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Restaurants & Bars 2

Disaster in Malibu Canyon---Taverna Tony's (long)

rabo encendido | Feb 6, 200502:40 PM

Quickly start off by saying that I am such a glutton, such a maniac for food and drink, that I am usually quite forgiving of bad service. Following is a report of one of the more egregious examples of such I've experienced...

Party of 25 descend on this Malibu eatery for a surprise party. Guest of honor's wife had requested a corner of the restaurant to be reserved for this occasion. Things off to a shaky start when only one table for half a dozen people has been set aside. Guest of honor's family is seated, the rest of us mill about the dining room like grazing cattle, trying not to look conspicuous. Guest of honor arrives. "SURPRISE!", shouts the seated portion of the party. "Surprise"..., the rest of us mumble sheepishly.

A half hour later, a hodge-podge of tables are assembled, and we are all seated. An eternity passes before we order drinks. Waiter arrives with platter: six glasses of red wine, three beers with glasses, two martinis. Waiter looks unsure of his balance, stumbles. Glasses teeter, waiter tries to compensate. In the next instant, like slow motion, the whole shebang---torrents of alcohol, triangular wedges of shattering glass, the airborne platter---come raining down on the couple seated across from me. Screams and chaos ensue, poor waiter is frozen with horror. Drenched, merlot-colored female victim holds back tears.

Tony, the gruff and rather ornery owner of the place, comes over to negotiate compensation. In the end, suede coats and purses are promised to be dry cleaned, and the spilled drinks are comped. Pleas from the victims of "...but our clothes are completely ruined" go unanswered. Hopes for at least a comped meal for the victims go unrewarded. Some tiny shards of glass and a pool of red wine under the table go unattended, despite several requests for cleaning.

I'm not sure exactly how the establishment should have rectified this particular and rather extreme disaster, but they definitely fell short. Especially outrageous was the somewhat defensive posture Tony took during the negotiating process ("how do you know your coat is completely ruined? And how are we supposed to know the real value of your blouse and purse?")

In the interest of preventing further humiliation of the Guest of Honor and his wife (who were obviously mortified), the victims, and the rest of us, try to get on with our evening. Service remains incredibly slow and confused for the rest of the evening, despite the best efforts of our waiter to crack jokes and relieve tension.

To be fair, the food we had ( a set menu of some mezze, including the biggest dolma I've ever seen, pasticcio, baby lamb, grilled chicken and lemon) was actually very good. The place, packed to the gills with folks, many of them Greek and singing along with the live entertainment, was extremely festive, and people (other than us) seemed to be truly enjoying themselves. We were alone in our own sphere of incredibly bad luck.

Though it may be my loss to write off this place based on one exceptionally bad, and seemingly isolated incident, I won't be back. Should you dare to venture, don't leave home without your raincoat and your combative attitude...

23410 Civic Center Way,
Malibu, CA 90265
(310) 317-9667,

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