I had my first and last meal at Heirloom last night. The service and food were both terrible.
There were only about 7 tables occupied when we arrived so I expected the service to be stellar but it was anything but. The first bad sign was after we ordered and we kept waiting for bread to appear on our table as it had all the other tables, but it never did. After waiting for 15 or 20 minutes I finally said something to the waitress. She apologized and said the bread should have been brought as soon as we sat down. The corn muffins were good but just as they were put on the table our appetizers arrived. A guy who looked like one of the cooks came to the table with 2 plates and just stood there without saying anything until we rearranged everything on the table to make room for the oversized salad plates.
My husband had asked for sparkling water and he was given a small Coke-sized bottle of Saratoga. He drinks a lot of water so when the waitress asked if he wanted more I asked if there was a larger bottle and she said yes. The obvious seemed lost on her - why wasn't he given the choice to begin with? During the entire evening my water glass was only filled twice.
For an appetizer I ordered risotto with morels. It came with melted taleggio cheese on top and was served with charred kale. The dish was terrible except for the morels. The risotto was chewy and undercooked (not al dente) and the kale was so tough it should have only been used as garnish. A proper risotto should be creamy and it should spread out on the plate; it shouldn't sit like a lump of paste. Maybe they used the wrong kind of rice. I don't know but it was not good and there were too many competing flavors. When the waitress asked what was wrong with my dish I told her that I had just ordered wrong. She nevertheless went to the manager and the next thing we knew the manager was at our table asking us what we didn't like about the food. She offered to make something else for me (which was very nice) but we had already waited so long and I prefer to eat at the same time as my husband so I declined her offer.
There was another long wait before our entrees arrived.
I ordered the guinea hen and it was unlike any I have ever had. It had very little meat and was cut into 4 very small pieces. Only the 2 smallest pieces were edible with a knife and fork. The larger of the small pieces were the joined legs and thighs and they were all bone. I heard the lady next to us express the same frustration at its being impossible to eat. It was served with fingerling potatoes and they were fine but it was not a filling nor satisfying meal.
My husband had a green salad and the Creole short rib daube. He said the salad was okay but he thought the texture of the undercooked green beans were out of place with the rest of the salad ingredients. I had the same experience with undercooked vegetables at Mica. I think it's a local trend that I'm not fond of. All he said about the daube was that it was weird. I noticed it had strips of red and green bell pepper (the Creole part?) and there was a tart with a round disc of sweet potato on top. His complaint was that the flavors on the plate did not go well together.
We were going to finish the meal with dessert. We figured we had come this far so we might as well go the distance and see if there were any redeeming qualities in the last course, but that was not to be. The waitress kept brushing past us without ever once looking our way. It was obvious we were done as we had pushed our plates away and were sitting with our hands folded in our laps, trying to have a conversation, hoping to catch her eye. We had already been there for 1 1/2 hours.
Finally, after waiting at least 15 minutes, when our waitress brought tea and coffee to the table beside us and started shuffling away without even glancing our way I flagged her down with a loud "Excuse me!" I was pretty aggravated by then. When she turned around, looking surprised, I asked if we could have the check. Then she walked over and had the audacity to say "But don't you want to see the dessert menu?!" As my husband said on the drive home, "When you're about to get slapped, you don't lean into it." I kind of lost it at that point. I told her we had indeed planned to have dessert but the service had been so inadequate and the food so mediocre that we had decided not to stay around for the cherry on top! She apologized and then of course went to the manager.
The manager wanted to comp both our meals but I declined. After all, we did choose to go there and there's never a guarantee that you're going to like someone's food. She was persistent and after a lot of back and forth she comped my meal and insisted on giving us a gift card, although I told her I was sure we would never be back.
I think the manager was sincere and I was glad she took the time to try and make amends, but in situations like this the best thing a restaurant can do for me is to do better in the future. They can train their staff and make sure that no diner is ever treated that way again, and they can make sure they are serving quality food.
Was this an off night or have others had a similar experience at this restaurant?