I was so disappointed with my experience at Clyde's that I've registered to tell you about it. I expect to be contributing more than this -- I love talking about restaurants!
Last Sunday night, we went to Clyde's in Chinatown for my husband's birthday. We chose it because we thought they'd be able to handle our group of 10 and because of their reputation for consistency and good service. When I made my reservation, I let them know it was for a birthday party and asked if I could bring in a cake (I could, for a fee).
When we met our friends at the bar I realized that we were expecting 11 people (my fault). My husband said, "That won't be a problem -- this is Clyde's! They'll do anything for you." I told the host we might have an extra guest. He said the table would be too crowded with 11 and that they would not be able to seat all of us together. This ended up not being an issue because we had one unexpected no-show. But I was disappointed with the young host's lack of interest in my problem.
I had handed over the cake to the host, who said it would go in the fridge and that my server would be told about it.
Our orders for appetizers and entrees were taken and served in a timely fashion. But no one ever, even once, checked on us to see if everything was okay. Things weren't okay. My salad was overdressed and my husband's steak wasn't cooked to order -- but we would not have sent them back anyway. More importantly, we wanted drinks. I had to wave down the server to get a second glass of wine. Had the server been at all attentive, he probably could have sold us about 20 more drinks.
Halfway through entrees, I decided to get up and go find the server to ask him privately about the cake, to head off any problems. He hadn't heard about the cake.
Then we sat. And sat. Waited until it became awkward and I was frankly angry. Our server hadn't been within sight for more than a half hour. No one came to clear the dishes that remained on the table. My husband got up to try to find a manager. Finally the cake came. But no silverware to eat it with. The server brought plates -- but they were too small (saucers rather than dessert plates). It became a comedy. I picked up the carafe of water -- surprise! no water!
Here's the best part: The manager breezed by. He was utterly perfunctory. I explained to him that we'd waited a long time for the cake. He explained that they hadn't been able to find the cake! They'd been trying to track it down! One of our friends made a jokey comment that he'd also been waiting a long time for a beer. The manager smirked and said, "Sounds like you should be at the bar!" Then he went away.
We were dumbstruck. Did he actually say that? Yes, he did. After some moments of contemplation, my husband, who used to manage restaurants, went after the manager and explained to him that the proper response was to get our friend a beer. And apologize.
When I received the check, I saw that the four beers that our party of ten had consumed had been taken off the bill. In addition, they did not charge me the $3.50 per person corkage-type fee for serving the cake. This was fine, but we don't raise ruckus at restaurants to get items taken off the check.
We tipped 20 percent, because I felt that many things went into our crappy experience, our inattentive waiter being a part. (It's Clyde's fault that he is poorly trained.)
We and our friends have all worked or still work in the service industry. Any restaurant should be glad to have us. I didn't have any wild expectations -- I just wanted our special occasion to feel special. Instead we were treated like poop.
I conclude that Clyde's has no respect for its customers at its Chinatown location.
Where would have you told our group of 10 to go for an upscale but affordable dinner?