How many tries are too many?
I've been to Via Matta four times over the last couple of years and two of those times I've had lousy meals. During a recent lunch I ordered gnocchi with brussels sprouts. The gnocchi were gummy & squishy and the brussels sprouts were overcooked.
I was hoping that this fourth time would be the charm, but now I think Chef Schlow should spend more time at the restaurant supervising his chefs.
Strike four, and for me, this restaurant is out.
I think you gave it enough chances. I'm never one to write off a place after one visit (except I'm still very hesitant to ever try Bravo again) and 4 is more than enough. I've only gone to VM twice and it was good both times, in fact I'm overdue.
Actually, I wrote off Via Matta after one shot. During a business lunch, a colleague was served a chicken paillard having ordered swordfish. When he alerted the server, he (server) paused and simply said "oh," staring back until my colleague nearly blushed and offered to keep the dish.
I almost never write a place off after one try, but I do put it to the bottom of my "to try" list. Given my frequency of eating out (not as often as I wish for financial reasons), this means that it will be years before I will try it again, and therefore there's a decent chance that if enough other people have a poor experience, it will no longer exist by that time. This system works for me!
As an occasional diner, I have to agree with this approach.... my "to try" list is so long and babysitters so infrequent that there are many places that come onto the scene, have long satisfying lives, and are then closed long before I even come close to going. So, if a restaurant is even "meh", it is unlikely that I will ever make it back. Not that they really care, as I am not their bread and butter customer in any case.
For me, it depends on the reason I was dissatisfied. If the food was not so much to my liking, I might try it again if there was something else on the menu that interested me. If the service was a bit disorganized, I might give it another try.
Perfect example. I went with friends last Saturday night for the first time to Siam House in Quincy Center. I had been wanting to try it for a while but hadn't had a chance. Hiddenboston's blog post made me decide to go.
The food was very good, however the service was sorely lacking. It seemed as if they didn't have enough waitresses for the room.
We were a table of 10 people, and some people never got their appetizers, the food came out in dribs and drabs, so that two of us were just about finished eating before the last two got their plates. We had left two hours to eat before a show we were attending nearby, and we just barely made it on time.
However, having said all that, the food we had was delicious and there are a few other items on the menu I'd like to try, so we will give it another go, probably not on a Saturday night, though.