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Loie Fuller... FAIL (long)

Loie Fuller
1455 Westminster Street, Providence
Date of Visit: Saturday October 17th
Website: www.loiefullers.com
Price: $$$$

Loie Fuller is a beautiful restaurant that serves what seems to be upscale American food. We’ve heard wonderful things about it and were excited to try it!

We didn’t decide to go out to eat until 8:10, so we arrived at 8:20 on a Saturday night. We were told that a few tables were finishing dinner and that if they didn’t have dessert we’d be sat soon, but if they did it would be about a 30 minute wait. We were fine with that and sat at the bar and ordered a Framboise Lambic…a light fruity red beer.

About 20 minutes into our wait a table of 4 left. We were excited that we were going to be seated, or so we thought. We weren’t. Apparently Loie won’t seat 2 people at a 4 top. We waited another 30 minutes for a 2 top to open up while that one sat empty and 2 other couples came in and were also waiting.

When we were sat, no apology for the wait. The waitress came over and asked about drinks and we said we were all set; we just had one at the bar and needed food first before another drink. Then she said with an attitude, “We have a (?clam?) soup tonight. So you want to order?” Uh.. We did. I ordered the spring onion ravioli in a brown butter and balsamic reduction with a side of sautéed spinach and my husband ordered the lamb cassoulet. Some bread was brought to the table and then we didn’t see anyone or any food for another 35 minutes. Cassoulet is a stew… not a made to order item. Ravioli is prepped ahead of time and quickly boiled. Sautéed spinach… a couple of minutes… there is no way on earth that these dishes should have taken 35 minutes to make. They only have 12 tables in the restaurant and most of the tables were either eating or on dessert!

My husband said he would have forgiven the time span if the food were any good. It wasn’t. His stew…was dry. He was picking hard beans out of his mouth and it looked like the stew came from the bottom of the pot. My ravioli was good, but the texture of the pasta was slightly hard, like it had been sitting for a while. The spinach was bad… I like salt, I’m a salter… but this was really salty and sitting in a pool of oil.

We were really disappointed and will not be going back. We left there 2 hours after we arrived had really bad service and really bad food.

Price: The entire meal, for 2, was $48, drinks at the bar was $14 plus tip.

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  1. Thanks for your review. How disappointing! When I was there I loved the food and raved about it, but even so the service was definitely off, with lengthy waits in between sightings of our server (and we were the only table that night.) I remember waiting for 10 minutes for our coats at the end of the night.

    1. Hey Jenn! It's good to see you on here - I miss your coffee and amazing baked treats. Hint*gallery*

      1. If, at the end of the meal or when you were leaving, a manager or hostess asked "How was everything?" then that would have been the right time to share your thoughts concerning service and food. You could have complained to the server, but she was part if the problem. If you were never asked, you don't need to help the place out at all. It's not your (the customer's) problem whatsoever. And yes, this IS the place to voice such reviews and share one's experience. I'm sure the restaurant will be reading this at some point and they can take from it what they will.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bewley

          No, we didn't say anything. The waitress did come back about 8-10 minutes after dropping the food. By that time we were so hungry we were just eating what was in front of us. When we were done (none of the plates were clean, we both left food) she took the plates and we asked for the check. She dropped the check right away and we immediately put in a credit card and slid it to the end of the table. She passed by our table 4 times, without looking at us, without picking up the check, until we said something. We were actually looking in our wallets to see if we had enough cash on us, so we could just pay and get out of there. I wasn't going to bring up the service with her at that point. She made us feel like an annoyance. But (and this sounds petty, I know) the customers that were sat after us, that appeared to have gone there before, she greeted warmly, went into detail about the menu and joked with them (they weren't friends, she wasn't that friendly with then, but it seemed like they might be semi-regulars) Apparently you have to go there a few times before you're treated nicely. I don't expect 100% perfection, no one's perfect. I do expect you to try to give the best service and food you can. It didn't seem like they tried.

        2. Thanks for the interesting reading about this place. The server sounds like a real professional. Thank god I dont have to depend on a restaurant for a nice dinner. The more I read on here the less I visit. Sorry you got hammered.

          1. LOL - I was reading this thinking..... am I missing something?

            there seem to be some people on here that have their priorities in the wrong place. Blaming the customer for a servers lack of professionalism is absurd.....but like I said, there are some people on here that take their restaurant industry job frustrations out on CH's instead of using common sense. In the below link I had a (i presume) current or former server blast me because I had the nerve to motion to the waitress that she had completely forgotten our drinks....

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/660474

            and I am finding that less and less places tend to ask how your meal was and even if they do they are apathetic to any issues you may have had. maybe its me.....I was at Smokey Bones for a business lunch a little while back. My lunch (brisket) came in a POOL of grease (yes I know bbq is greasy, and i love it for it! but this was disgusting), so bad I asked for a second plate and extra napkins.....and then i was so grossed out i really didnt even eat it. I told the server and he said he would tell the manager....well he came back to the table and said the manager couldnt do anything.....

            To make a long story short, once I laid into the manager he offered to take my meal off the check but I told him it was too late, that I would pay the entire bill but I wouldnt be returning anytime soon. In todays economy you would think something that is "free" like customer service would be more commonly used. I digress!

            8 Replies
            1. re: joe777cool

              I'm assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that you're somehow talking about my previous post, which was deleted (for good reason: I was focused on the wrong things).

              I just have a hard time with any poster lambasting a great place that hasn't lived up to his expectations, yet wasn't given the chance to correct a mistake. Everything is subjective, and no restaurant is perfect. However, every owner wants EVERY guest to leave happy, which is impossible to do if the dissatisfied don't let anyone know. Please speak up!

              Loie Fuller is a wonderful neighborhood joint. They're an asset to the Armory. They had a rocky beginning, but have grown by leaps and bounds.

              1. re: invinotheresverde

                I never saw your post, but do agree that more people should speak up when they are dissatisifed. You cant learn from your mistakes if you arent aware you are even making any. That having been said, its not the duty or responsibility of the customer to do this by any means; a good owner or manager should be more aware of whats going on in his/her restaurant.

                1. re: joe777cool

                  here is where i really disagree with you. when you say it is not the duty/responsibilty of a customer...

                  If a customer goes on a review site and lambasts a restaurant, they are taking responsibility for whatever negative perceptions that people take away from it. Therefore, they have a responsibility to ensure that what they are saying is being framed in the right context. That is just good common sense and what anyone would expect from a community such as this.

                  As for Jennifer's experience at LF's, it is definitely out of the ordinary both from a service and food perspective. I do hope that Jennifer will try it again. The owners are wonderful people and would certainly take an interest in knowing about this. And as a business owner herself, I hope that Jennifer would contact the restaruant and let them know. Certainly she would want to know personally if people had issues with her business, not learn about it on a message board.

                  1. re: basachs

                    We'd like to ask people to get back to sharing their thoughts on their personal experiences at Loie Fuller or other local restaurants, and resist the desire to critique other reviewers.

                    We are a consumer-contributed opinion site and we welcome all opinions, both positive and negative. We'd prefer not to have posters make other posters feel their reviews are unwelcome. Whether or not a poster complains to the management should have no bearing on the worth of his/her review. Our goal here is not to provide constructive criticism to restaurants, but to tip each other off on where to find the best chow, and to warn each other about less than optimal chow situations.

                    If you'd like discuss the non-chow aspects of how posters create their reviews or interact with each other, please start a new thread on the Site Talk board so we can keep this board focused on chow. Thanks.

                    1. re: basachs

                      I actually don't think Jennifer's experiences IS out of the ordinary. I went to LF once, and never went back due to the service. We went VERY early on a Sat night and were the only patrons in the place. The waitstaff was all sitting at the bar, and when we entered, no one said anything to us. We stood in the entry for a minute, wondering if it was a private party! Finally, some one approached, and still said nothing like hello/welcome/how can I help you? Just looked at us! It was totally odd! That began what was just an off experience all night. Everything took way too long. There was no real warmth or interest from the staff. Unfortunately, the vibe we were getting is one we frequently felt when we lived in Los Angeles - this cool indifference. I wish I had a different picture to paint, as I LOVED my roasted boar and would love to have it again. Too bad - its a beautiful place.

                      1. re: bastaya

                        I concur. I had the most memorable meal I've had in ages at LF, but the service was completely off. This seems to be more the norm than the exception, from what I've read.

                      2. re: basachs

                        We have also been victim to the cold shoulder at Loie Fuller. I would also add that this attitude is not at all uncommon at several other west side establishments (ahem, Julian's). The thing that kills us is that, up until a few months ago, we were actually local west siders - having lived *on* Broadway for several years. But even then, we often left restaurants or bars feeling like we were not "cool enough" to be treated properly. We joke that the hipsters drove us out! Well that and the proliferating gun crimes, anyway.

                2. TAKE 2.... so we had to go back this Sunday for a surprise birthday brunch. Bar was great, one of the best bloody mary's I've had. This waitress was much better, especially since she was dealing with a large table and people joining and leaving through out the meal. Food... I had eggs with blue cheese on toast with pork belly, it was fine, though it would be hard to screw that one up. My husband had the crouque madam (sp?) poached egg, ham and hollandaise sauce. Again it was fine. We were also able to try the beignets. They were a bit heavy, but nice flavor. The food wait was still awhile. Over all, a a much better experience, but still a bit pricy for what we had and with so many other good restaurants in the area, we probably won't go back because of the first experience.