Tag Restaurant experience - Sunday Jan 24 2010 / Larimer Square
Completely and utterly disappointed by TAG tonite. We had gone in after seeing a show at the Comedy Works and walked in without a reservation. The hostess acted insulted that we walked in at 8:45 and promptly told us that "our kitchen closes at 9:00 so you better order fast". Then asked me for my name, which I gave her my first name, then asked me my last name. I asked why she needed it, we didn't have a reservation or anything, so it was curious to me.
She told me that if I had a favorite dish, they would track it. So at least she was honest, they build a database on their customers. Many places do that certainly and I understand it but certainly I found it completely rude that mere moments after telling me and my boyfriend that we basically were going to be rushed through our dining experience they will track us, I wanted to cut bait and run right then and there.
But we sat at our table. I didn't want to make a scene in front of the hostess who clearly wasn't interested in making our first experience walking in the door welcoming.
Our waitress came by and offered us water and then went through the cocktail menu and said she would give us a minute. Fair enough and pleasant. When she came back and I still hadn't made a choice she also told us the kitchen was closing in 10 minutes so we "should think about making our choices oh and we are out of the lamb."
We sat another minute or so and left. Walked out the front door.
Now...I understand kitchen hours and I understand wanting to keep back of the house happy but the way we were treated was rude and hardly befitting any restaurant that has 30 dollar entrees (which I happily would have paid for had we been treated like a valued customer).
We walked out the door and will probably not return any time in the near future or maybe we will sometime when clearly the back of house and front of house are willing to serve us with respect.
We eat out four times a week and I have never been treated with so much dismissal as I have this evening.
For the record we walked over to Osterio Marco (which actually was our first choice) and had an amazing dinner. Katie our server was a doll and remembered us from our last dinner for my birthday in July, and they didn't have us on some database system. We had a great meal of a charcuterie plate, spinach salad (the dressing was bacon and balsamic vinegar that was unbelievable, I wanted to lick the plate) and a pizza. It was perfect and my frown was turned upside down. The service there was friendly, efficient and most of all welcoming.
I wish Tag Restaurant all the successes the food writers in Denver feel it deserves, they just will never see me in their establishment again.
1441 Larimer Street, Denver, CO 80202
It's really hard to evaluate an event like this. We know how you perceived the interactions, but not much more. You caught them at the end of the night (obviously), perhaps it was a tough nite for the hostess (not saying that is an excuse, just a factor). And maybe they were a little curt or didn't treat you like you would have liked. Perhaps one could even describe it as rude, hard to tell without being there. But you describe what essentially were two or three sentences, said at the very end of their night, and are willing to permanently write off a restaurant because of that? Seems a bit extreme. Especially when you have not even tried their food.
Personally, I share some of your view, if a restaurant is posted as open until 9, that should mean prepared to provide dinner to people who walk in at 8:55. But not everyone shares that view, and I certainly recognize that fact as well. Sounds like you don't.
I am sorry you had a bad experience, and while I haven't yet been to TAG and have no feelings about it one way or the other, and am therefore not defending a sacred cow or anything, BUT:
I just checked their website and their "hours of operation" quite clearly states that they are open for dinner on Sunday from 5-9. While I feel that if they seat you they should serve you graciously, I find it a better practice to only push the outer limits of a restaurants posted hours--8:45 PM when they say they are open until 9:00 PM when I know I'm going to have a quick bite--when I know what I want and understand that I may be given, not exactly the "bum's rush", but certainly encouragement not to dawdle.
Doing this, and asking nicely, most recently paid off at 82 Queen in Charleston when we hit the front door 2 minutes before posted closing and enjoyed a great bowl of she-crab soup at the bar. Something that wouldn't take them any, or very much, time to make or serve, as they broke down the kitchen for the night. Wouldn't have dreamed of expecting the full "usual" treatment, and in fact it was more fun as we got great recommendations for the rest of our stay from the now-off-duty servers and cooks who were gathered for a "shift drink" at the bar.
I think there was possibly a miscommunication here, in aka zoe's case, for which both sides, house and guest, bear some responsibility. Hounds?
I'm glad, aka zoe, that you enjoyed Osteria Marco, as I always do too, and understand why it was your original choice. Under the circumstances, it would have been mine, but without the unfortunate experience you had at TAG, because I don't believe I would have even tried TAG at that point in the evening with the dining experience you had in mind.