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Unhappy Chinese New Years at Bobby Mao's (Palm Desert)

stamfoodie | Jan 29, 201707:25 AM

It being the first night of the Chinese Lunar New Year, we decided to book a table for two after an early movie. The voice on the other end seemed surprised. I gave her the information, she thanked me and was about to hang up, when I asked if she wanted a name for the reservation. She giggled. It was a harbinger of what was to come.

When we arrived at this very sleek and well appointed restaurant, a highly distracted host named Michael, couldn't find the reservation. It didn't really matter. On what is usually the busiest night in a Chinese restaurant, and Saturday night to boot, Bobby Mao's was half empty. After I told Michael we preferred patio seating, he led us to the back of the house. I repeated my request nicely, he turned on his heel and took us to the patio, plopping the menus on the table( which was bereft of tableware and napkins). I thanked him and he walked away without even a mumble of you're welcome.

After a few minutes, waiter Mauro came to take our drink order. I asked what they were doing for New Years. He grinned and replied (this is an exact quote) "We were caught by surprise, the owner forgot it was Chinese New Years." He laughed. We ordered a pair of Taos and purused what was admittedly a creative (for the Desert) Asian menu. When he returned with the beers, my wife ordered Hunan Chicken main and I asked for the Scallian pancake as a starter whcih we would share and Drunken Wontons as a main. After a few minutes, he brought her Main and my App. No silverware. Since Mauro had rushed off, I took some tableware and napkins from one of the many empty tables.

Strange, to bring an app and a main together, I thought, but I probably didn't make it clear what my intention was. We had long finished the app (which was good, but very greasy), and my wife was half way through her chicken (nothing special and underseasoned even though Mauro had assured it had heat) when I sought out the waiter for my absent main, which was not cooked to order, He brought it within minutes and hurried away before we could order another round of beer. The Wantons were good -- and if we were ever to return, I'd order again.

But we won't be back. The lack of hospitality ruined what wasn't a bad meal, probably the best Chinese in the Desert (not a high bar). A good example of how an inept Front of the House can undo the efforts of the Back of the House.

Not a happy new year at Bobby Mao's With the sparse crowd, I suspect they may not be around for another one.

Bobby Mao's Chinese Kitchen and Bar
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