A very lovely friend took her daughter and I to lunch at Emeril's. Last year we went there as well.
This year, not so good.
The good parts: the food was quite good and the service at the bar was consummately professional. I wish I had names to post, but that gentleman and our back waiter were on point and did a wonderful job.
However, the lady at the desk in the lobby was confused and made us feel, shall we say, less than welcome. My friend had taken the time to make a reservation, but that seemed only more confusing to this lady.
After we finished our drinks, we did a sort of cha cha cha, not knowing if any of three different people wanted us to follow them to a table.
Finally, someone in a suit appeared. I gave him my Fear Me expression and pointedly advised him that we would be seating ourselves at a nice cozy rounded booth. He looked surprised, and said something to the effect that it was a very nice table. I looked him dead in the eye and said, that is exactly why we'll be sitting there.
Not a good start.
A very sullen woman appeared and was apparently our waitress. She managed to interrupt me in mid-sentence every time she approached the table. She sent in an incorrect order of soup, so instead of the chicken/corn/tortilla soup, a pot of gumbo was poured into my bowl.
But wait, it gets better. I see her taking the back waiter aside through the glassed in wine storage thingie. If you've been there, you'll know what I mean. The huge, tiered rounded thing that the wines are stored in. She was clearly busting his a-- and giving him a hard time. He managed to continue serving us with a smile and a gracious manner, so much so that my friend's daughter made a point of walking up to him, in front of our waitress, and giving him a tip.
I had explained the whole front/back waiter scenario, as best I recall, and that he was dependent on her to tip him out at the end of her shift. We could tell by her interaction with him that he was bound to be shorted.
At no point in time did the manager ever ask how things were going. He had a rather worn out look that said hangover and he appeared to be largely ineffectual.
For a lunch that cost upwards of $150 for three, I expect that we shold be wowed. The service should be flawless and at a bare minimum, delivered politely and with an occasional smile.
Aside from thoroughly enjoying my friends and our conversation, and the food, which was good, it was shocking how poorly they run the front of the house.
And with the competition in that neck of the woods, they really need to step up or we'll be seeing their furniture and table top for sale in used restaurant equipment stores.