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The Food is Great But I'll Never Go Back

Noise? Long wait? Ignored reservation? Attitude? Wha will make you not go back to a restaurant even when the food has been fine?

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  1. A painful noise level, be it diners or live entertainment, can place a damper on an otherwise great meal but traveling a distance to a resto only to be told they didn't hold our reservation (especially if dh & I are with friends) would be a deal breaker.

    1 Reply
    1. re: HillJ

      For me, I can overlook many things and many miscues if the food is great. e.g., :

      Incorrect Food Temperature on Steaks
      Bad Service
      Bad Attitude and Indifference
      Dirty Bathrooms......most of the time...
      Rude customers
      Children
      Noise and etc.....

      But the only two deal breakers for me is simply a place with long waits(no reservations accepted)..... and pricing and my perceived value received in return. Expensive is not a problem, but being fleeced by small portions or short pours on drinks, but by charging excessively for the experience will not win any points for the scorecard and a return.

      The first time I traveled to the Californian desert in the early 90's, I arrived before the rest of the group in town, so I had a chance to research potential restaurants. There is a place in Palm Dessert/Springs that is one of the better known Steakhouses in the area. In dining issue of Palm Springs Life Magazine, the advertisement for the said restaurant stated they had the best Crab Cakes in the Coachella Valley. When our group dined there, I ordered it as my appetizer. The waiter suggested if I liked Crab, they had a special of Jumbo Alaskan King Crab Cocktail that evening, and maybe I would enjoy that instead. I asked how it was prepared and his reply was "Cold in the Shell with drawn butter". I asked how large the portion size was and his reply was "eight ounces". I said I would be fine with the crab cakes. Two others in our group ordered the AKC Cocktail. For the CrabCakes, What came out were two one inch balls of deep fried crab at a cost of $13.50. I have had Hors Doevres larger than what was served to me. The AK Crab came out with a candle lit ramekin of drawn butter and three sections of AK Crab about the size of your fingers.....hardly Jumbo. When the bill arrived, the price for the crab legs was $39.90 per order.....everyone at the table shook their heads in disbelief. The portion size was also debatable, but even giving them the benefit of doubt, the extension of $79.80 per pound for consumption is ridiculous. The manager walked over and asked how everything was....and I told him he should be ashamed to serve both Crab dishes as they were and to charge such insulting, outrageous prices for such minimally prepared items. His response was the Alaskan King Crab was flown in daily........I told him he was full of S#/T.

      Needless to say, we never returned.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. Being rushed, after two visits, and after I've specifically asked NOT to be rushed and gotten a completely rude response from server and manager on the second visit.

        1. There are a couple things that put a restaurant in the "They won't get another DIME of my money" category, firstly would be bad service, I loathe being served by someone who hates their job, or is terrible at it. I can forgive a novice but I cannot forgive a seasoned pro being a spiteful wench. Secondly is comfort. If I am sitting mere inches away from the next table, I might not even sit in the first place. I do not care how good the food is at that point, if I have to hear the conversation next to me more than my own.

          1. Noise, tiny tables and out-of-control children.

            8 Replies
            1. re: beevod

              You know, I am a hypocrite. There is a local place I go to frequently which is guilty of all of the above attrocities. I might say I will never go back, every time I have a meal near some wretched toddler, but I GO BACK. In point of fact (and may I add that I am indeed the classic misanthrope) food wins out. I am deeply ashamed.

              1. re: NYJewboy

                >>There is a local place I go to frequently which is guilty of all of the above attrocities.

                Do they have a bad attitude, though? I can forgive tiny tables, undisciplined kids, noise, and a long wait, but if the server and owner/manager are conciliatory in addition to the food being great?

                Wins out over shrugging servers and similar owners/managers every time.

                1. re: dolores

                  Went a while back to a highly rated Italian restaurant in NYC (no need to name). Their big thing was authenticity-the chef had studied in Italy, etc. We ordered some unusual dishes, wines, etc. and then ordered what was listed on the menu as "whole roasted branzino". When the fish came out, it was minus the head. I inquired of the server in a nice, non-complaining manner as to where the head was, since it is part of the visual presentation, there are some parts to eat on the head and that again, the menu said "whole". The response from the server and the captain was that "the average customer doesn't want to see the head, so we just automatically remove it". I didn't complain, but just expressed disappointment, which was met with a shrug of the shoulders. I've been at other places-not as fancy-where they at least ask you if you want the head on or not. In keeping with the theme of this thread-food was very good, but I wouldn't ever go back due to attitude.

                  1. re: dolores

                    I am just addicted to their food. I am hopeless.

                      1. re: NYJewboy

                        What's "hopeless" or "hypocritical" about that? It's Chowhound. We're here for the food. And beer for the horses.

                        1. re: NYJewboy

                          Hey, attitude is just not your deal breaker.

                          I would guess you have some other deal breaker. Or not.

                    1. re: beevod

                      I had a friend who told me a story about a table next to him with small children and the parents were allowing the children to run around as they continued to talk. As if that was not bad enough, the child came up to my friends plate and tried to take some of his food off of it!! I can't remember what he said to the parents but I know it was real pleasant. I realize that is not the restaurants fault but thought it was a funny story to bring up!