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Azul Bistro, am I crazy or this is really wrong? [moved from Manhattan board]

We went to dinner on Saturday at Azul Bistro. I made a reservation for 6 people at 8:30p and we got sat down at 8:45p. We had 2 bottles of wine, 4 appetizers, 6 entrees and 6 desserts and coffee. Throught the night it felt like they were really rushed, I finished my food and the waiter came and took away my dish without even asking, I got annoyed since everyone else was eating and I was just seating there withouth a plate.

Anyway, they gave us the bill (we didn't even ask for it, they just put it there in the table) we paid and 10 minutes later (at 10:15pm)a woman came and told us that we had to leave because there were people waiting for the table.

We left, but we were REALLY annoyed, when I made the reservation nobody told me I could only have the table for 1 hour and 30 minutes, I understand there's people waiting but still you just don't tell people to leave, I would find it reasonable if we were seating there for 3 hours because that is not right, but we were only there for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

I find it really rude and I won't be back to that place or Novecento and Industria Argentina which are owned by the same people.

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  1. Azul is a busy, popular place. I've been to plenty of places where my plate has been cleared before another diner's. While it's not my favorite practice, it's pretty common. I also have to admit that I'm annoyed by lingerers at low-priced restaurants b/c I think it's rude for the people who are waiting for a table. If you want to hang out, go to someone's house.

    1. As long as you're not leaving out any minor details (like you all stunk, or pocketed the silverware or something) then I agree- your treatment was uncalled-for. Now that you've had a couple of days to cool off, why not make a phonecall and let them know how you feel?

      One thing about Novecento and Industria Argentina... I haven't been to either one, but its possible your troubles at Azul Bistro were the result of the dining room manager or reservationist screw-up, rather than company policy.

      1. it doesnt sound like you were hanging out too long or overstaying your welcome...an hour and a half for appetizers, entrees and dessert is not too long. they were wrong!

        1. 90 minutes from sit down to finish isn't being rushed, especially at a place like Azul.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Bob Martinez

            I don't think 90 minutes is that long when you are having dinner and wine.

            Once we went to Sushi of Gari, our reservation was at 8p and we couldn't seat until 9:15p because the people that were on our table wouldn't leave. Finnally after 3 hours someone told them they had to leave.

            I personally think you should leave 2 hours between each reservation. I really believe it was wrong.

            1. re: sf0518

              Put the shoe on the other foot. If you were waiting for a table with 5 other people and you saw a group that had clearly finished their meal and were dragging on their meal you might be a little agitated. Consideration cuts both ways.

              Have you been to Azul? It's a low priced smallish Argentine steakhouse/bistro - not a fine dining establishment where dining slots are more extended. They can't afford to have people hanging around at tables for an hour after the meal is over.

              Another thing. Azul has been written about on this board for years and there hasn't been a single post that mentioned service issues of any kind. I keep things like that in mind when someone posts a negative comment.

              1. re: Bob Martinez

                they had only paid 10 minutes before....doesn't sound like they were really dragging things out. sorry, but that is extremely rude to me.

                1. re: ceeceee

                  But why wait 10 minutes when everything has been consumed and paid for? That sounds like dragging to me.

                  1. re: Lucia

                    i dont think 10 minutes means that you have to be told to get up, esp when all-in-all you were sitting for 90 minutes. maybe someone had to run to the loo...or they were finishing up a drink.. plenty of times, i've paid before i finish my wine...

          2. I agree that this was very rude. As a server I saw situations in which the staff was desperate for a table due to their own errors, but worst case scenario the manager explained the situation to the table and offered them a free dessert in the bar area.

            For a party of 6, an hour and half should have been expected at a minimum, and longer for a table that had ordered so many courses.

            1. I believe the unasked for check is a particularly American annoyance.

              1. Actually when they told us we had to leave someone was in the bathroom, we asked the waitress if can we at least wait for our friend to come out.

                I know Azul is a low priced argentinean restaurant, but does that means that when I go to eat at low priced restaurants I have to expect bad service??? I really don't think so...

                1. I have been to Azul almost 20x and find the service delightful. Although I stay away from it on Saturday nights.

                  1. One of my pet peeves is having my dish cleared while others are still eating, or vice-a-versa. It makes the one still eating feel awkward. Many bussers are not very well-versed in manners, so they don't get this subtlety. In my book, it reflects in the tip.It's our only recourse for the idiots bussing in many venues. I have told servers, "your busboys are killing you" in such situations.They got it. Servers need to tell the busboys, in whatever language, that it's rude to rush dishes away and leave a diner eating alone.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: sing me a bar

                      If you're done with dinner why have the plate take up room in front of you - especially if it's somewhere as casual as Azul Bistro. Your generalizations on "manners" and "language" are much more offensive than the early clearing of a plate.

                      1. re: chowcito

                        It is proper to leave the plate in front of the diner for two reasons: 1) it makes the other diners more comfortable and 2) what if the person that has finished his/her meal is offered some food from another diner?

                        1. re: Husky

                          Agree..it's bad manners to take your plate and leaves the impression
                          that those still eating should hurry up. I think there is a
                          standard of behavior and a casual restaurant still has to observe it

                    2. I don't think it's wrong to let people know the table is needed (a restaurant is a business, after all), but I think a better way to handle these situations is to offer customers a complimentary drink if they'll move to the bar or whatever. I recently waited more than an hour for a reserved table (at Gusto) because the four people eating there, who had already paid, would not budge. The host even offered them the abovementioned complimentary drink, but they refused to get up. It was a very rainy night, and I guess they were in no hurry to leave, but I thought they were bad restaurant citizens.

                      1. Must have been in the air, the same thing happened to me and my friends Sat. night at Apizz. The four of us had 3 apps, 4 entrees, 2 bottles of wine, 2 desserts, paid $70 each and were handed our check w/out asking, which didn't bother me that much. What did bother me was that barely a minute after receiving my credit card receipt, a bus boy came over and told us we had to leave, even though those of us who had wine left were still drinking it. And the way he said it just urked me, no apology, nothing, just "ladies we need your table, can you please leave". At that point we were seated for exactly 2 hours. (8pm reservation) but it did take us over 10 minutes to get menus and another 15-20 to get our order taken. It probably would have taken us 5 minutes to finish our wine and go, but gosh, that just left such a bad taste in our mouths, after what was such a delicious meal. When the bus boy realized how annoyed we were, he basically blamed it on Sat night in NYC. I'm sure it was the manager that told him to tell us to leave, but honestly, there really was no reason to do so. The only other time this has ever happened to me was when I was squeezed in in between reservations and was told ahead of time that the table was needed at a certain time, which of course is absolutely warranted and acceptable. But paying all that money for dinner and then being treated like a loiterer is ridiculous.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: esyle

                          I understand the request was abrupt, but the restaurant giving you 2 hours to linger at a table on a busy Saturday night is more than generous, in my opinion.

                          1. re: Lucia

                            That's a pretty interesting notion - that a restaurant is more than
                            generous to let diners linger two hours. And if you paid $200 each for
                            your meal? Curious to know how the math works out. Are you taking
                            too much of a commissioned salesman time if you buy one pair
                            of shoes in 20 minutes if that salesman could sell three pairs to
                            someone else?

                            1. re: serious

                              No, that's not how it works. It works this way: at a casual, busy restaurant like Azul on a weekend night, you don't get to set the amount of time you linger b/c there are other people waiting and it's not your kitchen you're eating in. If you don't like it, then go somewhere else with a more relaxed pace.

                              1. re: Lucia

                                I don't see your point..but there must be a point at which it's
                                profitable for a restaurant to let people linger - like good will.
                                Sf0518 was hardly abusing his priviledge at 90 minutes.
                                How about offering a discount to fast eaters who get out in an hour
                                (I'm joking.)?

                                1. re: serious

                                  The restaurant also has to take into account other diners with or without reservations who are waiting to eat (which I have done on multiple occasions at Azul). As you can see by reading down the thread, most regular diners at Azul have no service issues w/the restaurant--plenty of good will flowing. Also, my post you replied to was a reply to Esyle, who was at the restaurant for 2 hours.

                            2. re: Lucia

                              I don't think we were lingering for 2 hours, I don't think we were lingering at all. Maybe if we paid our bill and sat there for 10 minutes or so, even if we did have wine in front of us. But we had just settled the tab not more than a minute before. I'm sorry, that is rude. Maybe they could have phrased it in a way to encourage us to finish our drinks at the bar, that would not have been bad at all, because we all know there are right and wrong ways of going about things. This was the wrong way.

                            3. re: esyle

                              On a tangental point, in my experience, buss boys are learning how to deal with people in a restaurant setting. They are seen and not heard. Shall I fill your water? May I take your plate? So Why was the buss boy performing this delicate operation of asking people to leave? Presumably the manager or even the waiter or host(ess) have the people skills to do this with-out "a bad taste in our mouths." Or at least more skills than the buss boy.

                            4. I would be curious to hear from someone(s) who has had restaurant how much time is blocked for an average pp $70 dinner.
                              I can't imagine a dinner out with friends is expected to wrap up in 90 min. (and two hours doesn't sound unreasonable.) Something about this thread has turned odd...the assumption that people who go out as a treat to enjoy evening with friends have to watch a clock. I don't know Azul but certainly the conversation has moved to the general.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: serious

                                "I would be curious to hear from someone(s) who has had restaurant how much time is blocked for an average pp $70 dinner."

                                Where did you get that $70 figure? The OP never used it. Azul is an inexpensive steakhouse and based on what they ordered for 6 people ".... 2 bottles of wine, 4 appetizers, 6 entrees and 6 desserts and coffee" it wouldn't have come to $70 per person.

                                They had sat there for 90 minutes and were done with their meal. It was 10:15PM and other people wanted to sit down and eat. Seems to me that the courteous thing would have been to move on with good grace.

                              2. I was addressing more than one response..the person, perhaps esyle, who stayed for 2 hours and spent $70pp..since the two hour and 90 minute times were both responded to here. Perhaps that's a distraction but it seems the conversation turned,in part, to the issue of how long a party can occupy a table.

                                1. In my opinion, in some cases this is reasonable behavior for a restaurant, in others, it's not. The criteria, for me, is the type of restaurant. If you spent lots of money during your 90 minutes, as I'm guessing you did, on apps and wine and dessert and coffee--then clearly, you have the right to the time at the table to consume them. However--at Grand Sichuan in Chelsea on a packed Sunday night -- we were once unceremoniously told "You go now!" by our favorite, take no prisoners waitress. It was our fault--there was no wine, no dessert, just us gabbing endlessly while people were lined up along 9th desperate for a table. Suddenly realizing how selfish we were, we apologised to the waitress, thanked her and left--to contine our engrossing chat outside.

                                  1. I can't see that the type of restaurant is the issue. The OP table had a full dinner, two bottles of wine, etc. One person's $30 is another's $100.

                                    1. Coming in from the cold, I have no idea what Azul is, but I normally assume the table is mine for 2 hours, especially on a Saturday night. This is my night out with my DW and friends!!!

                                      That 2-hours assumes reasonableness from both me and the resto from the drink order, food order, app serve, entree serve, coffee/dessert serve, take care of the check. Likewise, the waiter should not have to come back 5 times to take your order and you're already 45 minutes into the gig by the time the apps get ordered.

                                      It appears that this resto on a busy saturday night is into giddey-up mode to turn the tables one more time. OP should have felt the rush earlier in the meal (gotta keep that antennae up). Whenever the waiter is pulling the app plates while simultaneously deliverying the entrees, gotta take control of the situation. I can't tell you how many times I've paced my entree more slowly, "lingered" over the dessert menu ("please come back, we're not quite ready yet"), ordered a second cup of decaf (and I hate decaf) or held up my card for the check server.Gotta o what you gotta do to make my dinner, exactly that, my dinner. No one at the table notices my actions as we're all having a good time so I am basically taking one for the gipper.

                                      With respect to going back to someone's house to yap, we are not city dwellers and that is not a convenient option.

                                      There is one resto that will tell you when you make an early reservation that they have the table reserved for 730 or 800. If the resto does it's part to get the meal completed by then, you owe them leaving at the pre-determined time.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: jfood

                                        "I have no idea what Azul is ... It appears that this resto on a busy saturday night is into giddey-up mode to turn the tables one more time."

                                        Perhaps you haven't read the whole thread. Let me help you out.

                                        Azul is an inexpensive restaurant, especially by NY standards. Here's the menu -

                                        The original poster's party of 6 had been there for an hour and a half, finished their meal, and paid their check. (If you like, you can read the original post to confirm all of this.


                                        Now it was 10:15 at night and the place was packed. No other tables were available. There was another party of 6 who were hungry and wanted to eat dinner. Are you suggesting that they be made to stand around in the street (there's only a small service bar at Azul) for another 30 minutes while the OP's party sat around chatting?

                                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                                          Altho very reasonable, looking at the menu, it is not all that inexpensive. Entrees average 16-18, appetizers around 8, desserts 6-7, which means that the OP spent a decent amount of money, if one also takes into account the two bottles of wine. Not exactly fast food prices. When a table is spending over $200 they definitely should expect to enjoy a leisurely meal w/ time to digest and chat afterwards; they certainly should not be rushed out the door after 90 minutes. I agree, it's rude and thoughtless service. The restaurant should have accomodated those waiting in some other way (offer a complementary glass of wine, etc).

                                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                                            BM, I took your advise and read the entire thread plus I re-read the OP a couple of times

                                            1 - The OP never said the resto was "packed" but said there were people waiting
                                            2 - I would not call this an inexpensive, but I would call it reasonable, but it's nyc. BTW it does not change my conclusion

                                            If i make a reso for 830 i would NEVER expect that the resto has a 1030 for that table but its NYC, so i'll give them the benefit of the doubt that reso go much later than in one of the northern burbs. I'll also buy in to the idea that there are no service issues other than the OP "felt" rushed.

                                            So, when I eat out on a saturday night-

                                            I am concerned about my DW, my friends at the table, good conversation, an enjoyable meal, a relaxing time, no calls from clients, no calls from bosses, no worries about the office, etc.

                                            I am not concerned about (during the first 30, 60, 90 or probably up to 2 hours after i am seated and asked for my drink order (that's when my internal 2-hour clock starts)) the queing of others at the bar, at the door, out the door, etc. That's the resto's concern, not the customer's.

                                            Yes I understand that others are waiting, but in this case I am going to relax, enjoy my company, my meal at the pace I am comfortable with up to my 2-hour sorta-limit. Even if the service was absolutely perfect for the entire meal, the actions at the end are still in my "rude" bucket.

                                        2. I don't give a rats ass how expensive or inexpensive a resto is: what the resto did is INDEFENSIBLE and INEXCUSABLE. If the staff are pushing customers who made a reservation out the door because they've overbooked their tables, that the resto's fault, not the customers'.

                                          1. Hey, listen!! Who says the people waiting for the table had a reservation? These people were asked to leave at 10:15. Did someone make a reservation at a moderate restaurant at 10:00?