So last year's Christmas dinner was a disaster: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9291...
This year we tried Peony in Oakland.
The results were very similar. The food was good -- a couple of items were very good. But it took TWO hours from the time our waitress put the order in (as shown on the ticket printout she left on our table) to get the last of our dishes.
Some tables were getting food, but other tables weren't. I would have thought maybe we were getting bad service because we aren't Chinese, except the table behind us *was* Chinese, was speaking Chinese with the staff, and still walked out after they'd sat there for over an hour with no food! We were actually getting up to walk out when our final dishes arrived.
As with last year, it seems bad planning/poor management were the problem. When we got there for our 6:30 reservation, the restaurant wasn't full. But apparently they filled up fast, because a few minutes after we were seated they opened an adjoining room that had been closed up and dark and seated all those tables within minutes. The kitchen simply was not able to keep up with dozens of orders coming in within a short period of time. Our poor waitress -- who appeared to be managing both our room and the newly opened room with the help of some bussers and food runners -- was literally running back and forth and occasionally pushed the food runners' backs hurrying them to the right tables.
I suggested that next year we order take out.