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HORRIBLE experience @ Bar Crudo

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DavidB Aug 31, 2006 04:59 PM

I know many people really like bar crudo and I did as well on my first visit when it just opened, but Please hear me out.

Knowing how few seats are available and the tremendous demand, especially after Bauer's review and the restaurant being on the Chronicle's top 100, I made a reservation about 3-4 weeks in advance for Wednesday evening, August 30th. It was for a party of 6 people, a celebration because one of my good friend's was coming to visit and it had been about a year since I had seen her. When I arrived, I found out that the person who had written down the reservation put it for the wrong day. This was extremely frustrating. But knowing that a mistake had been made by their staff, they still failed to correct the mistake in any manner. They did not offer us a chance to come in, sit or stand and grab a drink at the bar and remedy the situation. They simply told us that we could get drinks next door and when enough seats were available they'd grab us, which could be in over 1 and half hours.

Personally, I've never had this happen before. No restaurant I've ever eaten at has ever messed up my reservation. I feel that perhaps since the popularity of Bar Crudo has expanded that service and hospitality has possibly dropped quite a bit. I'm not sure if I'm being unreasonable. I'd like to hear any input though.

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  1. Windy RE: DavidB Aug 31, 2006 05:15 PM

    Just to be fair, you didn't have a horrible experience, you had no experience. It also sounds like you had inflated expectations. I was at Bar Crudo the month after the Chron review, and there were plenty of seats on a weeknight. The food was okay, not exceptional (as has been reported here pretty consistently). And service has always been slow.

    They screwed up your reservation. It sounds--human. Restaurants do that all the time. This isn't to excuse how they dealt with it or didn't deal with. No need to patronize them again.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Windy
      Ruth Lafler RE: Windy Aug 31, 2006 06:40 PM

      I agree. I think the lesson to be learned is that when it's really essential to you that your reservation be honored, you should call and confirm the day before. I'm not excusing them for the poor way they handled it, but once the mistake had been made, there was not much they could do to keep your evening from being ruined.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler
        Morton the Mousse RE: Ruth Lafler Aug 31, 2006 07:03 PM

        Agreed. I always confirm my reservations. If it's for something really important, like a friend or family member visiting, I confirm twice. Reservationists make mistakes. Although Crudo's staff handled this situation poorly, when you're booked full there is not a whole lot you can do to fix an error.

        1. re: Morton the Mousse
          psb RE: Morton the Mousse Sep 1, 2006 02:22 AM

          >Agreed. I always confirm my reservations. If it's for
          >something really important,
          >
          See the seminal paper on "Dining out and the Rule in
          Hadley against Baxendale."

          [although I have a feeling if they boned things and
          you call, a place with bad attitude will just find
          it earlier to blow you off over the phone then when
          you are there, with the potential to escalate to
          management, to vocally expres s your disappointment etc.]

          1. re: psb
            Windy RE: psb Sep 1, 2006 04:11 PM

            I don't know--that implies that the person who made the booking over the phone is the one who has to deal with you in person, which seems unlikely.

            Of course you could also use Open Table, where you get an e-mail confirmation. I always thought it was a hassle that places that are hard to get into want me to call and reconfirm, but it's preferable to them losing my reservation.

    2. Atomica RE: DavidB Aug 31, 2006 05:24 PM

      Did they apologize? I would be disappointed too. They made a mistake, but I do understand how such a thing can sometimes happen. If there simply wasn't room, I don't know what else they could do but apologize and make the suggestions you report. If they treated you like it was your fault, then I'd understand being really displeased.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Atomica
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        sfsand RE: Atomica Aug 31, 2006 06:38 PM

        True to that. They can't kick six existing people out of their seats. What I would've done as a restaurant manager was to appologize profusely and then served food to you next door, or made a reservation for you at another restaurant and have them take really good care of you.

        Wrong dates happen from time to time and it's impossible to tell the day of who made the mistake. It's all in how the restaurant handles it from there. I always confirm day off any important reservations I made to be sure.

        1. re: sfsand
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          djh RE: sfsand Aug 31, 2006 07:03 PM

          Exactly right -- it's not the mistake itself, but how the restaurant responds to it. And here it sounds like Bar Crudo just shrugged its shoulders and said see ya. A free round of drinks at the bar while they figured out what to do, or a profuse apology coupled with an offer to come back the next day (if possible) for some extra special treatment, would have worked wonders. Seems like maybe Bar Crudo has all the publicity and good will it needs after Bauer's annointment. Too bad.

          I think the OP has every reason to be put off. Nor would I fault him too much for not calling to confirm. The mistake lies entirely with the restaurant, and not with the customer who failed to anticipate that a mistake might be made. I've rarely had a problem with a reservation, and when they do crop up I've never been blown off in the manner described above. But hearing stories like this sure makes me appreciate Open Table even more.

      2. p
        Problem Child RE: DavidB Aug 31, 2006 09:00 PM

        I had the same experience at Limon for my birthday which happened to fall on a Friday night. We don't have a backup plan so we ended up eating at a mediocre japanese restaurant. Nonetheless, Limon is still one of my favorite restaurants in the city.

        1. Chris Rising RE: DavidB Sep 1, 2006 12:27 AM

          Bar Crudo is too small to have a party of 6 drink at their bar, and they always asks patrons waiting for a table to go next door to Tunnel Top. With 6 people at their bar, they couldn't serve walk-ins, like me, who want to order food and eat in the front.

          1. r
            reneesf RE: DavidB Sep 1, 2006 04:34 AM

            Just to tell you how differently a restaurant can handle a similar situation, I can tell you my experience at Delfina. I made reservations a long time in advance for 5 people for a Saturday night a few years ago. I was positive about the date because my daughters were going to be in town. It happened that my nephew came into town, too, so I called that day to see if I could change the reservation. They said they didn’t have any reservations for me and they didn’t have room for us. I was OK because even if they had my reservations they weren’t obligated to add a person and I hung up. But then I called back because I felt they hadn’t believed they made a mistake. I called and talked to Anne Spencer (Stoll ?). I told her I knew I had the right date because my daughters were in for my anniversary so I wouldn’t have gotten the date wrong. I told her I hadn’t called back to get them to seat us, I had an extra person anyway, but I wanted them to know that something had gone wrong. She found my reservation under the wrong day. She said she would accommodate us. We went and had a great meal and over the next year or so when Anne saw our name on the reservation list, even if she wasn’t around, she had something sent over to us.

            3 Replies
            1. re: reneesf
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              pateman RE: reneesf Sep 1, 2006 03:30 PM

              Delfina has alot more seats than Bar Crudo and they always hold a few tables for VIP's and regulars even when they say they are fully booked. but what a nice touch to send you something when you go back.

              1. re: reneesf
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                cedichou RE: reneesf Sep 3, 2006 04:00 AM

                I am always impressed at the care Delfina takes of its customers. I had a small mishap with them, nothing major, but the way they handled it was plain amazing. They more than compensated me, they converted me!

                1. re: cedichou
                  Frosty Melon RE: cedichou Sep 3, 2006 06:34 PM

                  Gotta agree on the service at Delfina. I went initially when it first opened, but Anne still remembers me by name. The staff is great.

              2. lexdevil RE: DavidB Sep 1, 2006 05:29 AM

                Chez Panisse (upstairs) messed up my reservation for 6 people at 6:00 on July 18 (they booked us for the 17th instead). When I called to see if we could add two more, they found the error, which was clearly theirs, as I'm unlikely to forget the date of my birth. We were lucky, in that it was early in the week and early in the evening, so they were able to get all 8 of us in at 5:30 on the 18th. I definitely learned the wisdom of reconfirming.

                1. d
                  DavidB RE: DavidB Sep 1, 2006 05:28 PM

                  Thanks for all of the responses. I actually called them back yesterday to cancel the reservation which was placed on the wrong day (I felt it would be rude not to do so). About 30 minutes or so after I got a call from Tim Silvera, the owner/manager of the restaurant and he apologized for the mistake and confusion. Despite my frustration, this really did actually make me feel better. He acknowledged the mistake and promised me a much better experience whenever I decide to come back. I do enjoy the food at the restaurant and I feel I might just go back in the future.

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