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Apr 28, 2009 07:26 AM

Awful experience at Mamma Maria

This weekend, my husband and I took friends from out of town to Mamma Maria, and I'm sorry to say that we greatly regret the decision. Despite having had a good experience there once before, this experience was so bad that it is highly unlikely we'll ever return.

We made reservations and arrived about 10 minutes early. They weren't super busy, so were able to seat us right away. The beginning started well, we ordered an antipasto plate for the table, as well as our entrees and a bottle of wine. The antipasto plate came out in a reasonable timeframe, as did the wine, and we very leisurely ate the appetizer. That's when things started to go wrong.

We probably took about 20-25 minutes to finish the appetizer. We then waited for at least 30-40 minutes more for our entree. It was long enough that we completely finished the bottle of wine (only three were drinking) and were still waiting for our entrees. Our waiter never came by to acknowledge the wait until we flagged him down to ask. He said he would check on it.

About five minutes later, three of the four entrees were served, but the remaining entree did not come out for at least another 10 minutes. The three entrees that did come out had clearly been sitting for some time, tasted lukewarm and was congealed. When the final entree (a steak with foie gras on top) finally did come out, the steak itself was piping hot, but the foie gras was cold. The waiter also never came back to check on how the entrees were or whether we were enjoying our meal.

Clearly, something had happened to the original steak, and it had to be refired. Rather than refiring all four dishes, three entrees were left waiting for half an hour and served at a subpar temperature. They also clearly didn't want to waste the foie gras, so just slapped the old one on the new steak.

At the end of the meal, we flagged down the waiter for the check and proceeded to wait another 15 minutes before he actually came back to our table (he was in and out serving other tables in the meantime, however). While he tried to appease the situation after 15 minutes had gone by by presenting a dessert plate on the house, it was frankly too late. In addition, he didn't tell us WHY we were waiting so long for the check, so he succeeded only in making us angrier and angrier for the continued wait. Then we still had to wait another 10 minutes for him to actually appear with the check.

Overall - bad experience from both a service and a kitchen point of view. Highly disappointing.

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  1. I hope you addressed your concerns to the manager on duty.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Karl S

      To be honest - at that point, we just wanted to get the heck out of there.

      1. re: lorita113

        Call them today. Sooner rather than later. They should know - this was unacceptable. Don't do it in a tone of voice like you're angling for a comped meal, btw. Be straightforward and undramatic, working on the assumption that you believe they would want to know about this. You can even tell them you were advised on Chowhound to do this.

        1. re: Karl S

          It's not the customer's job to police the restaurant. When I've run into problems like this, sometimes I'll complain, but other times you really do just want to get out of there as quickly as you can so you can forget about it and get on with having fun.

    2. Not to defend the restaurant because I have never been there but I have always wanted to try it...that said, I feel that any restaurant deserves an opportunity to try to "make things right". A bad experience is never acceptable but it does happen and the restaurants that truly care about customer service and customer satisfaction will always try to find a way to make it right. This past Saturday, 4 of us went to Via Matta, and mostly it was very good, however my medium-rare steak came out medium to medium-well and I mentioned it to the waiter and the Manager came over, offered several alternatives, took it off the bill and gave us several desserts to try. Although my steak was over-cooked, they still left me with a good feeling because they were so accomodating. The Manager or owner of Mamma Maria may not have even know of your bad experience and now they are being "raked over the coals" with no opportunity to respond or to make it right.

      1. I would have certainly sent back "congealed" food.

        2 Replies
        1. re: C. Hamster

          9Lives and I sent back some soft shell crabs at Peach Farm which didn't seem quite up to snuff compared to previous batches we've had there and the manager came back and confirmed that they were indeed frozen, not fresh, and took them off our bill. It definitely pays to complain promptly when the complaint is legitimate...

          1. re: barleywino

            I'm sorry to hear this. I've always had pleasant experiences there. Hopefully it was a one-time thing -short staffed, or new waiter or something. Still no excuse, but I hope that's all it is.

        2. I'm betting they had staffing issues in the kitchen that had lots of patrons complaining and your server running in circles (slow check?). If all the dishes were tepid, that's one thing, but when one is piping hot and the rest not, its hard to blame the server. Anyone else there that night have a thought?