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Disappointed in Roberto Passon - Won't Be Back!

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My husband and I visited this restaurant on December 22nd. With reluctance, I chose it because of several positive reviews from posters on this web site. This was a pre theatre dinner and in the past we have visited Becco on several occasions but thought we would try somewhere new. Big mistake!

We arrived at the restaurant before 6:00 (our reservation) and the restaurant was only 25% full. There were several tables for two available but we were given a table next to the bathroom door. I requested a table anywhere else in the restaurant and this seemed to be an imposition as it was discussed by staff, leaving us standing and waiting. We were eventually moved. Our waitress was new and she admitted to this after several incidents later. There is nothing wrong with new and inexperienced staff, but 'good' management should be training them. In addition I'm not sure why but for so few tables in a restaurant, there were seven plus wait staff and two or three hostesses? The staff lined up against the bar watching the tables and talking about the customers. Very inappropriate.

The evening began with the waitress listing the night's specials and pushing the truffle oil dishes but not sharing the price of such dishes. Common sense said they would be dear in price and they were but the waitress should have indicated so. When I indicated I had questions about items on the menu, she replied "bring it on" as if this were some kind of a test? Next we ordered a bottle of wine and the waitress 'popped' the cork loudly. One of the waiters made fun of it by reiterating the popping sound himself. This seemed to be a joke amongst the staff lined up along the bar. Not very professional once again.

We both ordered appetizers and chose to half way through switch plates to share and taste each others. My husband had finished his appetizer and no sooner put his fork down and the plate was wisked away before I finished. I was enjoying the appetizer but made the mistake of putting down my fork to have a sip of wine when a staff member came by to take my plate away. I told him I wasn't finished. This incident happened a second time with another staff member. Completely unprofessional and annoying to say the least. I finished my last mouthful and our entrees arrived. Not our waitress but another staff member gave us the wrong plates and when he went to reverse them, he knocked over my wine glass splashing me with red wine. Accidents happen, I can be very forgiving but the unprofessional incidents leading up to this had me wanting to leave. The staff member was very apologetic and brought a glass of club soda.

Keeping in mind that we had ordered our dishes and the mix up of plates was the fault of our server and whether or not we choose to half way switch plates on our own is our perogative. When we did this, it became a joke amongst the staff standing lined up at the bar. Talking about us was not discreet in the least.

To be honest the food was fine, nothing terribly wrong with it. However we will never return because of the service. The staff member who spilled the wine did make amends by bringing us complimentary prosecco which was appreciated. But managing and training the staff is seriously lacking at this restaurant.

Rushed service is not good service. Being attentive should be discreet, and not standing lined up at the bar making customers uncomfortable and worse, talking about them.

I find it difficult to believe we just hit and off night. We will return to Becco the next time.

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  1. I had a similarly disappointing Roberto Passon experience last week, mainly due to the service. I've been there three times total, with the last time being an unbelievably stressful dinner. The food has been consistently good each time, but I dont think I can go back anytime soon. I actually found myself wondering whether we had a new waitress (like the original poster). The tables are very close and at one point the waitress actually stood next to our table (and right by our neighbors' tables) and attempted to take both orders at once. It was very strange -- I thought perhaps she was thinking we were together, but she did not. With each course the dishes were given to the wrong people, which isnt the biggest deal, except that our apps were actually set down on our neighors' table and then handed to us. Many little things that went wrong that night, and no real ackowledgement or apology. I also found that the sheer number of waitstaff in the restaurant made it very tight and hectic (the place isnt big and the tables are very tight).

    1. Although I have never been to the restaurant, I had one delivery experience with Roberto Passon that was bad enough to convince me that, in an area flooded with good food, I should do my eating elsewhere.

      I ordered from RP through Seamless Web. After ordering, I received a confirmation email telling me that the order would arrive in about 30 mins. Keep in mind that I live 6 blocks away. After 45 minutes, I called, and was told that the order had just left. Twenty minutes later someone else told me it had just left, and that he didn't know who I had spoken to before, but they must have been mistaken. After another 20 minutes, I was told it just left again. I said it was the third time I had been told this, at which point the woman on the phone asked what was in my order. In other words, she had no idea what my order was so also had no idea what had happened to it but was just trying to appease me.

      At this point I asked to cancel the order and was told that my next order would include a free pasta. I reiterated that, no, I did not want a free pasta next time, but to cancel my order this time. Finally, a manager (after several more attempts to get me not to cancel the order - it's busy, etc) was nice enough to allow me to cancel my order.

      Of course, it arrived five minutes later. I explained to the delivery guy what had happened. He called the restaurant, who got back on the phone with me and tried to convince me to accept it (and pay for it). When I said no, they said I could have it anyway.

      So, 2 hours after ordering, when we were ravenous, I still did not think the food was great - it was decent but nothing all that interesting, and certainly not worth the wait.

      2 Replies
      1. re: adam

        I can see that we are not the only ones not satisfied and unhappy with the restaurant as sometimes you wonder if it was simply a bad night. Thanks confirming that we will not return.

        1. re: JD5761

          I was there for lunch on New Year's Eve. Food was very good. Service was OK, however I did not have any major incidents. When I walked in the place, it was empty except for staff blowing up balloons. The sound of the machine was annoying in an otherwise quiet restaurant. They immediately turned up the music. Patrons started coming in and my friend showed up in the next 15 minutes or so, so this sound was muted. Eventually they finished and stopped with the ballons. We did have a few different people taking care of us. Two waitresses brought us a dessert menu and we told the second that we had given our order already. I asked for water a few times and received it immediately. Nothing terrible. I go bec. I like the food, service definitely could be better, but I luckily did not have any of the negative experiences that others have had.

      2. Not sure what's going on there, because Passon has been a very reliable and consistent restaurant since it opened. We'll be on the lookout for service issues though, since we're overdue for a write-up on the place.

        Nosher

        NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

        1. Service is unquestionably a HUGE problem here. We keep going back (inexplicably, since service matters to me) and are due for another visit this weekend given some various preferences of our dining companions. I just hope that I don't regret it, especially since we have a largish group. My bottom line reason - there's not any better homemade pasta that I know of in the neighborhood. I avoid all entrees there as they don't appeal to me, but the pastas and appetizers (such as their buffalo mozarella) are wonderful.

          1. We went back last evening with a group of 6 and could not have asked for better service - and this from a waiter who the last time I had him, 4 out of 7 entrees came out differently than those that had been ordered! Service was efficient and everybody got what they ordered. Overall, a big improvement, but I'd still call service "spotty" here as opposed to good.

            The only flaw was that our original table was supposed to be in the middle of the room for a party of 7 (we lost one at the last minute) - 3 two-tops pushed together with not much room to breathe and 4 charis on one side of the rectangle. We were moved to a booth against the side when I asked, but honestly, I have no idea who thought that cramming 4 chairs on one side of an already crowded area was a good idea.

            The food, as usual, was fantastic.

            1. We have been going to passon since they open and is one of my favorite restaurants as is Rosa mexicano ,El cid, Cuba and Babbo