Just got home from dinner at La Scala in Hoboken, NJ and had to comment how a fantastically prepared meal was ruined by poor service!
First, let me tell you that the atmosphere and food were very good. The tables were not too close together, and the setting was quite romantic... great for a birthday that we were celebrating.
However, too many things went wrong, perhaps we just caught them on a bad nite, but the indifference of the staff was appauling.
We never had the same waitperson attend to us... somebody different read us the specials and opened our wine (BYOB), somebody different took our order, somebody else brought out our appetizers... this continued throughout the nite, so when we wanted something we had no idea who to ask for it! As we were ordering i saw some nice pasta dishes get served to an nearby table, so i asked if they had any pastas as an appetizer (thinking maybe they'd do a 1/2 order of a main dish), but the waiter only replied, "Just what's on the menu." In my opinion, this is unacceptable, if you work here, YOU tell me what pasta dishes are offered as an appetizer (incidentally, there are NO pasta dishes listed as appetizers).
My fiance and I both ordered filet mignon... mine with gorgonzola cheese and hers with pesto. Well, when they come out they both are the same w/ gorgonzola. We ask and they had made a mistake (ok, this does happen and i understand it). I choose to eat my steak as it is now hot, but it's taken away from me. I am asked if i want mine left at the table (while it's already in the waiters hands "leaving"), i say i'd like to eat it while it's hot, unless they have some way of it not drying out. They take both away and comment that it'll only take 2 minutes. Incidentally, they leave both of our side dishes of potato and spinach at the table, which are supposed to be eaten hot as well. Well, 14 minutes later our steaks come back, mine has a lame attempt to "moisten" it by putting another laddle of sauce over it, as the original layer of sauce has already dried to leave a brown film/residue on the plate.
While we're eating, 2 of the waitstaff have tight quarters to pass thru and one accidentally knocks a lady's coat off of her chair (but doesn't realize it, nor does the owner of the coat). Well, one of the waiters sees it on the floor... and kicks it with his foot under somebody else's chair. I would not have believed it if i didn't see it with my own eyes, but i look at my fiance who saw the whole thing too, and we both just look at each other in amazement and laugh very hard (by the way, he didn't even kick it under the proper person's chair).
The dinner was really fine until we had the problem with the entrees... after that we felt that we were ignored. It wasn't even our fault, as when the check came i looked to see if the steak dishes were properly ordered on the check (it was hand written, not computerized), and they were, so it was the kitchen that messed up by misreading the waiter's handwriting. After that, our water glasses were never filled nor were our wine glasses filled when empty (they keep your BYOB bottle in an ice bucket, away from your table).
We ordered dessert, and while we're waiting for it, one of the proprieter's puts dessert menus in front of us and asks us if we want coffee. I tell him we already ordered dessert, and comment that we've had service from LOTS of different people all nite long. He just said that one of the guys was new, but didn't bother to ask how everything was or if everything was satisfactory (this would have been a good opportunity for him to do so). Perhaps he was too concerned with attending to his friends that recently arrived, and were VERY loud.
It's a shame the waitstaff spoiled the nite for us, as the food was quite good. We're undecided whether we'll go back at this point.
Incidentally, this should NOT be a factor, but from eating at restaurants all my life i know about reality and service is often proportionate to the size of the check. We each ordered an appetizer, and our entrees were the most expensive on the menu... so our bad experience can't be attributable to the waiter not having enough incentive to give us proper service.