You may recall that I had asked several weeks back about Susur. I had made reservations some time ago for my girlfriend's birthday yesterday. Then I read, with alarm, some of the negative reviews on here and was wondering if I should change my surprise plans. In the end, I stuck to the plan, and here's how it went:
We arrived at 630 for our dinner reservation. Parking was plentiful on the street ($4, right on King). The restaurant from the outside looks quite special with its ornate doors and clean lines.
When we entered the restaurant, I was immediately surprised by the austere environment, and the noise. They took our coats with little fanfare, led us to our table and left. Luckily, we got one of the booths on the perimeter, so it was quiet and appropriate for our special occasion.
Question #1: I had a reservation for 630, was told that I must leave by 9, and yet the place was less than 1/4 full. They had made it sound like they could barely squeeze us in, but there were obviously lots of tables.
Some moron in a plaid shirt and tie came over and rattled off something about the tasting menu. He was difficult to understand, was reciting from memory, did not stay for questions, but left. He seeemed entirely disinterested in us, and would play a critical role in the evening to come.
Ice water was offered, and moron came back and asked if we would like a cocktail, which we did. I had the wine menu in my hands and was goingto ask him his recommendations, but at no point did anyone even ask if we wanteed wine or if we would like suggested pairings with our meal.
Question #2: Is this normal? I thought wine pairings were part of the experience? I was flabbergasted that nobody asked, and when moron came back with the cocktails, he scooped away the wine menu and never returned. There was no chance to ask him anything -- he swooped in, and left, on a regular basis with no chance for interaction.
We opted for the 5 course tasting menu (no 7 course was offered). The food was amazing. I can't recite everything we had, but it included lobster, oysters, eggplant, sablefish, etc. The dishes were beautiful and tasty and my gf and I enjoyed sharing and discussing the food. It sure would have been nice to enjoy them with different wines, but I digress...
Different waiters presented the courses throughout the evening and explained what they were. On two occasions, the waiters did not know what a particular item was and had to go back to the kitchen "to check". Whatever the stuff was -- it was all awesome.
The moron was a repeat performer. At one point, he actually took my plate away and I still had the fork in my hand and was taking a bite (it may have been the last bite, it all happened so fast). He actually took my plate away while I was still eating. We felt very rushed during the whole meal, he would appear and disappear quickly, firing new cutlery at us with lightning speed, and almost always interfering with our dinner. No word of a lie, my gf buttered his hand as she was moving to butter her roll and he swooped in with new forks for the entree. It was ridiculous.
Question #3: Who is this moron and why is he allowed to interfere with our meal like this? Why would they have someone with zero personality doing this job?
The Chef came out and visited with us and he seemed very nice and was very interested in what dishes we liked and what dishes we didn't like. He seemed genuinely interested.
The bill arrived on the table in the hands of the moron with no explanation -- he just dropped it on his way by. Two 5-course tasting menus, one martini, one Caesar, with tax and tip: $300, with Denny's service. (Actually, at Denny's someone would have said "thanks")
We had to sit down and wait in the lobby for our coats as people kept running by and didn't have time for us. Finally we got our coats. Nobody asked us how our dinner was, or thanked us for dropping what was for us a large chunk of change in their restaurant.
We left feeling dirty and used and in desparate need of a metaphorical shower. I just think that good service should be everywhere, but particularly when you drop that kind of money, you should be made to feel special. We would not go back. It was an experience and we can now say that we have been there, but I would rather spend my money where it is appreciated.
I am disappointed, not in the food (which really was great), but in the way that they made us feel.