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Recent dinner at Raku - food as good as usual, but I'm not sure about the service...

janetofreno | Jan 22, 201203:43 PM

A friend was in town for a convention, and had one chance to leave the strip and see the rest of Las Vegas. She wanted something fairly light, doesn't eat much in the way of carbs and is not big on very spicy cuisines. So I decided it was a perfect excuse to revisit Raku - I figured we could eat as little (or as it turned out:-) as much as we wanted. And the food was delicious, but I must admit that there were some service issues that soured it a bit for me...especially after I had hyped the place to my friend.

For starters, when I made the reservation they told me I could have 7pm (I had asked for 7:30) but "only if you can be out in 90 minutes. We have someone else at the table at 8:30"). OK, I made the reservation at the relative last minute (24 hours in advance) so I decided to let that slide (even though I really am not fond of restaurants who play the "we need to use the table" ploy). But it WAS annoying when she repeated before I hung up: "OK, we have you at a table for two at 7pm Friday, out by 8:30" More annoying perhaps was the fact that at least two tables near us were empty the entire time we were there (slightly more than the alloted 90 minutes:-) So being that emphatic may not have been necessary.

But on to the meal. We arrived promplty at 7pm and were seated at a nice table. And proceeded to sit for some time with nothing offered but water. Just when I was thinking of asking, the waitress finally showed with our menus and took our drink order. A few minutes later she returned with a tray of sake cups so that we could choose our favorite; a nice touch that greatly impressed my friend. Unfortunately, the actual sake didn't arrive until a good 25 to 30 minutes later, after we had been served much of our food and asked about the missing drink. In fact, asking for the sake was in itself a problem.....the waitress kept walking past us and NEVER stopped to ask if we needed anything, we practically had to tackle her to get it....

But back again to the meal: the food also took some time to come out (after the sake cups). Cold dishes were first, followed by hot. Everything was delicious, as I mentioned earlier. We were both particularly taken with the crispy asparagus, the lamb chops, and a special of manila clams in broth. I had also ordered tofu in a half-and-half cold and hot-spicy order. I am not a tofu fan but at Raku it is special. My friend is not into tofu...she tried it and admitted the texture is great but only took one bite. Of course, there was plenty left. I was ok with this, because my husband was due to get back from a driving trip out of town around midnight, and I figured the leftovers would make a great "welcome home" snack for him (he loves tofu in all forms). And thus we come to the final service gaffe straw: when I unpacked the neatly wrapped package for him later that evening I discovered that only the cold tofu had made it home...even though there was MORE hot/spicy tofu left over and I specifically asked for both......I felt very badly as I had been telling my husband as I unwrapped it that he was going to LOVE the spicy stuff.....

I just didn't feel the love this trip. I love the food, but sort of felt like maybe my business wasn't all that appreciated . The table of six sitting next to us was getting a lot more solicitous service...I would hate to think it was all related to the size of the bill....I am glad no one said anything to us regarding the fact that we went over our 8:30 that probably wouldn't have happened if the service had been timely.....

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