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Jul 15, 2001 05:42 AM

Indian Nightmare in Artesia!

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After hearing an excellent review of Shan Restaurant (Southern Indian/Pakistani) in Artesia by Johnathan Gold on KCRW yesterday, I decided to take an evening and drive from LA to OC and give the restaurant a try (Indian is my favorite food!)

After 40 minutes of travel, my partner and I arrived at the restaurant. There were no crowds, but there was also no formal seating pattern. A large family of seven cut before us. Clearly getting a table was a game of "every man/woman for him/herself".

Once we were seated, which (though random) didn't take that long, our order was taken. And then we sat quietly reading every english language Indian and Pakistani newspaper....

They brought us our watermelon juice, everything seemed normal. Happily, they served tray after tray of food to the tables around us. Frustrated Indian/Pakastani families SCARFED DOWN their seemingly wonderful meals as my partner and I waited for 50 MINUTES....

We are very patient people, but 50 minutes? The watermelon juice (which was a little to sweet in my opinion) was gone, as was our enthusiasm for the food. After being told three times our food was coming in "just a minute", we got fed up, paid for the watermelon juice and walked out.

If you have a night to spare (like three hours), take your time and try the restaurant. Bring reading material, a snack (maybe some Nan from The Curry House in West Hollywood), and a whole lotta patience!

Has anyone else had this experience with Shan? Do tell....

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  1. I have a friend whose business frequently took her to areas of Orange County filled with ethnic restaurants.

    At several of them, she was shunned in the same way you were, food she ordered was suddenly unavailable, etc; while people of the pertinent ethnicity were ushered straight through.

    Her feeling was that, while everybody was unfailingly polite, they simply didn't want her business. Could this be what you encountered, or were they simply sloppy?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Todd Everett
      Le Chef Magique

      Exactly! I would like to think that this wasn't the case, and that we just had one bad night of sloppy service, but 50 MINUTES is an embarassingly long time to wait at a restaurant no matter where you are or who you are.

      People next to us actually began to stare at us and feel bad for us...

      Thanks for the response....

      1. re: Le Chef Magique

        Not to belabor this, but why did you wait so long? If I'm kept waiting as little as five minutes at a lunch counter without at least some sort of asknowledgment (menu, water, "I'll be with you in a minute..."), I'll hit the road -- and that's if I'm feeling generous.

        Same goes for those restaurants that won't honor your reservations but suggest you pay for a couple of drinks while they get around to seating you.

        There are plenty of places around that would like your business, I'd think.

        Generally speaking (and not just in restaurants!), if you allow somebody to get away with something, they'll see no reason not to stop.

        1. re: Todd Everett

          Re. the matter of waiting for a reserved table, what is an acceptable amount of time to elapse before the host/manager should make some sort of gesture in terms of food or drink, or offer of dessert later, if any? I don't like to be rushed from my table when I'm having dinner, so would I want to go to a restaurant that would rush a party that has my table, so that my reservation is honored on time? It's a tough question. Any other thoughts or comments on this situation?

          1. re: Mike Kilgore

            im always concerned about complaining if staying at the restaurant. what will happen to the food behind those kithen doors. or maybe im over reacting to reading the horror stories in that new best seller "kitchen secrets."

          2. re: Todd Everett
            Le Chef Magique

            We were excited to try the food. But we gave ourselves a time limit...a lengthy one at that....

      2. Actually, I had a similar problem at my one and only visit to Empress Pavillion in Chinatown. My boyfriend, his brother, and I had gone for dimsum then ordered crab fried rice. We had to repeat the order to the waiter again, then waited about 45 minutes to receive a dish of rice that had less than a teaspoon of crab (for a party of three!). Our bill was very cheap but we're never coming back or recommending such an experience to anyone.