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Nov 11, 2007 04:35 PM

Pullman: A Service Disaster

In town for the Film Festival, we decided to visit the restaurant Pullman this past weekend at the advice of friends (and online reviews). I would be surprised if they stayed in business long what with the dismal service we experienced.

We had a 9pm reservation on a Saturday night. Upon arriving, we had to wait for our table to be "cleaned" for approximately 20 minutes. We ordered a bottle of wine and took in the atmosphere. It seemed the owners had put little thought - or money - into the layout design or decor. The plastic curtains in the entryway that you are forced to walk through are hideous and flilthy. The dark, boring interior is laden with dirty tiles, striving for a cheap industrial-facade. The crowd at the Pullman that night was equally uninteresting; the Pullman reeks "too cool for school" - even the guests seemed to be trying too hard.

When we finally were seated in the upstairs dining room, we were crowded onto a bench already occupied by five guests. Intimacy is ok, but this was taken to the extreme! We were bumped numerous times by both servers and other guests alike, before it became glaringly apparent that our server had yet to even acknowledge us.

An hour passed and not a single server greeted us. We were looking for light fare to compliment our wine which is why we chose this restaurant; a simple appetizer would have been nice. We were offered absolutely nothing. Not even a menu.

As we finished the last two glasses of our bottle of wine, a server approached us and brusquely asked if we would move to an adjacent table so that he would have more room to better serve the other guests. I immediately asked for the check - to which he asked us AGAIN to move.

The same server never returned to take our credit card. We had to take it downstairs to the bartender - who offered to comp us two glasses of wine on our NEXT visit to the Pullman. Sadly, they failed to realize we would not be returning no matter how much they offer to comp for our next visit.

We left hungry and upset. As a restaurateur, I was absolutely appalled by the service disaster that is the restaurant Pullman, and I will strongly urge my friends and business associates to avoid, at all costs, the Pullman in any future visit to Montreal.

Last thoughts: The wine is over-priced. You'd have to be a fool to not realize this.

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  1. Howdy!

    Welcome to the club:

    Next time, can I suggest La Montée de Lait...

    4 Replies
    1. re: zekesgallery

      La Montée de Lait is not a wine bar, for another wine bar experience, I suggest Bu.

      I've always had good service at Pullman, but I'm an early drinker, I go there for an extended 5 à 7 with 1 or 2 tapas.

      1. re: Maximilien


        Pullman is not a restaurant... Pullman is not a bar... Pullman is bad. If you want to snack while you drink wines appropriate to what you're eating La Montée de Lait fits the bill. If you want to be seen and see who is seeing you Pullman is the poor man's Globe.

        1. re: zekesgallery

          La Montee de Lait is a prix fixe menu restaurant - you can't "snack" there, it's not a la carte. Not the same thing at all.
          As for Pullman, I've always had excellent service there, so I can only assume it was just a really off night for them. Then again, if I was drinking an entire bottle of wine, and no one showed up with a menu within a reasonable amount of time, I would have gotten up and found a server and asked for (or more likely demanded) a menu. That level of service does not sound acceptable at all. With our liquor laws, I wasn't aware that you could only order a bottle of wine, even at a wine bar, without any food to go with it - am I wrong about that? It sounds like someone working there really goofed.

          1. re: cherylmtl


            I don't know what your definition of the word "snack" is, but last time I was at La Montee de Lait you could order one dish, or you could order two dishes or you could order whatever the heck you wanted to order.

            Yes the four dishes for $40 is a bargain, but there was no one there with a gun to my head telling me I had to eat four dishes. I have gone to La Montee de Lait and ordered a cheese plate and a glass of wine at 6 pm, which sounds pretty much like a "snack" to me.

            As for Pullman, the people who work there regularly goof, the people who run it seem to me to be goofs, and as a consequence it would be a goof to go there.

    2. Wow, that is truly brutal. I have never been, but after reading your post, can't imagine I will ever go. Had I been in your shoes, I don't know if I would have even bothered to pay---sounds like you could have left and no one would have noticed.

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. It is truly unfortunate that you had a poor experience. Certainly, no excusing it.

          However, I cannot say that I share your experience or opinion of the place. I have always found the service quite friendly and, especially with the addition of Theo from Oenepole to the staff, have taken me on some fascinating wine journeys. As well, I would say that the menu has improved over the years.

          1 Reply
          1. re: thomasein

            Yep. Sorry as I am to hear about the original poster's bad experience, it in no way parallels my own. As a space and restaurant, I still prefer BU but Pullman has got better over the years and Theo is a real draw. Too bad his regular shift is only two evenings a week.

          2. Here's what I thought when I went the first time:

            However, I have to disagree with you regarding the decoration. Except for the shower curtain entrance, I'm really impressed by the decor. I think the place has won awards, for whatever that's worth.
            We also enjoyed the food, even the hamburgers, which I feared would be too twee. And weren't.

            But, if I were you, I wouldn't have thought twice of doing the dine and dash or, in your case, not dined at all.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rillettes

              You know, I'm against dine & dash in principle, but sometimes an experience is just so bad it warrants it. That's what I was thinking too, as I read this.