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Red Cat Birthday Blues

Came in from out of town for my wife's birthday on a Sat. night. Made a post-theater 9:45 reservation at Red Cat. Called at 9:35 to say play got out late and we would be a few minutes late, and arrived about 9:55 or so. They were slammed. Our table was still occupied. Hostess apologized, sent us to the crowded end of the bar, and ignored us for the next half hour. We were checking a Blackberry for where else to go, when our table freed up at 10:30 -- 45 minutes after the reserved time. I think I went to the front of the room twice to check on our table and remind them we were trying to celebrate a birthday, but all I got was "Sorry, we can't do anything. Your table won't leave"

Not true. They could have given us a glass of wine while we waited or come over to see how we were, etc. I felt kind of stupid just standing there -- if you've been there, you know how crowded and noisy the far end of the bar is, and close to the bathroom entrance.

Once we were seated, they did send over a free plate of tempura green beans. But it took a long time for us to relax and enjoy ourselves after such hapless treatment. Food was good, but by the time it came, it was too late to enjoy it fully.

So -- I used the restaurant's website to send a polite but critical description of our less than happy night. The restaurant has not replied to my message. Not how I would do it.

Am I expecting too much?

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Red Cat
227 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

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  1. Pretty typical for a 9:45 reservation on a Sat night in NYC. They cpuld have been nicer but the experience is pretty standard.

    6 Replies
    1. re: princeofpork

      Interesting that this is normal. Our dinner companion is a Brooklynite and she was more upset than we were. So I'm clear, it wasn't the wait itself that bugged me, but the lack of consideration in managing it.

      1. re: rmbelson

        The lack of consideration is certainly the most frustrating part. I cant understand why a round of drinks is not offered once 15min post reservation time is reached. Then again they would be handing out hundreds of free drinks each night.

      2. re: princeofpork

        I don't agree that this is typical. If you go someplace on a Saturday that does not take reservations, then, yes, you can end up waiting for an hour or even more. However, we never go to a restaurant on a Saturday night without a reservation. We sometimes dine late, and we have never experienced this kind of wait. In fact, we've aways been seated promptly -- at least, that's the case in the restaurants that we go to.

        We've been to Red Cat once. It was a Sunday post-matinée, we ate around 6, and the restaurant was fairly empty. I thought the food was fine but not rave-worthy.

        1. re: RGR

          Yes, not rave worthy. Thanks for the replies, all.

        2. re: princeofpork

          Nope, not "pretty standard" at other NYC restaurants. We've been to Red Cat only once, have never gone back not because of bad service, but didn't find food worth going back for. A 45 minute wait is inexcusable, anywhwre afaic.

          It's happened to us a couple of times at other places, on weekend dinners, and we waitied at most 20 minutes. We were checked at constantly by apologetic reception people, comped a dessert or extra special appetizer.

          Good move with sending them a note about your experience. Am curious about the result.

          1. re: RCC

            They did not respond to my note about service. Why bother engaging your customer base through your website if you don't try to make it work? Bad marketing all around.

        3. Same thing happened when I went for my bday - reservation was at 10, didnt get seated till 1045, but we did get a free round of drinks.. I guess the free plate of green beans was meant to be the same gesture. Enjoyed the food enough that it didnt bother me, this happens all the time.

          1. 15-20 minutes is understandable. Anything after that, they need to ply you with wine to placate you. You are very much in the right to be upset. I think you've done everything you can at this point, short of calling and asking for a manager to speak with.

            You have however, publicly expressed your dissatisfaction on this website, which does get your experience out to the dining interested public.

            This is too bad. I like Red Cat. I am sorry you had a bad experience.

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            Red Cat
            227 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

            1 Reply
            1. re: filmbomb

              Thanks for the reply. You know, I'm not especially interested in being vindictive or anything. I was hoping for a response when I contacted Red Cat via the web because I value feedback myself in the work I do, and try to see these things as opportunities to be better the next time. But as only a sometimes visitor to New York, I began this thread because I didn't know what was common and what wasn't.

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              Red Cat
              227 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011