We had an unpleasant experience at The House last night, and we would appreciate some feedback/opinions.
We had an early reservation (6:30) for five for a birthday dinner. The place was fairly empty, but the hostess snapped at one of the staff because our table wasn't ready. After some time we were allowed to sit down and we got a very personable waiter. First of all, the food was very good. However, although the waiter appeared to be trying very hard, there were very long gaps between courses. Moreover, entrees were delivered one at a time, and at different times (more than 5 minutes apart!), making some diners food get cold while waiting for others to get served. No apologies were given. In one case, rare rather than medium-rare lamb was delivered to the table. Just when the diner started to dig into the plate, a waiter ran over and grabbed it from him and said that it belonged to another table. One desert that was ordered was forgotten, and we were overcharged for a bottle of wine. When the overcharge was brought to the attention of the hostess, her response was unprofessional and more than a little curt.
The big surprise came with the check - a 20% service charge had been added to the bottom of the check. I should say scribbled on the bottom and easy to miss - only one in our party caught it. Let me point out that this was for a party of five, and no warning was on the menu.
I have seen a service charge automatically added for larger groups (e.g., 7 or more), but it is always stated on the menu. We normally leave a very good tip, and the bill before the tip was close to $300 for the five of us. But this rubbed us the wrong way. When we were leaving we met the owner at the door and questioned him about the practice. He said that "they needed to do this because they are a small restaurant". Needless to say, this left a bad taste in our collective mouths, and we won't be going back. Again, the food was very good, and the waiter appeared to be trying hard to make us happy. However, there are many restaurants in town where one can dine in style for $60.00 per person without having to put up with such tacky behavior. What do you think?