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May 3, 2009 04:27 PM

Asia de Cuba does not honor reservations?

It's just me, or does a 25 minute delay in sitting a table qualify as a restaurant-no-show? Twice in one month AdC has done this to me (don't ask why I went there a second time) and both times the hosts reacted to my increasingly vocal recriminations as if I were a drone of an old uncle on T-giving day. They offered not a smile, not an apology, nor an explanation: the usnpoken message was that they were too cool to sit tables at the appointed time, and that there ALWAYS was a wait, and I should be happy mine was ONLY 25 minutes.

It's been a long time since something like that had happened to me (Pacific Time in Lincoln Road did it once around 1995 or so, and I didn't go back there for the next ten years; just in time to see it close)

Back to AdC: once we were seated, we ate food that was redolent of another time and another place, the 90's and China Grill, namely, and it actually managed to bring some good memories, while not quite erasing the sourness of the recption.

We had a good salad, chicory and mache, I believe, with crispy octopii or calamari, nuts of some kind and a lot of orangey-raspberryy dressing (yes, you have had this at China Grill ten years ago), a tuna tartar on nacho-like flaky pastry, only OK, a good codfish, not overcooked, crab croquettes that were strangely naff (more puerto saguas than baleen), and a couple other dishes that I forget. All in all, not terrible, but nothing to kill for. The price, if you don't order too much, which we did the first time but not the second, is about par for the South beach scene.

The service was OK, if a little indifferent. The second night, a 10:45 reservation resulted on getting a table at 11:15 and the appetizers around 11:45, we didn't get our main courses until 30 minutes after finishing appetizers; i.e. 12:30 am. The waiter blamed a group of 24 sitting in the iconic table by the entrance; apparently they have it for show; but when faced with actual patrons for it, the kitchen cannot cope.

The scene includes the hottest people on the planet, which seem to congregate there on Fridays (Saturday seemed much quieter), and maybe the punishment by host indiference, and endless waiting is the price you pay to find yourself in such beautiful company. When you get tired of people-watching, you can always enjoy the night-time Miami skyline, not quite the same as hungry pelican, but still.

I may try again in 2019 (if they are still around)...

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  1. a 25 minute wait on a reservation is not that long sorry gal

    1. Though normally I'd say a 15-20 minute window is appropriate, for a 10:45pm reservation I don't find a half-hour window to be out of line.

      1. Lots of places make you wait, especially late evening.

        1. I've waited far longer, not that I'm proud of it. Ironically I waited over an hour the first time I went to China Grill, with an 8:30 reservation. I did not go back for quite some time.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Icantread

            OK, my bad. There seems to be unanimity on this one, so next time I'll just switch to decaf...Still, I can't quite see why later reservations should equate longer waits: the restaurant is half-empty by the time we arrive at 10:45 and the reason they won't seat us is ... oh, wait, they DIDN't give us a reason. Anyway, when we have an 11pm reservation at Michy's, arguably the best restaurant in Miami, they will seat us immediately at any time from 10:30 to 11:30, whenever the concert ends and we happen to get there. I have waited for a 9pm table, but never for an 11pm one.

            1. re: viscalbarsa

              You never said the restaurant was half-empty. I figured it was full with diners still clearing out from earlier seatings, in which case there would be a good reason for not being able to promptly honor the reservation - it is impossible to predict with perfect accuracy exactly how long people will hold onto their tables, particularly when you're probably on the third turn of the tables. If there are tables cleared and re-set, it is inexplicable why they wouldn't seat you other than that they wanted to milk a bar tab out of you first. Which I would agree is offensive.

              1. re: Frodnesor

                That didn't happen when I went there. I was sat immediately.