Went last night with friends in hopes of some good bbq and a chance to catch up in a lively atmosphere. Can't say I'll be heading back any time soon.
Things started well - great smells, busy restaurant, fun music. As one of our group of four is from out of town we did have that time after sitting down where we were talking and not paying enough attention to the menu. Our server came over to ask if we were ready several times. I like we weren't forgotten, but it was several times within 10 minutes or so. Menu is short, but no sampling platter was on offer which I thought was a shame. We decided we would each order a different dish and share around to compensate. When we went to order though, we were then told that there was no cornbread or beans for side dishes, something that could have been mentioned in the numerous pre vists our server had made. When I asked if we might use a smaller salad as a side dish I was answered with a curt 'no'. Apparently they had been out all day and yet hadn't come up with a substitution or compromise. That left coleslaw, potato salad and dirty rice as sides. When I asked what the most popular dish was I got a shrug and 'pork ribs' response. There was no attempt to elaborate or offer me anything more to go by.
Just after we ordered, server came back to tell us there were beans after all and would we like him to bring two orders with the food. Of course we would.
Food came out almost instantly which was a little surprising and everything seemed warm, but not hot. Potatoes in the salad were practically crunchy, coleslaw was swimming in liquid. Beans were okay (but really, if they were out all day, where did they suddenly come from?) and dirty rice was, again, okay. Beef ribs were tender and fairly decent, the sweet and sticky pork ribs were not sticky enough though the meat was alright. Dry ribs are not my favourite, but the others found them to be 'pretty good'. Half chicken was tender but didn't distinguish itself much from Swiss Chalet - just a slightly different spice mix. I'm not deliberately being vague about flavours - they were just so devoid of obvious descriptors. The taste did not live up to the aromas.
Our server cleared dishes away from 3 of us while one was still eating. Came back a few minutes later to clear away side dishes while the 4th was still eating. It happened so fast that we couldn't stop him - the 4th said he should probably finish anyway, but it would have been nice for him to come to that conclusion without the food being whisked away.
Bill came on an American Express tray. Put out AmEx card to be told they don't take AmEx. Okaaaaay.
I realize the place is new, and perhaps they need to sort out their inventory needs, but there was no need to leave us uninformed of menu changes and no excuse to not offer a backup plan for sides or even an apology. All through the meal, the music volume was raised so that by the time we were finishing, we had to shout across a table of 4 to be heard over Johnny Cash.
I would have to hear there had been a massive improvement in taste and service before I ventured back.