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Great Food, Bad Service

There is an seafood restaurant in my neighborhood with excellent food and ambiance. However, the service is cold and unfriendly...as if they don't want you there.

Would you go back?

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  1. Tons of Chinese restaurant in NYC with these characteristics. Yet, we keep going back.

    1 Reply
    1. re: RCC

      I agree with this. When I go eat chinese food, I want good, cheap and fresh. When "good" service is factored in like Shun Lee (in NYC), I find the price not worth it.

    2. How many times have you been? Have you spoken to management about the seemingly unfriendly service?

      If you've been several times, had several different waitstaff treat you poorly, and have spoken to mgmt. about the attitude of the staff - then no, I probably wouldn't go back. To me, service is part of an enjoyable dinner.

      1. i think it also depends on how expensive the restaurant is. i put up with poor service at inexpensive places; great food at a low price sometimes involves rude service. par for the course.

        on the other hand, i think if it's a nicer restaurant (my criteria: cloth v. paper napkins), then part of the higher prices should pay for polite service, if not good service. the higher the prices, the better the service should be. if i'm not worth their courtesy, then i can't see going back.

        1 Reply
        1. re: artemis

          I agree with Artemis....the nicer the restaurant, the higher my expectations for better service in addition to good food.

        2. It was the second time there. I'm going to send the restaurant a note that they should hire help with personality and when you walk in, you should not wonder what to do because there is no host or hostess.
          I eat out frequently and almost every place I go is friendly. A waitress should know that their tip increases with their helpfulness. Fortunately for them, I give a decent tip even if the service sucks...which I shouldn't do.
          Chinese restaurants can be a different matter since the help may not speak much English. But if you smile at me and give me water...that's good enough. But I stay away from those type of places (usually in Flushing) since they are usually interested in serving only Chinese families anyway.
          Lots of great Asian restaurants with friendly, English speaking help anyway...so no need to go to those other type of places.

          1. Only if it's inexpensive and I am in a patient mood; otherwise, good food does not cure bad service when you need good service.

            1. If the service is that bad, tell the manager. Write a letter! Send an email. Call the restaurant.
              And if the food is that good, just get the food to go.

              1. I definitely would not go back - dining out is a "total package" experience for me. I love to cook at home, so I usually don't go out for the food per se, but for the food and the luxury of having someone else prepare it and bring it to me. So, all of that experience has to be good (atmosphere is important, too, but less so at the hole-in-the-wall level).

                1. the op stated it was cold and unfriendly. although it is always a better experience when you bond with the service and tip accordingly, if the food is good and the service is cold, it is a better situation than the reverse. enjoy the food and tip accordingly, that's what the tipping process is for. if you want better ambience do a take-out.

                  1. On the other hand, this is interesting to think about:
                    What is it that makes us allow ourselves to suck up poor treatment at a particular restaurant, where as we would demand to speak to the manager at another? Price, atmosphere, whether the restaurant is "ethnic," or not are all things I can think of that might change the way a customer reacts to being treated rudely/coldly.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: linlinchan

                      Now that you mention it, there's one Chinese place I love where the waitresses are very brusque - but it's a hole-in-the-wall, and very busy, with zero "ambiance," so that's one place I definitely am going to purely for the food. And you just know that any complaint to the manager about the service would be greeted with amazed disbelief.

                    2. What if it's the chef that has the known attitude?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Katie Nell

                        Dining out is definitely broader than what shows up on the place, so we can agree that the people & the vibe do affect the experience.

                        Still, I'm trying to remember the last time I met the chef during my meal, or witnessed any cooking drama from my dining room vantage point. Aside from the last time I set my own kitchen on fire, there hasn't been much to recount.

                        The restaurant's kitchen may be a full-blown Gordon Ramsey reenactment but if I can't see or hear that then it lands in the "reputation" column without making a jot on my "experience" list. If a tree falls in a forest....

                        1. re: KTFoley

                          Well, to be more specific, I'm talking about a chef I've encountered on the boards before... very nasty attitude, not necessarily with me, but with everyone. (Cussing, vulgar, insulting, you name it!) He supposedly has a restaurant with wonderful food, but I know has confronted people before in his restaurant. So, do you go anyway?

                          1. re: Katie Nell

                            Hmmm. For me, this isn't really a food question. It's a human behavior question. I don't go in for the "confront people in the dining room" scene. Even when food is art, it's not guerrilla theater.

                            Humankind has yet to come up with a better predictor of future behavior than past performance. And even though the venue changes from internet to in-yer-restaurant, both are still public venues. It's hard to envision how someone would adopt a consistent view of the acceptable way to treat others in one environment and choose a totally different view in the next.

                            So -- without having encountered the person you have in mind and so without making any pronouncement on that individual's posting behavior -- I would not put myself in the path of nasty behavior if I had reason to think it would occur. Life's too short. I'll take my money elsewhere.

                            The answer might be different for those who don't let the pursuit of good chow take a back seat to the experience of sharing a meal with others. Put me in the same "culinary loser" camp as PaulF, below.

                      2. Since there is no shortage of restaurants with excellent food and good service, I tend not to go back to the places with excellent food and poor service.

                        I'm nuts about stuff like this. I can think of a few restaurants (Real Food Daily in Santa Monica is one example) where I went from being a regular to never going back because of rude treatment.

                        I understand that I'm the culinary loser -- but for some reason I just can't hand my money over to someone who treats me like crap.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: PaulF

                          "I understand that I'm the culinary loser -- but for some reason I just can't hand my money over to someone who treats me like crap."

                          I'm with you 100%. I can't understand the view of some that the food is all that matters. I wouldn't take rude treatment from a friend, let alone someone who I am paying for their service.

                        2. There is a class of older restaurants that I love going to, usually a steakhouse, where the service is less than cheerful but it's part of the atmosphere - these are the types of places that feature old man waiters wearing red coats who have worked there for 50 years and are like part of the furniture.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: wontonton

                            Agree with that sentiment completely!