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Charlie Palmer going downhill, FAST!

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what a let down! My wife and I got a gift check from open table so we decided to use it at Charlie Palmer. We had eaten there a handful of times in the past and thoroughly enjoyed it, Saturday night on the other hand was a HUGE letdown! To start, when we walked in at 8:30 for our 8:30 reservation we were told that they were very backed up and to bare with with them. We ended up getting seated around 9, no big deal. Then we got to our table and there were a handful of open tables which was a little annoying considering we were waiting for 30 minutes, again, no biggie. Then it took over 15 minutes for us to even get menus, i mean, the busboys had brought us bread and water and we still didnt have any menus. Finally we get the menus and they dont bring us a wine list, so i have to ask someone else to get me one. Then we order and when i ordered the surf and turf i was told the were out of Lobster so i had to pick again. I opted for the Filet, but was pretty dissappointed as the surf and turf is the main reason i go there. The appetizers came pretty quickly. the tuna tartare was great as usual, but then the wait began for our entrees. We actually waited so long that a server came over and asked if we wanted coffee or cappucino until we told him that we hadnt even gotten our entrees yet!! a manager then came over and said they kitchen got "sidetracked" and the food would be out shortly. "side-tracked'!? what does that even mean???? backed up maybe, but what are they side tracked doing in the kitchen?? did they have the football game on or something?? i just felt that was a poor excuse. We continued to wait and finally the food came. It was decent, but defintiely not worth what we had been through. The table next to us actually had more problems than we did so they asked to talk to a manager. As they were finishing up talking with him my wife called him over, after she went over all of the problems we had the guy didnt even respond, no im so sorry, nothing, not a word!!!! finally we got the general manager over, he was very nice and apologetic, he said he just moved here from the NYC restaurant and had worked with CP for 18 years. He tried to buy us dessert or drinks but by this point we were ready to get out of there. The table next to us got everything comped, we had already paid the bill so i just wanted to get out of there knowing that i will probably never be going back. What a shame! when it opened it had potential to be one of the top spots in DC. Hopefully this new manager can whip the place in to shape, but he will have his work cut out for him!

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  1. So sorry to hear about your experience! It's good to know though, I went a few weeks ago and had a fantastic experience, but I guess not every place is perfect. It's good to have CH to hear about everyone's experiences. It's a shame too, because a lot of what happened really could've been handled better by the management/servers, instead of tired excuses with no actual problem-solving.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gyozagirl

      I hate having such experiences, though thankfully they're rare. Some people belong in the restaurant business and some don't. Looks like you ran across some folks who should be in a different line of work.

    2. Any time you hear the words "please bear with us" when you arrive at a restaurant, run for the door, because it's just going to get worse.

      1 Reply
      1. Sorry to hear that. I went about a month ago and was happy with the whole experience.

      2. I imagine "side-tracked" mean "we forgot to put your order in". Hopefully this was a seriously off night.

        Seeing that the table next to you had problems as well I wonder if it's not the fault of the waitress---if you were in the same section that is. They should have at least comped you your entrees which were insanly late. That's just good business if you are repeat customers. If you had already paid I'm sure a gift certificate is available as well that they could have given you.

        1. The first thing that should ALWAYS occur when a restaurant of this caliber is having difficulties is to buy the couple a drink and send out a small inexpensive appetizer to help them relax and nosh on. It shows that they appreciate their business and 99.9% of the time will not create an impatient diner or start off the evening in the wrong direction.

          What bothers me more than the bad experience is when they add insult to injury and BUY YOU NOTHING but just keep apologizing. It's hallow and really annoys me to where I doubt I will ever go back to that particular establishment.

          1 Reply
          1. re: LoveFood2Much

            The general manager said he didnt have any cards yet, but he gave us his name and said we should mention it when we make our next reservation, which will not be anytime soon!