Last night, I went to Daniel for dinner. It was my third time there. The first time (about 2 1/2 yrs ago), I went with two other diners. We were seated at a great table and had a wonderful meal (tasting menu with wine pairings). Approx. one year later, I went back with the same group. We had liked our table so much that, when making the reservation, we asked if we could sit there again. They had the info in their computer and said it would not be a problem. Again, we had a great meal, sitting at that table.
When I called Daniel a month ago to make the reservation for last night, I again mentioned the table. The response: "Oh yes. That is table __. It won't be a problem." But, when we were seated last night, the hostess veered away from our table (which I noticed was taken) and put us in a far corner of the room. We sat, and as the hostess left, I quietly told her that I was surprised that we did not get the other table. She knew exactly the table I was talking about and responded that (1) the restaurant DOES NOT guarantee particular tables and (2) NEVER seats parties of three at that particular table. When I explained that I had been told it would not be a problem, she said that the restaurant does not do that in a way that was questioning my truthfulness. Deciding not to ruin the meal by getting in a huff, I dropped it. The meal was very good (not amazing) and the service was not great. The waiter was not adequately familiar with the extensive wine list and did not call in the sommelier for help.
This morning, I called Daniel. I spoke to a reservationist. I began by saying that we had had a great meal but that the table issue was concerning to me, not so much because I didn't get the table I wanted but because of the way it was handled. The reservationist sighed into the phone and began making the same arguments as the hostess. (So much so that I asked if she was the person who had seated me!) She then curtly asked, "So what do you want me to do about it?" I said I had called because I thought the restaurant would want to know about this issue. She put me on hold, and I ended up leaving a message for the general manager, who has not yet called me back.
Daniel is a four-star restaurant (according to the NY Times, at least) and is known for its service in particular. My first two experiences there were so great that this was an utter disappointment. A meal like that is a real investment. The argumentative attitudes are what really has gotten to me. I look forward to hearing from the general manager.