The Strip Club [MSP]
Has anyone encountered Woto Yet? If so was it great or poor?
thanks Jfood-- but i've heard the expression before, & it still doesn't help me *at all* with the above post. . . does SC have a new menu item called "woto/woto yet?" er whut?
so. confused. . . waiting for the veil before my weak and watering eyes to be lifted, and for the light of woto to reveal itself, and make itself plain. . .
yours in suspense, --sk
I've been out of town for a week and I'm sorry for the suspense. Enjoy the following I hope its entertaining.
I'm part of a group that is not angered easily. We enjoy our company, conversation and we all have a great sense of humor. No matter what the setting, we find that in the end of our evening we’ve had a wonderful time. What you are about to read is a true account of the evening. We left the restaurant knowing we would never return. Yet, we managed to come away with good laughs and bizarre memories. Hope you enjoy the post.
It’s the month of April 2009. I had been invited to join the Diner’s Club. I’ve been told to meet at the restaurant for the 6:15 seating. Arriving 15 minutes early I decided to head for the back of the main floor where the “L” shaped bar was located.
The décor was dark black wood and the shades on the huge front windows were closed but allowed just enough light in to give the restaurant that good old boys club feeling. I ordered a scotch on the rocks with a drop of water. What I received was a thimble jammed with ice and what must have been a one ounce pour. I placed a $20 on the bar and without asking, the bartender smoothly removed the twenty and tendered my tab. I must assume that I’m allowed just the one cocktail. I wasn’t offered to start a tab or asked to transfer to a dinner tab.
After a few sips of my libation I remorsefully looked at a glass filled mostly with ice. The bartender having notice my rapidly consumed cocktail asked of I’d like another drink or a glass of water? I kiddingly responded “What, do I look like a plant? How about topping off the scotch so it would look like a real cocktail? “He chuckled and poured me a glass of water. I took the opportunity to mix it with the remaining Chevis.
My name is Michael and my Diner’s Club Friends are Frank, Suzy and Julia. Frank and Suzy arrive at 6:14 and we headed up to our table on the second floor. The second floor was just as dark as downstairs and had huge windows with shades that allowed the perfect amount of light in to crate the perfect dining experience. The stairs going up were a lot easier to manage than going down.
Our drink order was placed with whoever seated us. The next person to arrive was a female who informed us that our drinks would be arriving soon and asked if there anything else she could get us in the meantime. We said “No, we’re waiting for Julia to arrive.”
I immediately turned to Frank and Suzy and said “I have a feeling that our server wants to be anywhere but here, let’s not pull a “Dave”. Frank asked, “What’s a Dave?” ….so I explained: Remember every time we would eat out with Dave he would ask the server in a belittling way, ‘And your name is?’ (Insert server’s response) ‘Well hi , So and So, I’m Dave. Have you worked here long?’ Yata yata yata… I was convinced that every time I eat out with Dave the cook or server was licking my food. So having determined that our server for the evening was in need of a quick drug hit, a drag off a smoke or simply didn’t want to be there we decided to not pull a “Dave”.
Our server who shall be named “Woto” handed us menus. Given the darkness of the room Frank and I found it impossible to read. I located a small lamp on the table and hit the switch. It provided just enough light to tease me into thinking I could read the menu. Frank excused himself and walked to the corner of the room where a large lamp provided him with plenty of light.
Frank and I were content with the lighting. We didn’t ask for more lighting. Woto using her keen sense of what the customer needs, stood behind me and within 1/100 of a second we had enough light that equaled that of a solar flare exploding in your face. What had Woto done? With the evening sun setting so that it was parallel to the window of our table, Woto, with the twist of her wrist opened the shade of a window that was larger then a Buick, blinding every patron in the restaurant. The looks we received by fellow diners convinced us that we were going to be stabbed once we left the restaurant. To this day I can’t imagine what the diners thought had occurred on the first floor. I quickly closed the shade and tried to convey to the other guests that I hadn’t asked for the light. Going for pitch darkness to blinding light to pitch darkness within 15 seconds whirled my visual senses into total chaos. I believe it is worse then being water boarded.
Julia, having arrived late, ordered vodka water with a twist of lime. We asked Woto if we could place an appetizer order now. “No, I have another table to take an order for; I’ll take it when I bring her cocktail.” I suggested to Julia that she order a double because of what happened at the bar. Before we could catch Woto she was gone.
We like to share our food orders which allow us to get a taste of a lot of different menu items. This was made perfectly clear to Woto because we said “We like to share what we order.” Julia got her thimble of vodka and we ordered Baby Artichokes, Tenderloin Tartar
and bread and butter. Three of us ordered the strip, and asked for the sauces on the side because as we told Woto “We like to share what we order.”
Unwinding from a long productive day at the office Julia welcomed the first and only swallow of her cocktail. She shows me her glass and I motion to her to get Woto’s attention. Not wanting to seem too eager to order another so quickly, she observed Woto pass by our table three or four times. Had Woto cared about her job she would had noticed Julia sucking each cube dry of vodka. After the fourth pass we were to never see Woto again. Not until twenty minutes had passed by and we tactfully flagged her downed by the showing of four hands in the air waving wildly. Successful. Woto told us that our food will be here shortly and will bring the drinks after she brings the food.
The Baby Artichokes arrived first. It was10 to 15 chunks of asparagus sitting a small bowl with what tasted like wine, parsley and garlic.
Second to arrive was the bread and butter. The bread honestly looked like a small hoagie bun cut diagonally into six pieces. Suzy loves her bread and began to divide it up. Six piece four diners each of us gets one piece and two remained. As Suzy stares at the bread we all took a bite of the artichokes. Hard as a rock. Most artichokes I’ve consumed have been soft. Maybe it was intended to be raw and hard. I look up and discover the bread is gone.
Suzy no trying to look guilty as sin waves down Woto and asked for some additional bread. Suzy asked is there an additional charge for the bread? Woto very clearly state “Yes, you will be charged for the second order of bread.” Suzy, flabbergasted shared with Woto that most restaurants serve much bigger portions of bread and that she is used to having as much as she wants. Woto’s response was “If you want more bread cook up double the amount of bread when you are at home, but here, this is what you get and if you want more it will cost you.” After that warm and fuzzy exchange of pleasantries Woto placed the Tenderloin Tartar on the table.
All four of us stared in amassment, first at the plate then at each other. THREE pieces of meat, four diners. All we wanted to do was share our food. Clueless, Woto would have had to of been brain dead not to tell the “cook” to put 4 pieces on the plate instead of three. Make them small but make it 4, all we wanted to do was share our food; I passed on the Tartar and waited for the main entrée.
This next segment needs some background. Everyone knows or knows of a “grill master”. This person is a master of the grill. Gas, propane, charcoal or open fire. This individual is capable of cooking any meat, vegetable, fruit or seafood to perfection. Not just once in a while, every time, whether the guest asks for rare, med rare, medium or hockey puck (well done). The grill master is asked to cook whenever a grill is started, doesn’t matter if the gathering is at another guys house who can grill the host just doesn’t want the pressure of grilling when the grill master is there. We have such an individual at our table for 4.
For those that may not know, a rare steak is very red and has a cool touch to the center when cut opened. Very few will order their steaks rare. Next, is medium rare; It’s red throughout, not as bright and has a warm touch in the center. Next is medium. This is mostly brown with a slight pink color in the center. Last is medium well or hockey puck. This is brown throughout and all evidence of flavor has been cooked out and is at the bottom of the grill. Our grill master refuses to cook any steak hockey puck. Grill master=GM
Back to the story. Our steaks arrives and believe it or not the sauces for the strips are on the side so we can share. All three that ordered the strips ordered them medium rare. Two of the three were red throughout with a warm center, very enjoyable.
However the GM received a very rare strip, cool to the touch and very red. Being in a great mood and rarely if ever getting upset our GM ask to have his steak cooked for two minutes. Woto blew our minds. Instead of saying “Fine, I’ll be right back with your steak, sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.” Woto said the following “I didn’t think you ordered medium” GM said I ordered medium rare. Woto replied “Well then you have a perfectly cooked medium rare steak” The other three at the table went silent, how dare anyone question the GM. GM lost it. The balls on this chick were amassing.
GM informed her how to properly cook a steak and she still argued with the GM. Woto takes the plate and heads to the kitchen after saying “I should have order medium if that is what I wanted.”
The group is now having an animated conversations regarding the do and don’t of customer service.
Returning with the steak is the “cook”. The “cook” attempted to explain the ins an outs of corn fed or grass fed cow and how it can be cooked differently depending on how the cow is fed. The “cook” said “Since the cows are grass fed we’re able to cook our steaks rare, that the taste and texture is as if it were cooked medium rare. Really?!
Our only mission was to find out who this server was. We explained everything to the cook, from the bread, opening the shade, telling us when we would get our food and drinks, and then telling GM his steak was perfect and if he wanted to order medium he should of just ordered that way, not medium rare like it was. The cook dropped the bomb of a lifetime on us. He said she is the “Wife of the Owner” (Woto) and she just got back from a 12 day vacation and the last place she wanted to be was working here. WOW!!
Woto returned with deserts on the house. How did she say it, “Here are some free deserts because you got so anger about the steak?” Thanks dear, sounds like it was from the heart.
Now you know who Woto is, The Wife Of The Owner.
Hope you enjoyed,
Jfood thinks the attitude expressed here was probably a major reason that most of these items occurred. Jfood has enjoyed many wonderful meals at TSC and looks back in fondness over the pleasantness of the staff.
But the bartender was offered money after delivering a drink and cashed out the tab, and then asks if you wanted another drink when he saw the first was empty. The comment you stated here about the plant was totally uncalled for. That probably set you and the others up as not such a great table to serve and the rest of the statements on this post sorta confirm this.
When jfood goes to dinner he views it as a 50-50 win-win for him and the restaurant. The attitude that many of your comments give the impression of is that your expectation with the GM and the other members of "The Diner's Club" was one of us versus them. You may find that this type of attitude does not bring out the best dining experiences.
in the same vein, were you expecting to get 30% more than a usual portion because you were sharing? Ive never had the tartar at TSC but im unfamiliar with tartar coming in pieces, usually the meat is formed using a ring mold or other shape-holding-assistance device. yes it is nice when a server/kitchen recognizes that you are sharing and splits plates, but its hardly a cardinal sin to not do that. you were, after all, given knives, right? i think your expecations are rather unreasonable. if you had ordered the Devil's Eggs which (ok, somewhat inexplicably) comes with 5 half-eggs, would you expect them to serve you 8 instead of 5 so that everyone got an equal portion to share? perhaps they could have kept one off and given you less than a normal portion because your groups size didnt conform to the standardized serving size.
on thinking about this i would say that i would pretty much never expect a place with a small plates section on the menu, to offer to split them based on the size of a table, as they are meant to be shared.
im with jfood - dealing with people day after day i can say definitively that the attitude you give off effects the responses you get, and while there seem to have been some miscues, I can certainly understand where your server was coming from with the "take these free desserts and get it over with"
I with jfood and tex. Continuing this vein..When bread and butter are a menu item, I would expect there to be a cost for additional orders.
And when one diner moves and another pulls up a light to be able to read their menus, I would never assume they are 'content' with the lighting.
I also realize you were shooting for humor here, but I'd recommend not comparing your experiences to torture. Did not make you funny, just added to the bad attitude.
I love a good waitstaff horror story, and I think what we put up with in this town from waitstaff is depressing, but I have to question this one.
A standard whiskey pour is 1.5 oz., and it pretty much disappears over ice.
It was too dark to read the menu, so the waitress opened the blinds. Man has long feared and misunderstood the mighty sun, but I'm not sure I'd hold the waitstaff accountable for it's excesses. You needed light, she gave you light.
If you ordered artichokes, and got asparagus, you should have sent the order back. I can't tell from your description what happened there. Artichokes are only soft if they are overdone, or come from a can.
I think it's reasonable to charge for extra bread, and it's on the menu. Responding that you expect as much bread as you want is ridiculous. The waitresses rebuttal was a relatively nice way of saying "go to Olive Garden for free bread. This is an adult restaurant."
I don't understand the problem with the waitress telling you when to expect your drink orders. Again, this waitress seems to have gone above and beyond in setting expectations.
Three pieces of meat. Four diners. Four knives. In other words, I don't think it is the restaurant's responsibility to divide your small plate for you.
The grass fed explanation was absolutely correct, and the cook was well within his rights to offer the explanation. I would consider that a service. Do keep in mind that this restaurant undoubtedly deals with countless returns of perfectly prepared steaks by suburbos who are accustomed to devouring Teriyaki Beef Jerky at TGI Fridays.
(Off topic, but I don't trust any grill master who won't eat his meat rare, and he should be glad he learned that grass fed beef overcooks VERY easily before destroying someone's $15 ribeye. Bad for GM cred, the destruction of tasty steaks.)
But yeah, the waitress didn't handle it very well, and realized she was being grumpy, vacation hangover and all. Hence, free dessert. Waitresses apologize with their comps. I'll take pastries over apologies and smiles any day.
Weak drinks, poor lighting and long wait times are legitimate complaints, but I think, overall, you were served pretty well here.
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We are frequent visitors to the Strip Club and probably have been served by Christine (the person you refer to as Woto) more times than not. We have always found her to be funny, friendly, helpful, and an all around great server. Same goes for the owner himself (Tim), the bartender (Bill), and the chef (J.D.). It's probably our favorite restaurant. I have no idea why you had such a bad time, since your experience is nearly the direct opposite of our (many) experiences there. Who knows?
My experience there was fine. Nothing outstanding and nothing horrible but I have to say that I am confused by the long-winded outpouring of support for the food at TSC. To be honest, on my admittedly single visit, it just wasn't anything that deserves the heaping praise it gets from so many diners.
As for the issue regarding how the steak was cooked--if the conversation occurred as described, I'd have a real problem with it as well. While I'd prefer my steak cooked rare and I believe people in MN to overcook "medium-rare" towards the medium side, if it came out with a cool center and not the warm center it should, then it should be cooked longer regardless of how the staff thinks it should be done.
re: Bill Roehl
re: "long-winded outpouring of support for the food"
I must have missed that. I've never heard anyone claim that TSC is the best restaurant in MSP for the food. Even in St. Paul, I think people generally think Meritage and Heartland blow it out of the water for the food.
It's the overall experience that, to me, makes it a standout. Don't get me wrong, personally I love the food there, but it's more than that. Unlike the others, I'm not going to question the OP's opinion (or yours Bill), but it seems really out of whack in every possible way with my own experience there.
As a neighborhood joint with above-average, sometimes spectacular food, people who take what they do, but not themselves seriously, The Strip Club is just right in my mind. It's not a "destination restaurant". It's the kind of place I'd love to live by and go to at least once or twice a week if I could. I don't want La Belle Vie (or even Meritage or Heartland) that often.
Anyway...I realize this is just one of those places that's polarizing so no disrespect to the OP or anyone else for their differences of opinion/experience.
I have eaten at TSC once, no need to return, as my experience mirrors Bill Rhehl's above post. I also agree that people can and do disagree about the food. What I have an issue with is the description of what I would consider poor customer service. As a patron, I expect to have an enjoyable evening. I expect to be treated as a guest and if the server feels that perhaps I don't understand something (the prep of grass-fed beef) then please enlighten me in a non-confrontational manor (no need to call in the troops). If, in fact, the restaurant deals with "countless returns of perfectly prepared steaks by suburbos who are accustomed to devouring Teriyaki Beef Jerky at TGI Fridays" then my suggestion is to provide the guests with that information before ordering or better yet, print it on your menu. All vitriol aside: what do you feel a customer can expect to recieve from a server? What can a server expect to recieve from a paton?
I wasn't trying to be vitriolic, but rather to keep up the cheeky tone.
First of all, I think restaurants have an obligation not to overcook your steak. Once it's overcooked, it's irredeemable. Second, I think they have an obligation to keep as many steaks on plates as possible.
For any other order, if the customer isn't satisfied, the waitress should take the plate back. "Undercooked" steaks are the exception. If everyone who made a peep about steaks being "pink" on the inside got their steak reheated, service would slow, and prices would increase.
Of course, the waitress in this case got surly toward the end. She knew it, and therefore offered the final course gratis.
Christine has also been my server several times, but my experiences with her have been at lunch. She has always been pleasant and engaging. She must have had an "off" night and I don't think that she typically works evenings. Perhaps she was doing a double shift and filling in for another employee on her first night back. I guess as WOTO that would make me a bit grumpy too.