I just came from the worst restaurant night that I believe I have ever experienced.
I will start with the ending, for the first time ever, I left no tip.
To begin, I decided to celebrate my 26th birthday at Marlowe on College. I have eaten there many times before and enjoyed every time. It was a group of about fifteen people, they took my reservation a few days in advance.
A few friends were running a little late (tough to find parking on College St. now a days) and they kept pressuring me to give up a 4 seater table. After a while I relented and gave them half. We ended up having to squeeze people in due to lack of room.
From there, it took us more than 30mins to get our order taken, and something new which I have never seen before. She started to take our order, stop, go to another two tables, take their order then after a while returns.
The food was very off, not everyone was even served water. There was not enough bread for the table, we had to ask for more on more than one occasion, the brushketta (sorry for the bad spelling) was soggy and uninspired. The primavera pasta seemed to come out of a can with no veggies. One friend ordered a Pizza with green peppers. The kitchen forgot the peppers, when we sent back the pizza the decided to just put some peppers on top and warm it for two mins. then bring it out. In addition, our server never came around to check on our meals, or find out if we needed anything.
I go to complain and was promised one of the pastas and the pizza would be taken off our bill. He lied and initially only took the pasta off.
Oh, and it took us more than 30mins to get the bill. Some people who were in a rush just leaving money and going, as they could not wait any longer.
As I talk to the Manager and Owner (I am assuming) I was told that maybe I should have not brought fifteen people to their restaurant, and even made a quip that we asked for a lot of bread. It was "frustrating" for them as well. To which my reply was simply, if you don't want so many people, well don't take the reservation. There was such contempt from the owner, and last time I checked I was still the customer. I understand that it is a small restaurant, and we would have been out a lot sooner if the service was at least decent.
Well, I had one more fight with the owner on the pizza, and insisted that the imposed gratuity was removed from our bill.
After all that, the frustration mixing with average food left a very bad taste in my mouth.
I have never been told my a restaurant owner "maybe you should not have come here"
Well, that is the jist of it. I could go into more detail, but I think everyone gets the idea.
I used to love Marlowe, I will not be returning there. I caution all Chowhound the same.
Now, also I don't want people to think I am a complete shmuck. I understand a large party is difficult to handle, especially in a small restaurant. We would have been in and out by 9:30 (our reservation was at 7) if we were served and attended to. They loss of money could have been minimal, or if we really enjoyed ourselves we probably would have moved to the bar and spent the night there.
Well that is my story. I love eating out in Toronto, especially for my 26th birthday. I have never been though anything like that before.
Thank you for reading my rant!