Service disaster at One Restaurant
Ugh, where to begin? I booked a table for two at One Restaurant in the Hazelton Hotel in Yorkville. It was a Friday, and it was during the film festival. Before the collective groans begin, yes, we knew that there may be some slippage in service during such a high profile event, but we were willing to overlook "some" service issues. Unfortunately, the service was not just average, it was terrible.
We were seated promptly on arrival. We had to run the gaunlet of people in the bar to get into the restaurant. I got goosed on the way in. We start as we mean to go on.
We waited and waited for service, but at least that gave us plenty of time for perusing the menus. When our waiter arrived, we prompted him for specials (if any), and then on the oysters available. Each request met with almost total befuddlement. Eventually we settled on a light appetizer of a dozen east coast oysters from three different beds, and a glass of wine apiece.
Oysters arrive, brought by a different waiter. He just placed them and essentially ran away with no explanation of what was what. Remember that we ordered three different types. No plates for us to use, just the ice platter. No wine. We couldn't even catch an eye of anyone to bring the wine or plates, so we just tucked in, guessing the specimens as we went! They were very tasty and fresh.
Plate was removed by original waiter who chuckled and said "oops, no plates huh?" and offered to bring us some...not clear on why plates would be useful after we had finished so we said that was ok. We also asked about the wine, and got another "oops, mea culpe". Glasses brought and an "extra pour" given. A good attempt at appeasement, and we were happy for the timebeing.
Mains brought promply by yet another waiter (I sensed a theme), and I had delicious black cod, and hubby had lamb loin. We also ordered a side of whipped potatoes and chives (sublime) and organic roast carrots (gritty gritty gritty). For $13 I was unsure as why they wouldn't have them suitably prepped, but I assured hubby that I would flag someone down and ask about the carrots, because "maybe that's just what they are like". I was reaching, even then.
Unfortunately, I couldn't flag down a waiter, let alone ours. Plates removed by another waiter (still not necessarily ours) so I asked him to send ours by so we could chat about the carrots (long eaten, albeit sandily and grudgingly).
I then ran the gaunlet through the bar for the facilities, and was just appauled. I've never felt so awful in a restaurant before. It was a nightclub scene with people clammering over one another. It was a pretty shocking juxtaposition to the dining room.
By the time I got back, I had missed our waiter but received the menu for dessert. I was done, as we were now 2 hours in, but hubby was still hungry and wished for the three berry cheesecake. It was simply cheesecake. We ordered, and just not wishing to start anything, I begged off on mentioning the carrots, the waits, the oyster issue, I just wanted to eat and leave.
Unfortunately, cheesecake was consumed promptly, followed by 30 minutes of attempting to flag down anyone, anyone who would give us our bill and take our money. It got silly. The dining room was seemingly being run by guests because there was not a person to be seen. Flagging and arm waving did no good. Waiters seemed preoccupied with certain tables and could not be dissuaded. We obviously eventually got their attention (or I may have had to write this review from my iTouch) but I was so disheartened and put off. Lovely food (in general) totally spoilt.
We have written a letter to McEwan, having enjoyed his restaurants regularly over the last few years, and am waiting for a response. What a shame.
I had a somewhat similar experience some time ago. Service was laughably bad. But, I also found the food to be entirely substandard.
I wrote to McEwan. He got back to me, for which I give him credit. But, his response to any criticism of his food was something like "Toronto is just not ready for sophisticated eating". But, I was not presented with anything challenging or sophisticated. I got what seemed like leftover Chinese food served in a mini Le Creuset crockpot masquerading as some exotic Szechuan barbecue dish.
One is a disaster. It will remain hugely popular and busy.
I honestly never DINE at one. drinks/wine on the patio-maybe an order of frites, but that is it...it is a beautiful people bar in a beautiful people area and that is why people go there (including me). for MM food i'd rather north 44 or bymark, but for the scene-it has to be the patio at one
"But, his response to any criticism of his food was something like "Toronto is just not ready for sophisticated eating".
Maybe when Toronto is fortunate enough to have wordly and sophisticated restaurateurs we'll have more enlightened diners. McEwan's response to you is rather insulting and reflects poorly upon him.
That's what I thought. His defence was to insult. And, even worse, his theory is extremely presumptious.
I suppose that there are some people in every town who have narrow, parochial food preferences. But, I don't. Nor do most of the people on this board. There are plenty of people in Toronto with worldly knowledge and sophistication. People who have travelled and eaten all over the globe. People who have been to more exotic locales than Prince McEwan.
His answer was a cop-out. His resto (One) is a rip-off. They both reflect a weird sense of entitlement that, it appears, he has developed. Perhaps it's because of his great success.
Service was unorganized, aside from the carrots sounds like the food was pretty good to delicious and you admitted you were ready for service slippage. I've had worse service at some generic outing. You're lucky you got off that well during Film Festival. I wouldn't complain. One isn't a fine dining establishment, it's a scene.
que sera sera
"I wouldn't complain"?
Oysters at "market value" (I'll assume approx $24-36)
$36-38 dollar mains
$12-14 dollar vegetable dishes?
$14-16 dollar desserts?
And you wouldn't complain for shoddy service? Sure a $200 evening for two it isn't "fine dining", but regardless - spending that kind of money to be ignored, have grit in a $13 dollar side is not acceptable. I'm sure that while the waiter had to be reminded of the missing wine, it probably made it to the bill without such a reminder.
And we on this board always bemoan the often shoddy and indifferent service we receive at local restaurants. If we keep accepting it this way, it will stay shoddy and indifferent. I for one am glad that Suburban Gourmet wrote a letter.
re: Mike from Hamilton
I agree. For that kind of money, it should be better service. And SG has a right to complain. I should have said "buyer beware" instead. It was One during the Film Festival. Based on the title, I was expecting much worse. Also, if the carrots were that bad, why were they eaten instead of asking to have them removed from the bill?
This was 'NOTHING' when compared to our dining experience last Sunday at ' The Emperor Fine Chinese Cuisine' at Richmond Hill!
After ordering our meal, we waited for 45 minutes before we were told that a couple of the 'house specialty' dishes we ordered were 'sold out'! After providing them with other alternatives, we were told 20 minutes later that those too were sold out as well! What a joke! Anyways, our first dish arrived after an hour and a half wait!!! During the interim, I have time to drive home and brought back some potato/lobster salad to fill the hunger gap!
To make matters worse, there was a 'family feud' inside the kitchen which resulted in our lobster dish being totally screwed by the chef who cooked it! Key ingredients and seasonings were left out! First time I had a totally tasteless lobster dish in a restaurant!!
Funniest thing is, we did not know the reason why we stayed for the torture?!
re: Charles Yu
Wow, Charles - very bizarre!! We were there for lupper at around 3ish last Sunday and had a really great meal (one of the reasons I tried it was based on your previous positive recommendation). When we left the whole staff was eating prior to the Dinner rush, so maybe something erupted during that (haha - j/k)? Sorry to hear about your experience - did you/are you going to speak to Management?