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Jul 24, 2009 11:51 PM

Drunken Crab and the Art of Being a Waiter.

I will start by saying that I feel bad for Wile E. Coyote. In other words feeling bad for someone who is in over their head, out matched and can’t deal with what’s going on... no matter how much they are responsible for it

Dommy and I have been in quite a few restaurants which have not been ready for primetime. We expect occasional gaps in service and are more than patient as new staff gets their legs. When we go to a newly opened restaurant we like to see the raw potential and keep our focus strictly on the chow.

It is with this mindset we went into Drunken Crab in Culver City. We were comforted by flyers in the mail with coupons heralding their opening and being ready for business. The fliers worked, half the tables were full and the place smelled of cooking seafood, garlic, butter and beer. Perfect. Seated and handed menus by the waiter, we picked what we wanted, the waiter went to another table to take their order and disappeared. We waited for the waiter to return to take our order and waited and waited...... Finally He came back with a jumbled pad of Post-it notes and rushed us and another table for our orders and scurried away before the table who had ordered 15 minutes before could flag him down and asked where their drinks were. Then 10 minutes later he came by to deliver some of the food to people who had ordered before we got there. He just plopped down a bag of steamed crawfish There were no Plates, Utensils or drinks at that table either. 5 minutes later he came back with that table’s Shrimp cocktail and they were able to convey the need for what they were missing and also asked how to eat Crawfish, the response was mumbled just take it out of the shell. and he scurried again but not before the table that ordered when we first got in grabbed him and demanded drinks.

I felt bad for the Novice crawfish eaters and gave them a real lesson in how to eat them. but around us the lack of service for all the tables was starting to snowball into a bit of chaos. missed orders, wrong orders, a 1 Lb order of shrimp which looked like 1/2 lb. and no Drinks. People started to get really angry and some even walked out. This waiter was overwhelmed and detached (ignoring tables, never appoligizing... ) and the Kitchen didn’t seem to be able to handle more than 1 or 2 orders at a time.

About 35 minutes later, our dishes arrived, though it took another 10 to get plates. But the waiter would scurry away before we could ask for our sake. Dommy had Shrimp, Sausage and Potatoes which was very good. The Sausage was smokey and moderately Spicy, potatoes a hair underdone and the shrimp over the course of the meal started to taste over cooked since it was in the cook bag longer than it should since we had no plates. I had the Fish and Chips plus a Side of Onion rings. On the Fish and the Rings was a heavy tempura-ish batter which seemed a little under cooked because of the amount of batter but the underlying fish and onions were cooked perfectly. The fries were Sysco, but were cooked well.

While eating the other patrons were discussing the incompetence and how they felt the need to get compensated for it. While we realized that it was not a good situation, the attitude of a few of the customers was toxic and made an uncomfortable situation even worse. Though the service was bad when we actually got our food it was good enough for us to hope they make changes to work out the problems so we can go again and recommend to others. But if you decide to make the trek soon, please let us know if it gets better.

Take Care

- P.

Drunken Crab
10706 Jefferson Bl, Culver City, CA

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  1. We just had dinner. The food was pretty good, but that server will single handedly make this business fail. The restaurant was full and people were walking out because they couldn't get there orders taken. We stuck it out, but this guys attitude will make it unlikely that we will ever go back. Why isn't the owner paying attention to what is happening?

    1. That's rough. A friend of mine's a waiter and he'd love to work Culver City. Maybe I'll tell him about the situation there.

      By the way I clicked on your post because "Drunken Crab" means something very different in Chinese cuisine

      1. E-mail or call the owner, sounds like the place is understaffed, they need more help. Sounds like they need experienced help and maybe some education on the food they are serving.

        1. I've had this happen in other restaurants. A couple of times, I've seen the owners notice, come out, start waiting and bussing tables. Other times, you notice that those in charge just sit around and do nothing to help.

          Guess which restaurants I'll give a second chance to.

          1. Sounds typical, a waiter in the weeds. Happens all the time, and I know exactly how that waiter feels.

            You need to talk to the owners. They need to pitch in, esp. if they want their place to succeed. No owner is above expediting, waiting & bussing tables. It's what you need to do until your staff is in the zone.