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Aug 4, 2009 09:52 AM

Seating question re: Zuni

I had a dinner at Zuni on Sunday night. I hadn't been there in years. Great hamburger, wonderful dessert. Service was fine.

We arrived just after 10:00 p.m. and the place was nearly empty. We were seated upstairs at a table for two that was in between two tables of large parties. Maybe they only had one waiter working and we had to all be in his area, but sitting so close to the only other occupied tables in the restaurant made conversation difficult, and it always seems louder on the second floor.

This was magnified when two of the people sitting next to us had a lengthy and heated argument, complete with one of them storming off and his girlfriend/wife yelling after him to return, which he did, which was followed by more arguing. I can't remember ever seeing anything like this in a restaurant. Certainly the horrible behavior of these people wasn't the fault of Zuni, but if we hadn't been seated right next to them . . .

Can anyone tell me if you can get full menu service in their bar area (the tables in the window at the point of the building, on your left as you enter)? Is the upstairs room the only option for late night dining?

I have received very icy reception at Zuni in the past, which is why I didn't ask about the seating options when I first arrived. And it didn't seem to matter at first.

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  1. i like the bar area for lunch, especially the tables at the pointy end. and yes, you can get the full menu there.

    1. You can order in the bar area, though it's not so comfortable.

      Given that the place was nearly empty they'd probably have been happy to move you to a quieter table in another room.

      1. I'm a huge fan of those little bar tables in the funky glass corner at Zuni, and the last few times I was there I got full menu service. Admittedly a while ago. Note on their web page they don't have a bar menu, which would be corroborating evidence, not the final word.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bbulkow

          The full menu has always been available in the bar, though I find the tables too small and rickety and often that area's uncomfortably crowded.

          Not that crowding would be a problem when the place is nearly empty, but in that case I'd rather have a normal-sized, solid table. We often walk in after 10pm and almost always get seated in the downstairs dining room by the kitchen.

        2. So was your server aware of this disturbance? And did he or she offer you any consideration for your bad luck?

          7 Replies
          1. re: BernalKC

            Are you implying that the restaurant should have given them something for free because the couple at the next table got in an argument? Weird...

            1. re: srr

              Its not about getting something free. Its about taking care of your patrons.

              I would not expect anything beyond acknowleding the problem and trying to help resolve it. Depending on when it happened, a server could offer to relocate the victims, or potentially 86 the offensive party. They could comp a drink, send a triffle of some sort along with the next course to simply let the patrons know they understand their inconvenience and convey that they want to help them salvage a good time.

              1. re: BernalKC

                Yeah, a restaurant with great service would do any or much of the above, but I've never had service good enough at Zuni for me to think of it as a restaurant. I think of it as a cafe with really really good food.

                1. re: BernalKC

                  Absolutely. It's the restaurant's responsibility to ensure a safe and positive experience for all its patrons, especially if they want them to return.

                  If the guy at the next table lights a cigar, it's up to the restaurant to notice and ask him to put it out. Similarly if a woman were loudly shouting on her cell phone.

                  I would probably never go back to a restaurant that allowed people next to me to ruin my dinner, no matter how much I liked the food, especially at that price point.

                  The question is did they even notice?

              2. re: BernalKC

                The server couldn't have missed it. A simple, "Is everything OK?" from him probably would have ushered them out, as they had long since finished eating and had paid the bill. I don't blame the server for this at all, and would not have expected him to do anything for me (other than sympathize) but it would have been very easy to ask these people to leave since they were clearly finished with their meal and had paid.

                I was just left wondering if I could have avoided the whole thing by staying downstairs and now realize that yes, I could have. Thanks to all for your responses. There seem to be so few places to get a late dinner that I'm sure I will return.

                1. re: Bay Gelldawg

                  It is not easy, it's downright delicate in fact, to ever ask a patron to leave unless it's a dive bar and they're breaking bottles of longneck Bud on the pool table.