had planned on dropping a good deal of moolah at this dining establishment.

That was it! There was NO way that AOC was getting my hard-earned money that night, unless the bride-to-be was really taken with the joint.

Thankfully, she couldn't have agreed more when she arrived a few minutes later. A few short minutes after that I was lucky enough to secure a table for seven at Home on Cornelia Street - where everything was absolutely wonderful.

The evening was a great success which I'm happy for, but I must admit that I am still mystified by the ungracious treatment at AOC - and that the manager seemed not to care less about keeping our business. I guess they just didn't want our money. Curious if other Chowhounders have had similar experiences.


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