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Bloom Cafe--love the food, hate the service

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I mean really HATE. This is the second time we've been. The first time was the weekend of SIV's review in the calendar section so it wasn't unecpected that the service would be so harried. First time, we (BF and myself) sat at the communal table in the front of the restaurant, sharing the table with another party of three. We actually had decent service that time. Waiter took both our order and the orders of the party next to us at the same time. Our food came out promptly; the other party had to wait about 30 minutes longer than us and at least one of them had the same dish that I had ordered. One member of their party had to wait a good 45 minutes before her vegetable sandwhich came to the table! The food, however, was great. I had the huevos rancheros which comes as a stach with alternating layers of cheese, white beans in tomato sauce, cripsy tortillas and a perfectly fried egg. BF got the granola almond pancakes and loved them and we shared a pretty fruit bowl. That along with 2 drinks came to around 20$ which I think is an amazing deal.

Went there again on Saturday morning with a party of seven, mostly family visiting from out of town, and were again seated (this time we took up the entire table) at the communal table. Orders were taken fairly promptly, although the service even at this point was kind of weird. My BF's mom asked the waiter which of the types of pancakes he thought were the best and he looked dumbstruck and almost scared. Kind of odd. At this point things took a turn for the worse. Fifteen minutes after ordering, three of our plates come out. Five minutes later another plate comes out along with someone's side of chicken sausage (awesome sausage, by the way), ten minutes later two more plates come out. And then more time passes. We tried flagging down the owner, tried politely waiving over any passing waiter...no luck! Finally, I got up and told the owner that we were having a little bit of a problem because most of our party had finished their dishes but one member of our party still hadn't received anything (even though it was the same exact dish that I had ordered and received almost thirty minutes earlier). The owner just nodded and scurried off back to the kitchen. The final two dishes (the huevos and a side of delicious blueberry pancakes) came out about five minutes later, just as the rest of us were about to finish our dishes. No one apologized or offered to comp anything or even checked in to see that we had everything. It was truly appalling service...which sucks because I so love the food here. I don't think I've ever been witness to such poor timing in terms of bringing out orders in concert. I noticed that other tables around us seemed to be having similar problems and I was trying to figure out whether this is a problem with the front of the house communicating with the back or with the kitchen being understaffed or what.

I really want to see these guys succeed, but I think I probably only have the patience for one more go before I give up. Oh, the new pizza menu looks awesome!

 
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  1. yeah, i totally agree. it's a real shame, especially because since i live within walking distance. i hope they get it worked out in time, but it wasn't a really a good sign that i didn't recognize a single waitperson this past saturday, and i've been there 6 or 7 times already. looks like an entirely new staff, and it sounds like we had the same waiter. he was completely rattled and looked like he was about to have a nervous breakdown. we were a party of 3 and he insisted on sitting at our table while taking our order, even moving a friend's purse to do so. he looked like he was about to cry.

    that said, i went back sunday night for takeout pizza and it was delicious.

    1. Service isn't high on their priority list just yet...they are still dealing with the opening/growth of what is deemed the 'to-go' side of the restaurant. That being said, they are working on it. They have a core group of three or four male waiters, two of whom I know have been there since the beginning, along with a couple of girls...
      The food is worth the early growing pains....almost....I'd say in another couple of months if this is still an issue, then that's too long to just say 'new jitters'.....

      Oh, and I've had the pizza and YUM YUM YUM....

      2 Replies
      1. re: peanut112

        can you describe the pizza, is it mozza style? or what? i presume it's nothing like new york style but what? thanks.

        1. re: kevin

          not like mozza. very very thin crust and a very light texture. not really like a NY pizza, more like something you might get at a nice italian restaurant i guess.

          i spoke to one of the owners about it and he said they are still trying to perfect it, it's not quite there yet. but they're on the right track!

      2. a couple t questions are the pizzas personal or shareable? and how much? and more importantly only at dinner or lunch too?

        4 Replies
        1. re: kevin

          I believe they have a 9'' size and then maybe 14'' that would be shareable. Here's their website: http://www.go2bloom.com/ although they don't yet have the pizaa info up yet. There's one with butternut squash and blue cheese that sounded amazing and another with onion confit.

          1. re: kevin

            there are two sizes listed on the dinner menu. When i was there for lunch, i definitely saw someone eating a personal pizza. Don't know if that was a lunch-only option.

            Don't remember the exact price, maybe $16 for the large (18" i think). We got a large pizza with different toppings on each half and a beet salad for $28 including tax.

            1. re: ddyouandme

              have you been there for dinner? do you know how late they stay open now that the to go part is open?

              1. re: mollyomormon

                They close at 10pm, open 7 days. I picked up pizza on Sunday at about 8:30 or so and the restaurant side had about a dozen people having dinner.

          2. I've had the three tomato pizza, which was delightful....really fresh ripe tomatoes, plus sundried tomatoes, plus really great small romas.....brushed with garlic, and a crust that is thin and light.

            1. I decided to give then another chance today after a pretty lackluster salmon salad the first time I went. It was a bit more crowded and service was indeed pretty spotty. The server wasn't particularly friendly and our food took quite a while to come out. My sandwich had fries on it, when I ordered a salad. A bit later someone else's iced tea arrived on our table. There was no "would you like dessert" or "is everything ok"? type of conversation. We tried to peek at the other side, but the owner and his dog were taking up the doorway, and no one offered to help us or give us a menu. I probably won't be back since I'm not in that neighborhood for breakfast and my chicken sandwich and my friend's chicken salad were both pretty forgettable.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chowpatty

                i got the same feeling even though i haven't eaten there yet. it just didn't have a real welcome feeling to it yet. I think people that know the owners (from Pastis if i'm correct) have had a better time and service. But it's good to see an actual sit-down place to eat between fairfax and la brea along pico blvd. (I think La Bodeguita de Pico, is a few blocks east, and there are new shops turning up.) Definitely whoever is in the area and have a good hour to spend on slow "fast food/takeout" should hit up the fried chicken at Maurice's to go. Great stuff, and a very idiosyncratic joint to boot.

                Any others tried the pizza at blooms, it sounds really tempting, toppings like carmelized onions and a lamb sausage varietal. Maybe that's where it's at. along with the breakfast dishes. also, somehow it feels a lilttle too precious for pico. And lastly I'm not sure if it's neighbors visiting the joint, or the majority is friends of the owners who received press releases or what?

                But anything opening up in the are that's open past 6pm (besides of courses the stalwarts such as Roscoes, Lucy's, and Oki Dog is a good sign).

              2. i picked up a sandwich to go a couple days ago. it took way too long. based on my observations during the wait, i am not surprised by the virtually uniform comments here about the poor service. i should note that i thought the sandwich was good, but since i don't live nearby, i have no real burning desire to go back. i'm sure i wll, but probably not real soon.

                1. anyone have a link to the pizzas menu? t hanks.

                  1. jeez...now i feel like we're being a little too harsh. I am a neighborhood resident, so of course i desperately WANT it to succeed. There are so few good options for dining in the evening, as Kevin mentioned. And me and the Mrs. simply don't have time to cook, sadly.

                    However, I have been to Bloom 6 or 7 times, as i believe i mentioned, and though the service is a bit slow, everyone is very friendly and apologetic when things go awry. I really get the feeling that they're just trying to get the kinks worked out. I agree that the grace period should only last for so long, but I think they are a little surprised at how fast the place has attracted a crowd. One of the owners told me they had 250 in for breakfast/lunch on Sunday - they simply were not prepared for that. I am by no means friends or a on a first name basis with anyone there, but I'm always treated well and will continue to go back because the food is very good. But I understand non-neighborhoodies feeling a little put off by this and not being in a hurry to return. Maybe consider waiting a few months, try it again and see if the experience is still the same.

                    For me, i'll keep going back. If only to try and help keep it open and attract more businesses to the area.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ddyouandme

                      I also would love for it to succeed because I enjoy the food. I just feel like even a very small apology when things go pretty wrong would go such a long way. I went out to eat somewhere else last night where the same thing happened to our party as had happened as Bloom: one dish came out more than a half an hour later than the other entrees. They comped that dish without any questions. At Bloom, no one mentioned comping or an apology and, in fact, we were overcharged! Just a simple sorry would have, I think, made the whole experience lots more palatable. That said, I'll be back at least once more just because I really want them to do well.