Beer Bistro Review & Tipping Question (long)
After all the great reviews on Beer Bistro that I had read I decided that I had to try it out for myself.
My boyfriend and I went for dinner at 6:30. The menu looks great with many very tempting items. Due to all the great things people say about the frites both of us decided to have the Steak and Frites. Neither of us were straving so we didn't bother with apps.
Then after ordering our steak we sat there for over an hour. The server showed up once in that hour to ask if I wanted more pop, completely ignoring my boyfriend to see if he wanted more beer. After over an hour we had the chef show up at our table to explain that there had been a mistake and our order had been lost and was never cooked. From that point on the chef served us for the rest of the evening. Bringing over two free apps, the smoked kobe beef taco's and bbq pulled pork pizza. The taco's were ok. The pizza I found to be great. The blending of flavours was amazing and I loved the smoked flavour that came through.
The chef also brought over a beer for my BF and I to try. I informed the chef that I don't drink beer, so he asked if I would try a strawberry beer. This beer was the highlight of my evening. I have finally found a beer that I like. I am sure it is a beer that most beer drinkers would turn their nose up at but I loved the sweet taste.
Are steaks were cooked perfect and yes the fries are wonderful. I loved the homemade smoked ketchup and I generally don't eat ketchup. Then for desert the chef brought us each a dessert platter. I don't know what all was on the plate but I know they were all great with my favorite being the sorbet made out of the beer that I was drinking.
In the end we were at the restaurant for 3 hours and ended up with an amazing meal all served by the chef which was a great touch. I would go back in a second.
Here is my question ... the server was not really that great. She avoided us for the most part. Never made mention of the fact that we waited so long for our food or that our order was lost. The chef was the one who served us, so she only ended up clearing our plates.
I thought that since the chef went above and beyond to make everything right we needed to tip the server accordingly even though she didn't really do anything. My BF disagreed because we did not receive very good service from her. What does everyone else think??
I'll just emphasize the the night I was there our waiter was excellent. Very friendly and he didn't bat an eye when we sent food back. (Something I almost never do.) He appeared very concerned and wanted to make sure we had food we liked.
I just think some of their menu ideas are wonky, starting with the fact that everything must have beer in it.
You're not alone with getting bad service at the Beer Bistro. I took a friend out for her b-day back in March. The dining room wasn't that busy, maybe only 1/2 full. The server (it was a male) just gave us attitude all night...from delivering us the menu to rolling his eyes at us when we ordered! I didn't think there was anything particularly offensive about our order...she had the pizza, I had the steak frites. I was a bit mortified since it was my idea to go there for dinner and it was her b-day and she was getting such horrible service. Haven't been back since. Definitely won't recommend it to others.
I think it is interesting how opinions vary on Beer Bistro. Inconsistenty is certainly a bad thing. I have been there several times and I always found the service to be above par. Oftentimes I eat in the bar section and maybe that's the difference. I have never found the servers to be anything but polite and attentive. Go figure.
It sounds like they messed up badly but recovered well with some solid food and personal attention. I've had some very bad food at beer bistro (but good service), but maybe I was in there on an off night. I would try them again, but my guard would be WAY up. The frites are indeed delicious (though by no means unique to that resto). And the pizza crust is also very good.
That the chef served you was sweet, but it was also a massive "save" that signals a complete breakdown of the front/back-of-house dynamic which is very, very bad in any restaurant. I mean, how can you be expected to enjoy your food in such an environment? It sounds like he probably pulled rank and effectively kicked your waiter off the table, and I admire him for that. (Shades of Gordon Ramsay?) That he cared so much was, of course, crucial for your dinning experience, but it also served the restaurant's reputation (you are now posting here, after all, and if they are at all aware they will see this thread).
This was by no means a normal dinner, so your question about tipping is important, even if it is not allowed on a board where potential Beer Bistro patrons will see it. I would encourage you to re-post in the Not About Food board, where I think this could generate some lively discussion. (And don't forget to let us know if you do.)
I probably would've left a little tip, but nothing big, since all in all she wasn't a good server... but I'm a pushover.
The only thing I would really do is tell the chef how great he was, how he made your night and you plan to come back.
p.s. You probably had Fruli strawberry beer, which is one of my favourite beers.