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Mar 6, 2010 08:07 AM

Dine Out at Vero-Calgary

Went to Vero last night for the Dine Out special. This is the third or fourth time we've been. Firstly, I have no problems with the food. It's usually quite good. But I have a huge problem with the front-of-house service.

We had a reservation for 8 p.m. We arrived on the dot, and was told our table wasn't "quite ready" and that it would be "a little bit of time." When pressed, the host told us it would be about 20 minutes. We went for a walk and returned at about 8:15. There were by then at least three other parties waiting for their reservations (8 and 8:15) jammed in the tiny entryway and on the sidewalk.

We waited -- and watched while one of the servers offered a party that arrived after us some wine. No one said a word to us.

At 8:30, we were seated. Half an hour after our reservation. The same thing happened to the parties behind us.

I believe in speaking up when there's a problem with the food, as the kitchen should know and fix it. However, I don't believe in pointing out tardiness/bad organization when the staff are well aware of it. A well-run restaurant takes the initiative to smooth that over, come over and acknowledge the problem, ask if there's anything they can do, offer an app/dessert, whatever -- a small gesture goes a long way.

But what seemed to happen was they ignored it -- unless you were very vocal about it. To quiet those people, they were served free wine or free dessert wine.

Yes, I could have raised a big stink, but about something they already knew about? I left my comments on a comment card and hope they can fix this. This was not the first time our reservation couldn't be honoured on time. It's a bad start to a night for a restaurant whose food is quite good.

Really, the root problem is don't schedule groups in when you can't get the first seating out in time; learn how to manage your reservations.

Vero Bistro Moderne
209 10 Street Northwest

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  1. Good to know. I'm going there tomorrow night. Will report back.

    1. "Really, the root problem is don't schedule groups in when you can't get the first seating out in time; learn how to manage your reservations."

      Agree absolutely. You can't blame teeny restaurants wanting to get two seatings to make ends meet but it sounds like they're not allowing enough time between seatings if four groups can't be seated on time. I wonder if they tell people who reserve the first seating that there are people booked behind them, and whether they still seat them if they're 1/2 hour late. It's hard to understand why they would only comp the complainers, I'd think it's the non-complainers they'd want to have come back.

      Vero Bistro Moderne
      209 10 St NW, Calgary, AB T2N, CA

      3 Replies
      1. re: hsk

        I wondered that too if they told people in the first seating... but we saw lots of "lingerers" who were not being, how we say, gently urged to wrap it up, as the bottleneck at the door got longer.

        1. re: alau2

          Not sure what happened there alau2. Four of us went Sunday night at 6pm. No problems whatsoever. We were seated on time and the restaurant was full by 7pm. Quite a few of the tables turned over again too and we were not 'gently urged to wrap it up'. Maybe because it was a Sunday night?

          1. re: TSAW

            TSAW: Good to know! I really do hope they don't do that on a regular basis. The times I've gone have been Thursday and Saturdays. Each time they've been late in meeting our reservation and giving us a table. Perhaps I should try Sundays...

      2. Thanks for the heads-up alau2! I am going this Thursday night. My reservation is early though at 6:30pm so will see if they have similar seating problem.

        Did you enjoy the food on the dine-out menu? I think there are options for the main course. They all sound good. What did you pick and what would you recommend?

        3 Replies
        1. re: jorgep18

          The food was all very good. I don't think you get a choice of apps; you get both the Caesar salad (excellent garlicky dressing with a whole anchovy and pretty lettuces), and a sweet potato gnocchi with wonderful bits of wild boar bacon, gorgonzola and walnuts.

          My main of lamb, crusted with olive and parmesan was excellent, done medium rare. I think I got about five pieces.

          Husband's lobster risotto was just OK. Risotto was too mushy, almost like it was overcooked. Lobster tail, while generous, also seemed a tad on the tough side. White truffle essence helped the flavours along though.

          We had tiramisu for dessert (not included in Dine Out). It was good but nothing extraordinary.

          1. re: alau2

            alau2 - we definately had different experiences! I had the lobster risotto and thought it was awesome. I never had such TENDER lobster. But I will admit it was a little 'soupy'. Did you think the ceasar salad on a bed of lentils was weird? It had alot of raw onion for a ceasar salad, I thought. Sweet Potato Gnocci was really good though.

            I had the passion fruit creme brule ($9); very deelish. Hot date had the tiramisu and also agree with you, it was ok but waaaaaaaay too boozey! Had no other taste than alcohol. I guess that's ok for some people?!

            1. re: TSAW

              Oh I forgot the lentils next to the Caesar salad. Yes, I did think that was weird. Didn't do anything for me. I did like the salad itself.

        2. Manager emailed me back in response to my comment card. Was nice in acknowledging their problems and offered two free dinners. It's a nice gesture after the fact. I declined the freebies, but said I hoped they would be able to fix the root problems.