Service at O'Thym
Had dinner this weekend at O'Thym. While the meal was great and certainly worth what we paid for it, the service was so sub-par that I am afraid I won't be going back until I have heard that they have changed their attitude.
We were a group of nine who had decided to head out for an evening of frolic. We had planned about two weeks in advance and called for a reservation. When our orgainizer called for a reservation, she was told that there would be two sittings, one at six and one at nine. Since we did want to do other things over the evening, we opted for the six pm sitting. We were told then that we had to be sure to arrive on time as they needed us to be finished by nine. Although I found this a little off-putting (we are fairly intelligent people, letting us know there is a sitting at nine implies to me that that is when we need to be finished by) I was willing to let this slide.
When we arrived, however, we were reminded again that we had to be finished by nine. This second reminder did, to me, seem to be excessive and really did make a bad impression on the restaurant. I felt like we were only begrudgingly obliged a place and that the sooner they could be rid of us the better. Later in the meal there were a number of other flaws in the service. For example, in between courses the waitress told me that I had to keep my silverware throughout the meal (i.e. no change between courses). If this had been a lesser establishment that would have been alright, but in a place where I am paying 20-30 for a main it just came off as cheap. Similarly we had brought several bottles of wine and when switching from a white to a red I asked for the glasses to be changed (and there were only two of us changing) I was told (sourly) that they would make an exception if it was just two of us, but normally they wouldn't be able to accomodate us. Towards the end of the meal we were again reminded that we had to scram so they could turn the table. Our server was, throughout the experience, not really very welcoming.
There were some things done right. I asked for a decanter for one of the wines and received it without fuss. And the food was great. However when I am paying these kinds of prices for a meal I expect the service to match. Its not enough to be efficient, but I (indeed everyone) should feel welcome and wanted, rather than a burden. I felt as if the establishment felt it was doing me a favour by allowing me and my friends to dine there.
This was my first time at O'Thym. Could this have just been an abberation. Some of my friends who had eaten there before felt that it was. We were a fairly (although not terribly) large group - are they just not able to accomodate? Or does their service really not match up with the food ? (which again I must emphasize was great).
I don't think reminding you to be done by nine is a big deal, if it was done fairly low-key and politely. Like Johnnyboy said, big groups... (I've worked in restos, I know about that)
Not changing silverware is a bit cheap, as you said. Not changing glasses for wine is the real deal-breaker, though. Even pubs give you a fresh pint glass with each order of the same beer. Although they did do it, so I guess it would depend how "sourly" they acquiesced for it to be something that puts you off the resto despite great food.
I've never been, but those are just my 2c's.
I have eaten many times at O'thym, and the service has always been nice, although I was always with 4 people or less. I am guessing that the reason for your bad experiences was that you were in a large group, often a challenge for a restaurant like O'thym, which is both very busy and has a small crew. Reminding you repeatedly that you had to leave at 9 was probably to make sure that everyone got the message, because they likely have had bad experiences in the past - large groups are large groups, i.e. not always terribly quick on the ball.