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Aug 25, 2008 03:39 PM

Sad to say, bad service at John Andrews, Egremont, MA

It is with a sad heart that I wrote a letter to the GM of John Andrews with my "review" of my last meal at JA. Am I the only person that wonders why restaurants can't update their websites to reflect the current menu? :(

This is part of the letter I wrote to the GM:

This past Saturday I dined at John Andrews Restaurant with one of my best friends.We both look forward to our time in the Berkshires and based on my visit to JA last year, I made reservations for the both of us in anticipation of a nice night out. Unfortunately our visit did not live up to the hype I gave it and I want to express my displeasure to you.

We arrived about 5 minutes before our reservation and were promptly seated by the host that night. I was a little taken aback to our seat which was, for lack of a better term, near the “wait stand”. I noticed other couples in the other room at very nice tables and our table placement was less than ideal with people that had to visit the rest room and wait staff perched near our table as to be out of the way for the other tables. Still, I was not going to let our table deter us from a great meal.

When the server came back with our drinks, I asked if the warm mozzarella salad was available and she very rudely said “NO.”. OK fine, but did she have to be so mean about it? Isn’t it a compliment that that salad was so great last year that I wanted it again? Perhaps a “I’m so glad you enjoyed that salad and if I could suggest another salad” would have been so much more friendly. Did you know this salad is still on your website as part of the menu? In retrospect I see that the menu is your SPRING menu. Perhaps it would behoove you to keep the menu current for those of us who don’t come as often and do use it as a point of reference before we come to the restaurant. But in any case, we decided we would then split a small portion of the Ricotta Gnocchi and have the Sea Scallops and I would have the Hanger Steak.

I will say in general, the food was great. The focaccia bread was outstanding and the pasta was delicious. My steak was definitely more rare than I normally eat it and my friend’s scallops were definitely on the “under-done” side but at no point did anyone come over and ask us how our meals were! My friend had her bread plate cleared but I didn’t. And then she had her drink glass cleared but I didn’t, even though they were both empty at the same time. At this point, we were both getting annoyed about the service and being treated as if we were fixtures in the restaurant and not guests. So much so that we didn’t order dessert, which we were so looking forward to.

When our server came with the check, she just placed it down without so much as a thank you. And trust me, I was being super observant at this point because I was upset and after that, we decided we were DONE. I was going to express my displeasure to the host, but it’s not her fault. She was quite lovely as was the bread person and the person who gave us water never made us wait. They were excellent. I was very put off by the disrespectful attitude of the server.

I am in event planning and also have been in the hospitality industry for many years and I observe the behavior and service very closely. It is always apparent to me when a server seems “put out” because we don’t want or don’t order alcohol or a bottle of wine and then the service seems to dwindle after that.

I was embarrassed to have recommended this place so highly to my friend and also to many others. The type of service we received was unprofessional and doesn’t befit the quality of the food which is really wonderful. But even with such wonderful tastes, I still left JA with a sour feeling in my mouth and a sad feeling in my heart.

I hope you will call this attention to the appropriate staff member and that the service can match the food for those who will continue to enjoy it. I will not be one of those guests after my last experience.

So sad really. Niccole, I hope you continue to have great dinners there!

I will let you know if I hear anything from the GM based on my letter, which I just sent to him via email a few minutes ago.

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  1. Thanks for this. There have been a few mixed reviews lately. I have been recommending JA for a while, but will no longer be able to until I get there myself for a first hand report. A few others have had similar concerns- wonder what's up.

    1. Same here bf111, so please keep us all posted.


      1 Reply
      1. re: Harp00n

        It's really sad because I was so looking forward to my visit. :( But I will keep you all posted. :)

      2. I don't seem to see the problem here. Sure, it didn't sound like your server was overly friendly, but it doesn't sound "bad". I mean, is the clearing of your guest's glass/bread dish but not yours really that big a deal?

        Also, is it your place to say what the waitess SHOULD have said, WRT the salad? I mean, they didn't have it. She said so.

        And really, someone has to sit at the less desirable tables. If you weren't satisfied with the table, why didn't you speak up?

        I DO agree that the posting of last season's menu is flatout annoying and would bother me, too.

        1 Reply
        1. re: invinotheresverde

          Like I said, I understand that there are undesirable seats and the such but I guess I failed to say our server was nothing but nice to the guests that had wine, etc. To the point where my friend with me suggested we order something alcoholic and see if her mood changed. And I don't appreciate that she NEVER asked us how our meals were. Not as she served them (does everything look ok?), not a few minutes after, not after she picked up our plates to which I had over half of my meal left. I didn't want it wrapped up but she didn't even ask. I thought these were lapses in the service but her attitude was more annoying than anything.

        2. Great report Foodie!
          I've been a JA fan since Nicole told us about the place years ago.
          Fortunately we've never had the experience you just had.
          Personally I would have said we wanted different seating from the time you saw seating you didn't like.
          If the place wasn't crowded I'm sure you would have gotten better seating.
          As for the service there is not much to say.
          You got "sub-par" service and you didn't like it.
          At least the food was excellent.
          Personally when the sevice is that bad I either let the waiter/waitress/owner know andI cut the tip drastically.
          T-I-P- means "to insure promptness " and if the service was bad you cut the tip.
          I usually tip 20%-25% all the time but I've walked out leaving no tip at all(Zinc in Lenox) when the service was just plain awful and no one did anything about it.
          Please keep us informed about what response you get from the GM.
          I would have tried to talk to the GM at the time this all took place.
          Waiting like this,after the fact,has less of an impact than a confrontation at the time of the lousy service,ect.
          You probably didn't"want to make waves" with your friend there and all,and I can understand this.
          My wife gets embarrassed when I make a stink about lousy food or service but,hey,I'm paying for good food and good service and if either is not up to par someone has to hear about it.
          It's your obligation to tell someone about it and I'm glad you told us all about it here!
          Thanks again---
          Appreciative Catnip

          2 Replies
          1. And I should reiterate that after my question about the salad on their website menu and the cold "NO" I received, there was not one more word spoken to us the entire night. She came and brought the meal and the check and that was it. I also don't need a fake friendly person but SOME communication would have been nice. Had I not had another experience which was positive, I probably wouldn't have been so critical but I guess I was "spoiled" with my first visit to JA and I expected my second visit to be just as nice, and it really wasn't.

            1. Sad to hear about your experience with the poor service.

              I've been to JA about 3 or 4 times the past few months and have had good experiences, though I have noticed a few inconsistencies. The service is sometimes amateur and some servers have an air of snittyness, but we try to engage them and often have a great experience with them.

              As for the food, I absolutely love their fried oyster salad, however, one of the 3 times I ordered it, the oysters weren't cleaned properly and grayish slimey stuff oozed out. I guess it depends who's in the kitchen on the night you go. I had a fabulous softshell crab dish recently and my hubby likes the huge pork chop though I found it a bit tough.

              I still love JA but I don't go expecting it to be perfect. Some evenings they're at the top of their game and some not, so I can't explain it. The desserts are always wonderful though. Oh, and they have a great winelist -- we've discovered some excellent ones at JA.