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Nov 6, 2007 04:47 PM

Matt's new space

Is there a bar area now? I have to find a place for drinks this Wed for a casual business meeting. There will be 3 of us, so just looking for a place with a good place to sit, and a little NW ambiance (they are from Philly). They are staying at Silver Cloud by the stadium, so downtown is best (unless we go to pyramid, i suppose). Thought the market would be fun.

Other suggestions?

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  1. Matt's is not particularly known for their drinks or bar, although they do have a bar with limited drink options...maybe more of a view at the bar at Steelhead Diner (a block north of Matts). More swanky option might be Cascadia (if you can get seats during their busy happy hour-- try reserving?). The bars at Waterfront grill (especially if they like some seafood apps with their drinks, recommend the "crunchy shrimp") or El Gaucho are other good options for a business get together. If your associates are into serious mixology, or high-end bourbons or spirits etc, get the window seats in the side room at Vessel bar.

    1. There's a bar now, but there are only stools at the bar from what I remember (no separate bar seating)

      There's an Elysian Brewery near the stadium. Better atmosphere than Pyramid and only a couple blocks away...

      1 Reply
      1. re: CriticalEater

        The Elysian's definitely your spot, hands down. Great for a business lunch or meeting, I go there all the time for that purpose. Good bar with lots of local beer & a pretty good selection of spirits. Pretty good food. Big enough you can find a relatively quiet spot. It's north on 1st or Occidental from the Silver Cloud, south of Jackson.

      2. If you would like to stay up there in the Market, try the little bar in Chez Shea (right next to Matt's). It's small, but fine for 3 people. They have a anything you would want to drink and great appetizers.

        1 Reply
        1. re: janedoe67

          Went to Steelhead for drinks and apps. Food was decent. The crabcake had huge pieces of crab, but the flavor was nothing special, but nothing wrong with it. Interesting caviar dish, sort of like a torte, with 4 diff colors, cream cheese and a side of diced egg, onion and capers. Would go back for a try of the dinner menu, but not in a hurry.

          The out of towners went on to Dahlia.

        2. I hesitated posting on this, but I had an unfortunate isolated experience at Matt's recently. My wife had made a reservation for 15 people two weeks in advance-this was to be her office holiday party. There were no caveats or warnings when the reservation was readily taken. Matt's called to confirm the day before, and when she verified that, yes, she did intend to go forward with the reservation, the caller repeatedly double-checked but said nothing else. When we arrived on time with the whole party the following night, a Monday, the host made a dubious, troubled expression and revealed that it would be a 20 minute wait. This seemed to contradict the concept of a reservation, so I asked why, and he responded by looking at me in a grave way and said that our reservation was "ambitious". He repeated this knowingly. He clearly intended to convey that somehow we were overreaching or even creating a problem just by making the booking and expecting that it would be timely honored. I thought this absurd and I still do, and I felt badly for my wife since she had made arrangements on behalf of the office. I asked him why there would be any doubt about securing a table after making the reservation that far in advance with no prior warning on their part. He said without further explanation that there "always is".

          That being said, aside from this misplaced attitude and the fact that 20 minutes truned into an hour, the experience was fabulous, hence my hesitation to post on the negative. The host served us several bottles of white wine which we drank while waiting, and after being seated; these were ultimately comped. We are also given some complimentary meat and cheese platters. The party seemed to agree that the food was great: the penn cove mussles with chorizo, cava and charmoula was the highlight for me, but the beef loin with cambazola butter and potato parsnip hash was also perfectly cooked, and the large dungeness crab chunks in the squash-based bisque were very impressive. I think we also got comped a little port-style dessert wine as well.

          9 Replies
          1. re: equinoise

            I have had very similar experience with the wait staff at Matt’s but in my case the reservation was for 2. I have been made to wait over half an hour, sent next door for a glass of wine and once I went for lunch and arrived a mere 5 minutes before they were due to close and been told I could not have a table or even sit at the bar. I have never really understood what all the fuss is about with their food, and with the terrible service I have experienced since the remodel I won’t be returning to find out.

            1. re: Charles

              To be fair, I don't think many restaurants will seat you 5 minutes before closing.

              1. re: Lauren

                I disagree if they sign on the door still says open, and in my case the door was open, most restaurants will still seat you. There were still people waiting for food etc. it was very frustrating.

            2. re: equinoise

              Matt's for a party of 15 sounds like a bad idea from the start...
              Had your wife been there before? she had to have known that if even one or two parties before you took longer than expected, there would have to be a wait, right? Even in the new space that's like a third or the restaurant...

              I grant that Matt's maybe shouldn't have accepted that reservation knowing their limitations, but expecting a reservation for a group of 15 at Matt's to go smoothly is shooting for the moon a little bit, no?

              1. re: GreenYoshi

                Neither my wife nor I had been to Matt's before. Even if I had, in my opinion the restaurant should warn the customer at the time the reservation is booked if they aniticipate that they might not be able to accodmodate your party on time. It seems you are empathetic to the restaurant's view, but I think it is unfair to put it on the diner to determine whether or not the restaurant can accomodate her party or not. The restaurant has the datebook and all the knowledge about how their own operation works. If they can't handle a request within a reasonable time of the reservation, a warning is due. 20 minutes might be reasonble, an hour is not.

                1. re: equinoise

                  i've worked all over the floor of numerous restaurants like that including hosting/taking reservations and all i can say is not enough restaurants enforce consistent policies on what reservations to take and how to use their space. that reservation probably shouldn't have been taken and it probably wasn't taken by the people who gave you a hard time (although calling a tight reservation 'ambitious' cracks me up, they never, ever should have made you feel that it was your fault or that you should have known better, but they were probably in part manifesting annoyance with the fool who took the res) the dirty secret is that many host/managers consciously push the limit of what they should accept figuring on cancellations, like airlines overbooking. it's wrong and i never did it but many do. i even had one locally famous owner/manager who thought it was good to be overcrowded and make people wait because it made his place seem in demand and fabulous. he's still in business and everyone thinks his places are fabulous. on the bright side it sounds like matt's comped you guys a ton of stuff and that's the only tool they have to try to make things right by you. they can't kick people out when they linger. bottom line though: an hour's too long to wait on a confirmed reservation and the attitude you got was totally unacceptable. it's nice to get comped stuff though.

                  1. re: equinoise

                    some restaurants will tell customers up front (when they make the reservation)that they will need to relinquish the table at a certain time for the next party and ask the customer whether that is alright, and the customer can decide whether that works for them or not. sounds like they did not tell the customers who had your table(s) ahead of yours. either that or Matt's should've just bitten the bullet and left your table(s) unoccupied for the time slot before your reservation.

                    1. re: barleywino

                      some restaurants do that. more now than when i was working restaurants, but it is a dicey proposition: as reasonable as it sounds on the surface you'd be amazed who many customers get really offended when you try to put limits on their experience and then even if they agree ahead of time very often when the time comes they're still lingering and do not want to be given the bum's rush. (then you've got to comp them a dessert in the bar or something) or if your kitchen is backed up and see where i'm going with this. that system doesn't always work as well as one would like. honestly big parties work best for everyone on the first turn, say before 5:30pm. that way the tables should be ready and waiting.

                2. re: equinoise

                  Making a reservation for a large group of co-workers is nerve wracking - I totally feel for your wife. Unfortunately, Matt's is sort of "known" for having to wait for a reservation. I know, it sort of defeats the purpose of a reservation, but they are small and people tend to linger once they get comfortable.However, bad attitudes are never acceptable.

                3. Last week I went to the bar at Qube, corner of Stewart and 1st. Nice space, inexpensive fancy cocktails and bar food, cheery bartender Adam. Comfortable sofas to sprawl on. I recommend it.