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"We're done here" - the mid-meal departure [Moved from Texas Board]

We ate - or rather tried to eat - at a very well regarded local restaurant last night. We had heard that it was fantastic and were looking forward to a great meal. That never happened - everything went wrong with our experience.

This was the poorest service we have ever had in five years of eating out - entirely too much - together.

From the 20 minute wait at the bar for even a greeting (there were only 10 people at the bar, there were empty bar stools), to being asked to move, to the bad table where we were sat (dim drafty corner out of view of the main room staring at a door), to running out of certain dishes, to the entrees that arrived so long after our app they were cold, little went right with our visit. When the waiter offered to re-heat (and thereby overcook) my husband's lamb shank, (they were out of the braised osso bucco) he responded with "thanks, but I think we're done here." The highlight of our experience was the manner in which our waiter handled our departure.

This was a first for us and hopefully an only - we are not complainers and frankly we are not picky - but we left mid-meal. The only other time I have done that in my life was in New Orleans and involved a cockroach.

It was almost 10 when we left and we sought out a place we were certain would still serve us. On that criteria we chose Toulouse. I know Toulouse is much maligned on this board but let me tell you, from the always warm greeting at the door which involved a kiss on each cheek, our meal was friendly, prompt and properly prepared. It was a welcome change.

Everyone has a bad day at the office and the restaurant's reputation is likely built on the back of the house. Maybe this one of those freak instances of all of the bad things happening to one set of customers.

But I am curious, has anyone else on this board left a restaurant mid-meal? Tell us your story.

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  1. No, i've never left a restaurant mid-meal. Why won't you name this restaurant?

    1 Reply
    1. re: iluvtennis

      It is impolite to tease us so. Pray tell the name of the restaurant.

    2. Did you ask for a check for what you'd already eaten?

      1 Reply
      1. re: chow_gal

        I and hubby left a restaurant mid-meal, both due to verrry bad service and lack of anything we wanted on the menu. Perhaps I was also having a bad day, I can't remember, but I do remember the manager/owner coming out and she wasn't too upset at there being nothing acceptable for us.

        What is notable is that the service was SOO bad that I wanted hubby to leave no tip but he insisted. Well, the bill was perhaps $16. for what we had up to that point (this was a looong time ago) and he left a two dollar tip.

        Problem was, he put a $ sign in front of the two and...you guessed it, the bank gave the restaurant a TWELVE dollar tip!

        After I reattached my head to my shoulders, I worked it all out. The restaurant, I am happy to report, has closed.

      2. My fiance and I have done it.

        It was about a year ago at a new Italianish place near Highland Village in Houston. It was dead empty so we probably should have known better, but it's right by where we live so we thought "what the heck." Nothing on the menu excited us and after a bad appetizer and terrible service (when we were literally the only couple in the place ...), we bolted.

        1. Not mid-meal, but by ex-bf who was very fastidious insisted on leaving when he found a hair in the appetizer. Personally I thought his behavior was hasty, especially as the owner was humbly apologizing.

          1. I think it would have to be something REALLY extreme for me to leave mid-meal...if it's that bad, i just pay up and don't go back. I have a friend that once ordered some pasta, said it was awful, and wanted to leave right then. My food was fine as was the service. My friend then proceeded to eat more than half the food on her plate, and after she was done, refused to pay! I was soooo embarrassed. That's just not me.