I finally had my streak of three years of dining without a lousy experience come to a decisive conclusion on Saturday night. The choice of going to Emilios on Clark Street was a bad move all around. The night did not start out well as we were told that we would have to wait 15 minutes for a table for three (my G/F and my sister and I). 45 minutes later we were sitting at a booth overlooking the wonderful construction sight of the Clark St project. That was going to be about as good as it gets for us. The problem would stem from a lack of execution from a lackluster and talentless kitchen and a very unprofessional manager.
It seemed to start off OK as our server was very friendly and helpful although we have dined at Emilios on many occasions being much more impressed with the Hillside location.
We started off with a potato salad, a seafood stuffed avocado, a langoustine special and the potato torte. After 10 minutes, all but the langoustine special arrived at our table and we were so hungry we started to dig in. Within a few bites, my sister noticed that the torte was a bit salty and my G/F and I agreed but we were going to give it a pass because it was not all that bad. However, the stuffed avocado suffered us a bit more as the bottom half was just black and old. That was the beginning of the downhill slope we were about to ride. I pointed this out to our server and she sent back the plate and informed us that she would comp the dish and pick up an appetizer on the house. We thought that was nice and we felt confident in our next round of dishes.
We ordered a smoked salmon, seared scallops and a grilled calamari. The salmon and the scallops arrived but we never received the langoustine special from the first round and it was going on 35 minutes since we ordered the dish. It finally came to the table and it looked good enough so I dived in and after my first bite I realized that there was so much salt caked on that mouthful that it ruined the rest of my meal. I also noticed a nice hair on the lemon wedge so this just sent the level of trust out the window!
The scallops suffered the same fate and when the calamari arrived it was so bad that I felt sorry for the poor seafood that was handled by such a novice in the kitchen. Again, I had to flag down our server to point out the inedible meal we were suffering through. I knew that she was going to try to entice us into ordering more but we were finished and we politely let her know that it was obvious that the cooks in the kitchen should be sweeping floors and not handling the food. Subsequently, I figured that her next move would have been flagging down a manager to come over and handle the situation as she was so far in the weeds that she was about to crack.
We were more than kind but we wanted to be firm in letting her understand that this was not a good meal at all. She offered to send us a few desserts but we were all very hungry and did not want to get right into a dessert. We wanted to go somewhere else so she dropped a check on our table. All service ceased on this night as they would not even clear the rest of the food or fill up our water glasses, which were promptly emptied upon being served this over salted mess. She removed the special from the check and the avocado but had the audacity to charge us for the calamari and the scallops. She never even bothered to kick in a free app like she promised to replace the avocado so there we were with a $65 bill still hungry and getting more an more aggravated.
She came back around and I declined to pay for the items we did not eat and she finally made the choice of sending around a manager. The guy was nothing short of unprofessional, arriving at our table like we were trying to pull a classless move on the restaurant. I informed him that we were not going to pay for some of the food, as it was just an unpleasant experience so he grabbed the bill and he told us that he would be back in a minute. 15 minutes later the waitress comes back and drops a new bill on us for $33. They were going to get money out of us one way or the other so we paid for this with a feeling of reluctance knowing full well that we were ripped off. The icing on the cake arrived when I dropped two twenty-dollar bills in the book and the waitress asked me if I wanted change. She was more concerned about her tip!
The manager, he never apologized to us at all and for this- I will never go back to this restaurant. One final note here was when we were talking with our waitress after I found the hair in the lemon garnish, she spilled the beans and told us that the entire kitchen staff was released and they had a new green crew of cooks struggling through the orders. I just find it insulting that I saw the chef walking around the dining room like he was Charlie Trotter or something while he had a staff in the back of the house sending out food that was just pathetic.