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Stage Left, New Brunswick - Terrible

Went to Stage Left last night pre-concert, intending to sit at the bar for burgers and drinks. Keep in mind that it was about 100 degrees outside.

The bar was closed because the air conditioner was broken. The host asked us if we would sit outside. We said no way and he replied "yeah, i'm required to ask everybody." no one was sitting outside.

Anyway, we got a table right next to the door to the bar and it got opened so often that it was unbearably hot in the dining room (a/c not working well there either). The dining rooms smells like mold, by the way.

Took them 20 minutes to make 2 martinis, including a "he's making them right now" 10 minutes into that time.

Cosmo had black floating objects in it.

Shrimp in the shrimp cocktail were not deveined properly. they were very gritty.

Fries with the burgers were so oversalted, as to be almost inedible.

This was so bad that we were discussing openly with the 2 tables next to us how bad the experience was.

these guys are charging $40 for a piece of salmon? are they kidding?

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Stage Left
5 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

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  1. I have vowed not to return to Stage Left because of similar experiences with both the service and the food. It's a shame it has slipped so far.

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    Stage Left
    5 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bossa_Nova

      Last time I went to Stage Left the service was wanting. The food was good but it did not compare to the time when Anthony Bucco was in the kitchen. Mark and Francis ( the owners) should realize they have to practice what they preach -- the customer should be the center of attention, not them.

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      Stage Left
      5 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

    2. That place used to be awesome, such a shame it's gone so downhill!!!! But if I were paying $40 for salmon, I'd at least expect some A/C or a martini that doesn't take 20 mins!

      1. Interesting. Sorry you all have had bad experiences at Stage Left.

        I've been going to this place since the 2nd week it was open, and have always had an excellent experience. Has it changed over the years? Sure...head chefs, waitstaff, bartenders, and favorite menu items come and go.
        But even considering the changes and inevitable problems that might _occasionally_ pop up with any business like this one, this place still remains a few notches above any of the "fine dining" places in New Brunswick (and many places in NJ for that matter) with regard to the quality of the food. Could the service be improved? Sure...there's always room for improvement there, but for the most part the service is professional and courteous.

        Before I get flamed and accused of being a shill, I should note that I have _no_ connection whatsoever with the restaurant other than as a patron.
        I've had to wait past my reservation time on a few occasions, but I remain a happy patron, too.

        For a higher end fine dining restaurant to survive for so long in this still shaky economy (especially in New Brunswick) I'd say that despite a few naysayers, this place's survival is a pretty good indication that they are doing _something_ right.
        I'd say that the reviews here are more descriptive of the now closed Soho On George...now THAT place was a fail on all levels.

        4 Replies
        1. re: The Professor

          well, for what it is worth Professor do note that the thread you replied to is 4 years old. :)

          1. re: Mr. Bingley

            LOL. Hadn't noticed that before!.
            No matter, SL is still a great place...and looks like it's still going strong. :-)

            1. re: The Professor

              :) I don't get there as often as I like, I've known Francis and Mark since their bar-tending days at the Frog & Peach.

              1. re: Mr. Bingley

                Hate to keep this thread alive with the "Terrible" title, but I too have to support Francis and Mark. Two great guys that have done a lot for this city.

                Where else in New Brunswick can you dine with Paul Hobbs or Bob Biale one night and enjoy a great burger at the bar the next? We've enjoyed both while dining here over the years.

                Our most recent SL dinner was last month. Outside table. Great service. Great dinner. Great wine - a gem of a bianco, from the Alto Adige region of Italy.

        2. did you complain to the manager?

          6 Replies
          1. re: Tapas52

            A little off topic, but I never, ever complain to the manager, no matter how bad the food or service is. I just don't want to deal with confrontation. I guess most people would say something?

            1. re: chuck98

              An issue that every establishment must face is being aware of problems and being willing to solve them quickly. My brother, who was a chef for years, told me that many folks will not make an effort to tell friends and family about a good experience, but after having a bad experience will shout about it from the rooftops to anyone who will listen.

              A problem left uncorrected can do serious damage to a restaurants reputation via word of mouth. I would expect that many places these days keep tabs on comments and reviews made online, but to be made aware of an issue as it occurs is the most desirable outcome.

              1. re: chuck98

                Not me... Im all over them if Im paying and the food sucks for what ever reason.....if they dont know about the the problems they cant fix the problems if at all......it's a people business they get one shot to make you happy if not you dont go back and plus tell all of your friends not to go back either...there's too many other places to go eat.

                  1. re: equal_Mark

                    exactly Mark.... taste something, say something... :-)

              2. re: Tapas52

                I'm amused that you all resurrected this old thread.

                The answer to your question is no, I did not complain to the manager. We had a show to go to, there was no time for the restaurant to re-do our food, and I had no interest in any type of refund or offer to return to a future visit. So, there really was no upside to me of complaining.

                I'm sure the restaurant / manager might have found the feedback valuable, but I don't see helping them out as my job, especially when all aspects of this experience were so incredibly poor.

                4 years later, we still remember this as one of the worst meals we've ever had.