This is long, but I was hoping that someone who eats out often in the city would clarify for me whether I am being oversensitive in today's restaurant climate. I don't know if anyone is even on this board anymore, but I just had to post in case someone had an opinion.
When you enter an upscale restaurant, how should you be greeted? I just want some validation about my experience last night at Mike's Bistro and about service in general. I am not just trying to skewer Mike's, but rather to learn if the bar on service is now lower and I just did not get the memo. Arranged a dinner with a good friend who lives in the city, drove in and called to let them know about an hour in advance to let them know that I would be 15 minutes late and asked if our reservation could be moved 15 minutes later, was thanked for the call and told that it would be fine. Entered exactly on time (a feat given the commute and Manhattan parking) and greeted my friend who had been waiting at the bar. Was not greeted by the hostess who was on the phone with a customer about a reservation.
I was not greeted by anyone else.
It seems, though, that the "manager" (as he was called later) was in a small room off the hostess station doing something else as was a different person that I could see through the doorway. The hostess does not acknowledge my presence as she continues on the phone. At some point, she does acknowledge the party who entered immediately after I did (one member of the party had been waiting at the bar as had my friend). Obviously, they were regular customers. She waved to them while speaking on the phone and made sure that she spoke to them and got them started before she spoke to me. I asked her later what time their reservation had been for and was told that it was the same time as mine.
When she finally gets off the phone and takes care of the other party, she does not greet me nicely or apologize for being occupied and then tells me, after a couple of minutes fumbling on the computer, that the table that is ours is occupied by a couple "who were served dessert" and would be available shortly when they are done.
I guess my issue was more with how I was or was not greeted more than the fact that my reservation was meaningless and the restaurant was not full.
It should be noted that all along, I see Mike circulating as he did all throughout our dinner. He clearly has regulars that he makes happy with his presence and charm. He did not greet me either (he was in the little room off the hostess station when I arrived) and never visited our table (again, was circulating throughout the room all through our dinner to people he clearly knows). Years ago, my husband and I experienced the very same thing. We saw him greet and sit with those he knows and not acknowledge us even though the restaurant at the time was quite empty. It did fill up last night.
One last thing, I did complain to this poorly trained hostess that the other party had been given a table immediately and was directed to the manager who could not be bothered to come out of the small room he was in to talk with me. At some point, he does emerge, but he is condescending. Very soon after his condescending back and forth with me, we are given a table. Waiter was too overbearing and not particularly friendly. He seemed to be trying, but not in a way that felt like we were taken care of. My friend is a corporate attorney at a big firm living on the Upper West Side. She eats out often. She wasn't impressed. I won't refer to the food which I have always felt was underwhelming (although Mike does chicken really well). When we left, the bartender (tall fellow, bald) said, "Goodnight." I felt, at the beginning as well, that this bartender understands service. I noticed that about him out of the corner of my eye. I actually believe that he noticed that I was not greeted.
What are your thoughts?
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