King's Fish House - Calabasas
I am a huge fan of King's Fish House and I have been a fan for about 20 years. I first became a regular at their Long Beach restaurant in the mid 80's and would have dinner and/or breakfast there several times a week, alone or with SO or friends. I relied on the restaurant because it was always dependable- great food, quality and service.
Last night's experience at King's was by far the most disappointing. I haven't had the chance to dine there recently. The last time was perhaps two years ago, with a group, and all was perfect then.
Last night I went with my SO. All went well with seating. We arrived at 7:45pm - there was a long wait for a table in the restaurant, so we chose to grab a booth in the bar area. Our server was good at the start, and brought our requested beverages quickly. Cocktail for me, Beer for my SO.
We asked for bread and butter, and it did arrive after our second request.
As soon as we had decided what to order, our appetizer order was taken quicky- we chose popcorn shrimp and steamed clams. The shrimp was delicious, crisp and hot with a tasty remoulade for dipping. The clams were less than great. First - no drawn butter for dipping. I'm not sure what the dipping liquid was, but it was green. I should have asked! And I know that clams don't always open, but I should receive a dozen clams in my order. I think there were perhaps 8 small clams for $8.95.
We ordered another round of drinks. This round took quite a while to arrive at the table. We looked over to the bar and noticed that our server was getting a massage from another waiter and was really getting into it! Our drinks finally arrived, it was obvious that the drinks had been sitting there for a while because the beer was dead.
We then ordered soup - New England chowder and White Bean and Salmon Chowder. No problems there, but I thnk the Salmon Chowder recipe has changed.
We then ordered our entree - we decided to share the Filet Mignon medium rare and Lobster Tail, but we asked them not to split it. When it comes to the table - Of course - it's split! The Filet is the thinnest piece of beef I've ever seen and cooked within an inch of it's life. The lobster tail is, to put it mildly, puny (3 in long and 1 in wide) and also over cooked. The potatoes taste as if they've been sitting in the refrigerator for a week and are cold. All this for $47.
We try to flag down our server, but she's fighting with another waiter in the middle of the dining room and they're shouting at each other. The music is loud and we can't figure out why they're fighting. We're not even finished with our meal, when a different server we've never seen drops our check- and never asks how our meal is or if we want dessert.
At this point we decided to pay and leave.
I'm writing to the restaurant today and I'll post later to tell you the results.
I've been there several times since it opened. Service at King's is always it's weakest point. The food is usually good -- reliably so. But the service ranges from good to terrible, so we don't go there as regularly as we could.
If anyone knows how to get this point across to the owners of that chain, I'd appreciate it.
I've never had a terrible service experience there. It's always been adequate, sometimes a bit more than adequate, never awful, never wonderful. I do like their food, particularly the large selection of oysters. Ms. Oz and I often go there on Friday after work (having made a reservation -- otherwise the wait is WAY too long) to share a dozen oysters and then either split a dinner or each have an appetizer; my fave is the so-called "N'Awlins BBQ shrimp," which is a substantial portion for an appetizer. Plenty of food that way, and not terribly expensive. Another good one is a po' boy made with scallops -- quite a decadent sandwich, and about $11 with fries and slaw. And if you get there before 7 and snag a table in the bar area, the happy-hour bar portions are good, and pretty cheap as well -- plus, as OheJayne notes, you can also order off the restaurant menu in the bar, no matter what time you're there.there.
Though this place has a New Orleans 'look' and the menu seems to lean in that direction, whatever you do, DON'T order a hurricane...we've tried again and again and have always had to send them back as undrinkable.
I DO love the barbecued shrimp, though.
Update: just back from vacation. I sent a letter of complaint via email to the restaurant manager and the owner. Wouldn't you know it, but BOTH emails bounced back to me! I took the email addresses off of their website, so no doubt they're correct. I'll try again and let you know what happens.
PS - we've eaten in the bar here several times before and haven't had a problem. And besides, it shouldn't matter where in the restaurant we're seated - we should have the same service no matter where we are seated.