Beware of Senses
Last week, I had a friend visiting from Manhattan. He wanted to try one of Toronto's better restaurants. I chose Senses. What a mistake. We had reservations for 8:30pm. Our table was not ready when we arrived. We were told to wait in the lounge. A succession of different servers appeared periodically to apologize for the wait. Close to 45 minutes later, someone told us the party at "our" table would not be leaving any time soon. My dinner companion asked if there was another table, but the main dinning room was full. Instead, they gave us a table in a large, cavernous overflow room next to the kitchen in which there was only one other table of diners. It was impossible not to feel small and marginalized, cut off as we were from the main room. Claudio Aprile's food was good, but by the time it arrived -- we thought we had been forgotten (more apologies) -- we were hungry, grumpy, and what was supposed to be a special evening was mostly ruined. My guess as to what happened: the front of the house overbooked. They assumed the table would be gone by 8:30 -- we were told they had tickets to a show they decided to be late for, as if this was any of our business, or explained anything. Last time I checked, you either have reservations or you don't. For the excessive wait and our dashed expectations, we were offered nothing but meaningless apologies. There are several very good restaurants within a block or two of Senses. Next time, I will be going to one of them. I suggest others avoid disappointment and do the same.
Wow! I'm surprised that your experience at Senses was not up to par. I've eaten there a few times since it opened last summer and the service has always been impeccable. I find the staff to be very polite, accommodating and knowledgeable. The food is incredible and I think chef Claudio Aprile's menu is one of the best in the city. Definitely not a restaurant to be written off so quickly...
I also don't think the service/treatment was typical. However, I'm no great fan of the food. I find that technique seems more important than flavours. I've had similarly constructed dishes - but with different ingredients - on subsequent visits.
It has potential - but right now all I'm seeing are 'gimmicks' not satisfaction with the tastes.
I've never been "wowed" by the food at Senses, despite my hopes. It's very good, but much-better and more-creative can be enjoyed for the same price in the city.
And I've found service definitely depends on the particular person attending to you. The first time we were there, the waiter was aloof and snooty. But when we happened to catch the manager (not through a complaint, just by coincidence), that individual was much more down-to-earth and helpful.