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Copper Canyon - never again!

Went to Copper Canyon last evening with my mother to celebrate her 76th birthday. When I'd made the reservations, I explained the occasion to Mike (owner?) on the phone, and he promised me a special table behind a curtain (?) in the bar that she would find very special. He also asked her name so that he could print a happy birthday message on our menus - I was very impressed with his congeniality, and really looked forward to trying this restaurant.

Apparently the word never trickled down to the staff - we were seated in the middle of the front dining room - the din was deafening - while the building is quite lovely, they really should have had the forethought to do something about the acoustics - we couldn't really carry on a conversation. After a minute of perusing the menus, our server then handed us the pre-printed ones - no big deal, just a foreshadowing of things to come.

The menu was quite confusing - appetizers interpersed with main courses - when my mother inquired about the set-up, our server responded that there were small plates and large plates - no further information, offers to explain, etc.

About two minutes into our appetizers, our main courses arrived. My mother was quite put off by that, and asked the server to take them back to the kitchen. I, like an idiot, told him it was okay and that we'd pick at everything - quite frankly, I was concerned that my risotto would come back later like a brick.

That being said, the meal was okay. I paid the check, and we were draining the last bit of our mojitos, when our server came by and told us "Ladies, it's almost 9:00 and time for our second seating - you'll have to leave now." I was absolutely dumbfounded - first of all, I understand the necessity of turning tables for the "second seating" - however, our bill had been paid and we were obviously on the verge of leaving, and it was 8:52 - there were a few tables empty in the dining room, and no line outside. I told him he'd got to be kidding, and he really seemed to either not understand how insulting and inappropriate he'd been, or not really care - probably a bit of both.

Hope you're reading this, Mike, because you just lost a customer. Atrocious!

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  1. what city/state is this place located in? I'd like to avoid it.

    4 Replies
    1. re: mschow

      Copper Canyon is in Atlantic Highlands (NJ), and it deserves both scorn and avoidance in full measure. The behavior Newfie documented is outrageous.

      1. re: mmgpsych

        I'm not doubting the experience that newfie29 had and I completely understand her never wishing to return. In my case however, having dined at CC several times, I've never experienced any such treatment. To say I am a bit surprised is an understatement.

        1. re: bgut1

          As I reread Newfie's accounting, I noticed that she quoted the server as saying "Ladies, it's almost 9 and . . ." Based on that quote, I assumed that there were no males at the table. Maybe the server took liberties that he'd never have taken with you or any other male at a table. It's speculation, I know, and I may be wrong, but sexism still runs rampant in the good ol' U.S. of A.. (I'm sure I've got more than a wee touch of it in my old macho bones as well.) :-)))

          1. re: bgut1

            This is actually pretty common practice at Copper Canyon. It is such a successful restaurant that it doesn't have an effect on their business. Copper Canyon is among my favorite restaurant. The rubbed NY Steak is the about the best dish I've ever had out. Make no mistake about it, this was no rogue server -- this is standard practice at Copper Canyon and complain as you might, you'll get no apology from ownership. My wife and I were once brought to the bar and told to stand behind two people because they "should be leaving soon". This was done in a purposefully loud voice and caused the victims at the bar to move on.
            For that reason, I only go during the week. Like many chef-run restaurants, Copper Canyon suffers from a lack of tact in the front of the house.

      2. I'm also surprised by newfie's experience and hots remark that her treatment is common at CC. We've dined there several x's as well, enjoyed the food..had no service issues..recommended to friends. One visit the room was busy and noisy but other times; no issues. My dh really enjoys the NY steak there.

        1 Reply
        1. re: HillJ

          I couldn't agree more. When the restaurant was across the street (in the space now occupied by Gianna's), there was care and thought given to the total experience. Now, it seems that Copper Canyon management has decided to forego friendly service and once-excellent food for being one of those restaurants frequented by what I like to call the HIgh-Maintenance-Rumson-Gal crowd. It's a place to see and be seen. High school cafeteria with money. Treatment of locals has been dreadful.

          Plus, the food has truly slipped in quality. Slapdash seasonings, sometimes overseasoned to the point of inedibility. Broke my heart to stop going there, as they once made some of the best margaritas ever and served crabcakes to die for.

          I live in AH and I won't go back to CC until I hear about some real changes.

        2. I'm sorry to hear about your bad experience. A 76th birthday celebration dinner is a special event and it's too bad it wasn't what it should have been.

          I've been to Copper Canyon 3 or 4 times in the past couple of years and I've enjoyed the experience overall. As you mentioned, the place *is* loud. It probably would have been best to visit the place before making reservations in order to get a feel for the noise level. I'm sensitive to noise too and I find plenty of places there the sound level is annoyingly loud. Checking a place in advance would have alerted you to this problem.

          Moving on to the menu, I understand your difficulty. They mix small plate choices with full size entrees in a haphazard way. Price isn't always a tip off as to the size of the dish. Once we realized the issue we solved it by asking the waiter what the serving size was for each of our choices. All of our waiters have been pleasant and helpful. Once we had the information we needed it was easy to make our selections.

          As you mentioned, the food *is* good. That's why we continue to go there.

          I suggest you write a letter to the management about the confusion with the special table that was promised to you. I'd be surprised if they didn't make that right.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Bob Martinez

            Thanks for your suggestion - lete me just clarify, while I did find the noise a bit much, it certainly wasn't the deal breaker - it was definitely being asked to leave before the next "seating" that cemented my wish not to return. Perhaps we just had very bad luck with our particular waiter - a shame, but there are too many other places out there waiting to be patronized to put up with that kind of treatment.

            1. re: newfie29

              Has anyone been in recently? I have a gift certificate and was considering a visit tomorrow night. I wonder if its the same old...

              1. re: hotfoodhot

                hot - I dined at CC about a month back and the meal was good. To me, the best item on the menu is the spice rubbed ny strip with shoestring fries. Have some chips and salsa along with a margarita and your good to go. Good Luck.

                1. re: bgut1

                  Good to hear! I can't imagine going to Copper Canyon and having anything other than the steak. If I can convince my wife to order it this time, perhaps I can venture out a bit. When Rose was there, I was afforded a little "special treatment" from the kitchen. This'll be my first visit back since she moved on.

                  1. re: hotfoodhot

                    My friends eat at copper caynon all the time, i ate there for the first time last month, great food, great service. Probably the best steak i've ever eaten.

          2. I have been wanting to try Copper Canyon for a while now...no more. These reviews have completely turned me off, there is no excuse for that kind of service. I would have been pissed!!

            4 Replies
            1. re: frackit

              I went to Copper Canyon and they were very discourteous. I ordered chips and salsa for an appetizer and the waiter asked if I wanted guacamole also. I had said I don't really care for guacamole and he went on to tell me it was delicious, etc. I still said I wasn't a fan but he said just taste it and I just made a face rather than say no. He brought the guacamole and I tried one chip in it and didn't care for it. When we got the bill, there was a $10 charge for the guacamole. I said I didn't order it and his response was "but you ate it!" They are a very arrogant bunch. From that point I went across the street to Gianna's which was absolutely delicious and have been going there ever since...so should you.

              1. re: lcas

                I just tried Copper Canyon for the first time Saturday. When my friend and I got there we were asked if we wanted salsa, chips, and guacamole as soon as we sat down. We had no idea that the total for the two items would come to about $15! Now maybe I'm ignornant because I don't eat Mexican that often, but I was surprised because other places at least the salsa and chips are complimentary.

                We both had the ahi tuna salad with avocados. The avocados were fresh, the tuna was fine, but the wasabi dressing was so unbearably hot neither one of us ate the salad.

                It was a rather disappointing experience. Won't be returning. Too many other restaurants in AH to try out.

                Side note - Where is Gianna's?

                1. re: dani0622

                  dani - Sorry about your disappointing meal . With regard to Gianna's, here you go - http://www.giannasrestaurants.com/

                2. re: lcas

                  Gianni's isn't accross the street anymore, it moved about 8 months ago, guess you haven't been for a while, you're missing a good meal. It's on rt 36

              2. Just got back from our first and last dining at Copper Canyon; while my spice-rubbed steak had nice flavor, and was reasonably well cooked, that was the only highlight of the meal.

                the chips were overloaded with too heavy a hand of spice. The guacamole missing flavor and including five or six chips only.

                As per the entrees, my fiance had the grilled shrimp tostada, with burnt shimp and an uninspiring take on pica de gallo along with an equally uninspired pile of pineapple. My steak was okay; again, a little overspiced for me as per steak but the flavor was undoubtedly quite nice. The fact that 3/4 of the plate was covered with french fries dressed down the dish and made the whole meal difficult to eat.

                I'm sure its a good place to try different kinds of tequila, but for the prices charged ($78 before tip for chips, salsa, guacamole and two entrees), the quality and thought behind each dish was lacking

                1. I attempted to go to CC when it first opened in it's orginal location across the street. We were walk-ins, and they said they could not accomodate us. No problem, we figured we would have a drink at the bar and come back another night to try the food. Well, apparently, they had no room for us at the bar either--although it was empty, there were "reserved" signs and they would not allow us to sit there, nor were they in any hurry to even get us a drink, even though we were willing to stand behind the empty bar to enjoy it. After being ignored for quite some time, we left and have never returned. Their lack of courtesy and good service has been apparent from the start!