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Spotted Pig: Very Bad Vibes Report

I went to Spotted Pig last night for dinner with a friend. The wait was about 30 minutes at 7pm - so we had a drink and waited. Crowded, loud, yes...but part of the experience and it's a cool festive atmosphere, so we were enjoying ourselves.

Until we got seated. Cramped seating, yes, but it was fine - we were in a good mood and enjoying our company. My date had a question about the Duck Egg appetizer. "It's bad" was the answer we got. We laughed it off as a joke, but we both noticed that our server wasn't laughing, looked pissed, and was glaring at us to take our order after having been seated for all of 10 minutes, 8 of which we did not have menus.

The service was very, very slow for us. Our waiter never offered to refill drinks. No water refills either (we got up and refilled ourselves at the bar after a while). No "is everything okay here?" the entire meal. We watched the table to our right sit down as we were served entrees. They were paid up and leaving as our dessert menus were put in our hands. We waited a solid 30 minutes between finishing entrees and getting the dessert menu. But we were still in a good mood so we rolled it off our backs. All in, from seating to dessert, it was over 2 hours.

Anyway here's where it gets weird. Because we were so close to the table next to us, we heard our curt waiter telling this couple that no, they could not allow them to order an apertif instead of dessert because they had to turn over the table, and they had to order at the bar. All this in a very harsh and, dare I say "bitchy" tone. The pair asked why and were met with aggressive answers about management and space. It was really bad.

Now, if they were in that dire of a need to turn over their tables, then why didn't they just look to the next table that had been sitting there for multiple hours due to their own slow service? That's the part that made me mad. Because of our experience (which I still would have looked past on its own), coupled with his treatment of the table next to us, I halved his tip (I am normally a big tipper...20% minimum). I didn't stiff him but sent a little message. I thought it was fair.

Well, this must have rubbed him the wrong way. He came back to our area and proceeded to literally pull a half-drunk cocktail out of the hand of the woman next to us. "Wait, I'm still drinking that!". He walked away. We were all dumbfounded. You just don't do that, I'm sorry. You don't.

On our way out we spoke with the manager just to let her know what had just gone on. More or less we were mocked in our faces. No apology, nothing.

Look I can understand being busy. I eat out a lot and can handle delays and cramped spaces and kitchen mess-ups. But rudeness doesn't fly. I don't care if you're full every night, restaurants die because of this. The food was okay, but not good enough to bring me back.

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  1. I went to Spotted Pig for lunch, we arrived shortly after they opened for the day.. I was very happy that we were there early and with out many other customers around.. Sorry that happened to you.

    1. In its early days, the Pig was fun. Once the "Jay-Z & Beyonce and Pres. Clinton were seen there" stuff hit the press, the party was over. Now, like many venues, they try to deal with an embarassment of riches by rushing diners and being cranky. Not all, but least some of the servers are just treading water. I dissuade anyone who'll listen from going there, unless they are absolutely fixated on seeing celebs, which they may at the Pig, as they are getting seated ahead of non-celeb patrons. At the end of the day it is English food, albeit well executed English food. It is actually becoming an L.A. restaurant in New York, if you look at the model it represents; high concept, high buzz factor, more of an event destination than a food one.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sing me a bar

        that sounds about right to me...i went there for the first time about six weeks ago...we had better service than the OP did, but i agree the vibe is very LA (lots of attitude and faux-entitlement) -- in fact, i saw two people i knew from LA there (a Hollywood agent and a film exec) whom i'd previously assumed still lived in LA but who had migrated here...

        the lamb shank was pretty yummy though...

      2. It's still a really nice place for a weekday lunch. I love going there on a sunny afternoon and having the chicken liver toast with a glass of wine. The vibe then is completely different and much more pleasant.

        1. We went there for our trip to NY in November and it was definitely a "help-harried" experience. The food was outstanding, and we were lucky enough to have a waiter who was nice to us, and the hostess was very tolerant. But it was pretty obvious that their patience had limits. Would I go back? Probably not. But eating there once was a good experience overall.

          1. btw, the duck egg (which is a "bar snack" -- not really an app) with bottarga is pretty good.

            but yeah, the service there can really suck...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Nathan07

              Yes. Despite the "Bad" recommendation, we ordered it anyway and, ironically, both liked it!

            2. I'm sad to hear this about the Pig - it is still one of my favorite places to go for a consistently fun good dinner or drink at the bar - but I always go for dinner on the late side - 10:30 or 11 - when there is still a good crowd but the wait is minimal to nothing. I always linger at the table and have never felt pressured to get up (including the few times I've gone at peak times). I go pretty regularly (just went last week for dinner) and have never had anything but great service - the food is always delicious and I find the atmosphere fun and cozy. Hopefully they will address the service issues they appear to be having.

              1. I had a really great dinner there about 2 years ago--good food and a nice cheerful watress who joked around with us and did her job well, but when I went again a few months ago the whole vibe was just so stressful and I practically ran out the door when confronted by the young man with pre-mentrual syndrome who was in charge of the front of the house. I sympathize with his plight, but Jeepers!

                1. For the record, I went back recently having thought maybe it was just a bad night. Amazingly, when we sat down, it was the same waiter we had when we first went and had the bad experience.

                  Up we stood and out we walked.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: randymac88

                    funny followup post...

                    Moral of the Story: if something is that bad, don't give them a second chance...

                    Usually when i've given a place a second chance and gone back with an open mind, i've ended up kicking myself for wasting the time/money/evening...NYC is blessed with huge quanity and variety: force the restaurants to get it right the first time, especially when it comes to things like friendliness and common courtesy...

                    1. re: randymac88

                      funny ending...i never felt that the spotted pig was great. its starf$cking, its a mediocre meal, and its uncomfortable.

                      i dont tolerate being in a situation like that.

                    2. My husband and I were visiting from Toronto last week and we decided to try Spotted Pig -- I think we must have had the same server as you -- it's quite funny now that I think back to his crap attitude and total refusal to smile and his overbearing impatience. I am six months pregnant and I told him that I can't have a certain cheese on my buger -- he promptly barked at me "yes you can, it's ricotta you can't have". I just sort of looked at him and said "whatever, I don't want it on my burger please". Nevertheless, the atmosphere was nice and my company was good so I just chalked it up to the experience. All the other staff there were GREAT -- really friendly and eager to please. This waiter was a joke.