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Mar 23, 2008 10:29 AM

Mike and Anne's then off to Briganti for a night of bad policy and service

After spending a lovely afternoon in the sun my husband and I decided it was time to eat dinner. Wanting to continue the outdoor theme and decided on Mike and Anne’s in S. Pasadena. We’ve been there once before and had pretty bad service but it was when they first opened so we didn’t want to judge it on that. It was 6:15 or so and I called to see how busy they were. The person said they were fairly busy. I said I wanted to sit outside and she said the first reservation they had was at 8:15. So we took it and despite being fairly hungry. I stated the reservation is for outside.

Two hrs later…we get there and they tell us 30-45minutes for a table. I asked why and they said that after 6pm they can’t guarantee a table outside b/c they can't turn tables outside. She said they had other people (walk ins) waiting and we’d have to get on the back of the line. I asked what difference it was between turning tables inside or outside? She said “you never know how long people take to eat”. Was she kidding? It was the dumbest response I had ever heard. Of course you never know how long people will take. Then I asked what my reservation meant. Why bother taking reservation when it’s really first come first serve. Why didn’t they tell me of their policy over the phone and we would have gladly came 2 hrs ago when it was still light out and we were hungry? She had nothing to say. They were rude and at this point we left to go to Briganti…

We finally sat at Briganti. I loved the food at Briganti but their service there has always been flaky so its somehow always plan B. Last night they took bad service to a new level. We were promptly seated and got menus. The waiter came by and tells us of the specials. He rattles off about a T-bone steak. I ask how much it is and his response, “I have no idea” he strolls off and after a few minutes he tells us it’s $32. I wanted red meat but ordered the NY steak instead of the t-bone. It was $7 cheaper and had a balsamic glaze.

Our orders come out and it’s the t-bone. I ask what happened and the waiter comes back and tells me they sold out of the NY steak so I have to take the t-bone. But I tell him that’s not what I ordered. He says I have to take the t-bone and so I ask if they would honor the price of the NY steak and he says ”no”. I’ve waited tables and hosted before and if you sell out of something it’s pretty standard you first tell the customer and if it was an accident then you honor the price of the cheaper dish. They stood there with the t-bone in my face and I said I didn’t want any of it and wanted the sole which was now significantly cheaper than either steaks. A few minutes later the guy comes back and tells me “oh, we didn’t sell out of the NY steak. We found one in the kitchen” without giving me time to refuse he walks away.

Minutes later he comes back and tells me “you know I’m doing you a favor by giving you the NY steak for cheaper” I ask what he meant by that and he repeats his sentence. By now I’m confused. So you mean to tell me that you’re going to give me a discount on the NY steak which I initially ordered? After a few back and forths it turns out he’s just trying to tell me that the NY steak is cheaper than the T-bone. He came over to tell me as though he was doing me a favor but really it was no favor. So I say in return “ so you’re going to sell me the NY steak for the price it’s advertised on the menu, right?” I understand it’s cheaper than the t-bone so what favor are you doing me? He then gives up and walks away. I felt like I was at a used car lot making a deal, not a restaurant trying to order a meal.

We are taking a long hiatus from eating in S. pasadena.

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  1. YEIKS!
    What a nightmare evening. I'm so sorry tohear about that...ugg.
    Head to Shiro, next time...always great service, super mellow, the wine list is wonderful, and of course, the food is excellent.
    It's my So. Pas fav.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tatertotsrock

      shiro is the last restaurant standing for us besides carrows in so. pasadena. we had drunk mean waiter at 750 ml and now last night.

      the thing that makes me mad about mike and anne's is that they clearly have a problem w/ the kitchen and managing the flow from the back to the FOH. maybe it's a small kitchen or they don't fire foods efficiently? whatever the case is, they blame it on the customers by saying dumb things like "you don't know how long people take to eat". then wouldn't all restaurants have the same problem? when we were leaving we heard a woman practically screaming "what do we have to do get served here?". it's clear they can't turn tables b/c of bad service/management not b/c of customers taking too long. if anything, they take too long b/c they don't get their food!!

      and as for the situation briganti? the last time i felt like i was being held hostage was when i was trying to lease a car. the guy kept going back and coming back telling me i had a great deal when really he just moved some numbers around. except this time i was being held hostage by a T-bone steak. the waiter belongs in a dealership, not serving food at a restaurant. to add insult to injury the manager kept coming over saying "look we fixed it for you!". Fixed what? your mistake? why did he bother coming over and telling me this? maybe i look really dumb...hmmm....

    2. Well, I hope you saved some money on the tip. And let the manager know...

      3 Replies
      1. re: Bjartmarr

        That's the key: letting the manager know, either in person or by phone, letter, or email. Of course, management may well be the problem, in which case the best solution is trolley's. Post clear and credible details here, and don't go back. The point is, take some productive action -- the rest of us will be grateful.

        1. re: sbritchky

          both times i was speaking with the manager and they were the problem (well, in the case of mike and anne's) or in cahoots with the server as in the case with briganti. i actually wrote letters to both establishments after the incidents and i never heard a word back. I supplied my phone #, email and home address to make a response back easy. nada!

          1. re: trolley

            As a former restaurant owner, I'm appalled -- chaos happens, but blaming the customer is over the line. And not getting a response to a complaint? A nice letter a gift certificate is the cheapest PR/damage control a restaurant has -- hell, you only really lose the product cost. (And you don't get a boardful of chowhounds poisoned by the second-hand smoke.)

            How unbearably lame.

            I've been curious about Mike & Anne's, but you've saved me the pain. Thanks.