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Terrible Service at Victory 44

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salvage7 May 18, 2011 10:53 AM

It's unfortunate that after spending nearly an hour here last night, I cannot comment on the food at all. We arrived at about 7:15, hoping to try the 2-for-1 Tasting menu. Upon arrival, we were not greeted by anyone, as there doesn't appear to be a host/hostess stand. Eventually a man told us to sit wherever we liked. We found a table and began the longest wait either of us have ever experienced. In hindsight, I certainly should have approached somebody.

At 7:45, a waitress finally came over and asked if we needed a drink (disregarding the ridiculous wait, not to mention the fact we were never given a drink menu). Inexplicably, she left before we could answer and gave us a drink menu and a couple of waters (a 30 minute wait for water!). She then left again and said she'd be right with us for our order. 15 minutes later, she still wasn't back. We decided we'd leave at 8. At 8 on the dot a different waiter came over and asked if we were ready to order. We gave him our drink order and ordered the tasting menu. When we ordered the tasting, he looked toward the board (where it said 5-8pm), and I swear, was about to tell us the 2-for-1 deal expired at 8. He appeared to change his mind when he saw our angry anticipatory faces. Instead, he meekly apologized and said the tasting menu would take a very long time, and we would likely be there for 1.5-2 hours. We finally got up and left. Incidentally, we went to Taqueria la Hacienda and had an amazing meal for half the price with a tenth of the wait.

I've literally never experienced service this bad, it was really inexcusable, and I'll likely never be going back there.

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Victory 44
2203 44th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN

  1. b
    brlattim May 18, 2011 12:39 PM

    I have had hit or miss experiences with the wait time. I agree, some organization is needed. Service is one of the things you expect from V44 as well. Sometimes I wonder if they are just understaffed or don't anticipate influx in volume well.

    With that said the food has always been good, with the exception of some bacon frites that had to be sent back b/c they were cold. Other than that great restaurant but yeah...a little better service will keep it there for years to come.

    1. m
      maauwi May 18, 2011 12:56 PM

      What's the point of sitting around for 30 minutes slowly getting mad? If nobody greets you once seated within 5 minutes, get someone's attention!
      V44's service, while personable, has always been prone to spotty performance if the customer expects traditional restaurant behavior. So yes, their process failed but by not speaking up you managed to turn an oversight into a rather unpleasant evening for yourself.

      1. e
        escondido123 May 18, 2011 01:01 PM

        I'm wondering how long you would expect a tasting menu to take...isn't a couple hours typical?

        2 Replies
        1. re: escondido123
          k
          kevin47 May 18, 2011 01:16 PM

          It's only three courses. I think the problem is that, with everyone ordering the same thing, there is a back-log at the work stations. Seems fixable.

          1. re: kevin47
            s
            salvage7 May 18, 2011 01:33 PM

            We weren't sitting around for 30 minutes getting mad; we were happily chatting with each other until we noticed it had been 30+ minutes.

            As to the next post, of course I would expect a tasting menu to take perhaps a couple hours. I would also expect it to commence before the first hour was over.

        2. b
          BigE May 18, 2011 02:40 PM

          I've experienced plenty of up and down service too, so I tend to go at off hours and I sit at the bar.

          1. LiaM May 18, 2011 02:54 PM

            I definitely sympathize with you - sounds infuriating.

            Because of some similar experiences (not at Victory 44, where I had a fine time, but maybe they are hit or miss), I've made a personal rule - if I'm already angry about something before I owe a restaurant any money, I leave. Chances are things will not improve.

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            Victory 44
            2203 44th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN

            1. p
              patmos May 19, 2011 05:53 AM

              I can empathize with you. I felt as though I was reading my own review from several months ago. This place is a complete nightmare. Some of the comments on this thread are unreasonable. You should expect to wait around two hours for a tasting menu? Try having a meal at The Sample Room in NE or a similar "small plate" casual fine dining restaurant in Minneapolis. You can order six (or more) different plates of varying cuisines and ALL OF THEM will come to your table in 20-30 minutes, hot (if they're supposed to be) and ready to consume.

              People making excuses for them have no ideas how these things work (took us 40 minutes to receive our frisee salad and they "forgot" our wine pairing, which they brought out STOCKPILED for the third course-- "sure, I'll just chug these three glasses of wine!"). Not only is their service absolutely abhorrent, but they went to the trouble of deleting a review I left for them at their Facebook page (in lieu of not being able to find a direct email to file a complaint with management), as opposed to simply writing to me to acknowledge my frustration. I was very reasonable at the time, but I won't be anymore when discussing them. That is a clear indication of an establishment that has no regard for their patrons, after evidently having dealt with this sort of backlash for so long that they don't even bother fielding it anymore. They must be happy with their turnover for new customers, because I don't know anyone that's gone there twice and, believe me, nobody that knows me and asks about them would ever step foot in their door.

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              Sample Room
              2124 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

              14 Replies
              1. re: patmos
                ibew292 May 19, 2011 06:05 AM

                Maybe I get good service because I always buy the Chefs a round of Beer.
                If I had ordered 6 plates and they all came within 20-30 min I would not care for that.
                Americans seem to want to eat and get done with it. Slow down and enjoy.
                Fast food is for when you don't have the time or unwilling to enjoy good food.
                Victory has always offered great food to me but maybe my expectations are far lower than others.....

                1. re: ibew292
                  e
                  eastlakovore May 19, 2011 06:29 AM

                  I have eaten there probably 10 times, I have received mediocre service once, and good service the remaining nine times. I usually end up going by myself after a long day at work, sit at the bar, enjoy a couple beers and a couple plates of food and chat up the bartender who has also been prompt, and if I need something I just ask. No hurry, but perhaps my expectations of a meal are different (or "lower" as I am to agree with ibew292).
                  I will agree that after watching the team enough times, they aren't always in sync with who is serving where and when, but you have to, or at least I did, make that assumption walking in the door knowing there is no host/(ess) or "wait staff".
                  I won't make excuses for them during for your trip, I just want to offer a counterpoint that I have had multiple really good experiences there.

                  1. re: eastlakovore
                    p
                    patmos May 19, 2011 07:16 AM

                    It seems that we're comparing apples and oranges. I went with my significant other, and the series of events seems to be commonplace. Having a casual beer and a few bites up the bar may not necessarily happen in the same way that a full service meal at a table does. I sincerely hope they've improved their service. As I said to them in my initial complaint, I only bothered to submit one so that they may correct their omissions for future patrons, as I have no intention of returning. There are a lot of great places to eat in the Twin Cities. Second chances are hard to come by.

                  2. re: ibew292
                    s
                    semanticantics May 19, 2011 07:48 AM

                    A meal shouldn't have a surcharge to receive good service.

                    1. re: semanticantics
                      ibew292 May 19, 2011 08:25 AM

                      But in reality most do charge a surcharge, I buy them beer To Insure Prompt Service.... Snub a waitstaff and see what service your going to get the next time you come in. Most of the staff a V44 seems to be fresh out of school and have a lot to learn. They are also Chefs that need to serve to have a job.
                      Our server on Tuesday lunch didn't come back for a while because she was tending to the Ricotta. Stay way if you want a pedestrian experience, there are plenty of places you can have great service but not much else.

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                      Victory 44
                      2203 44th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN

                      1. re: ibew292
                        s
                        salvage7 May 19, 2011 08:28 AM

                        That's ridiculous. First, one should expect competent service regardless (the only exception to me is just-opening jitters). Second, we didn't have a damn chance to buy the chefs a round of beer, we didn't even know what kind of beer they served due to the lousy service!

                        I fully agree with the above that there are too many great places in the Twin Cities to give these guys a chance at redemption.

                        1. re: ibew292
                          s
                          semanticantics May 19, 2011 09:46 AM

                          Tipping before you've received anything is flat out ridiculous. If you're a regular here (or anywhere), so be it, I still find it audacious they'd even have this advertised on the menu.

                          1. re: ibew292
                            k
                            kevin47 May 19, 2011 11:24 AM

                            I have never bought the chefs beer, and I almost always have great service (though when it's bad, it's pretty bad). The waitress I've had the last few times worked at Legal Sea Food, and the chefs usually have solid credentials when I ask them where they came from.

                            I am willing to forgive their shortcomings because the food is phenomenal, and also relatively cheap. I do live right by it, but I ignored previous iterations because the food was not particularly good.

                            If you disagree, that's fine. V-44 and Travail seem to be the most polarizing restaurants on this board, and its easy to see why. By my lights, both shoot for the sky, but keep their costs in line with what Minnesotans expect.

                            I will submit that a tasting menu for two with wine for $50 is untenable. I think V-44 would do better to have an established happy hour, rather than a daily special, since their operation is not equipped to handle ebbs and flows.

                            No politics here. There are a number of restaurants convenient to my lifestyle (including a couple that are quite popular here) that I wish I could like.

                            Also, the Sample Room often requires a 45 minute wait for a table. What, exactly, is the difference between that and waiting for food? Heck, we had to wait 20 minutes for our table at Piccolo WITH a reservation (not complaining... I think the service there is fantastic).

                            Reality is reality. We have a diverse enough restaurant scene here that you can pick your poison. So pick it, and by all means defend it, but don't pretend that disagreement amounts to dishonesty.

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                            Sample Room
                            2124 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

                            1. re: kevin47
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                              patmos May 19, 2011 11:35 AM

                              (reply to Kevin47-- whoops!)
                              I own a business upstairs of The Sample Room, so you can imagine I eat there on a semi-regular basis. Not only does waiting for a table NOT account into your wait for food (I'm not sure I see the correlation to being left without any communication for 40 minutes at a time between two courses, then having the next two show up within ten minutes of each other, then waiting another 40), but I've literally never waited more than 20 minutes, and I wouldn't attribute it solely to my luck. I consider that a total non-point.

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                              Sample Room
                              2124 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

                      2. re: patmos
                        LiaM May 19, 2011 08:56 AM

                        A tasting menu normally comes out one plate at a time. How long it takes would depend on the number of courses, but two hours certainly isn't out of line. "Small plates," what Piccolo does, for example, and I guess the Sample Room (I thought they did family style?), is a different service style.

                        Forgetting to bring your wine pairings, however, is certainly a big problem. It's not a pairing if the glass doesn't come out with the course it's been paired to.

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                        Sample Room
                        2124 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

                        1. re: LiaM
                          p
                          patmos May 19, 2011 09:03 AM

                          I'm sorry, I just guess people aren't grasping the level of ineptitude on display during my visit. I do tastings regularly. I visit Il Gatto every time they do one (New Years and Valentines were both fabulous) and recently went to one at Sea Change. I am not new to this type of meal and find it quite curious that at a place like Il Gatto I can get a once-ever menu in reasonable time frames. It is night and day. Please don't assume I am oblivious to the process of a tasting. This line of reasoning does not apply here.

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                          Il Gatto
                          3001 Hennepin Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                          Sea Change
                          806 Second Street S., Minneapolis, MN 55415

                          1. re: patmos
                            b
                            brlattim May 19, 2011 09:07 AM

                            I find it funny people try to disparage a post on chow. It was their experience. I would not say its totally an anomally as others I know have experiences similar results. I once went in 45 minutes before close to be told they were shutting down due to lack of business. Just some strange things that I also haven't experienced at other similar restaurants in the city. Love the food, just want them to have service that matches the food. But lets not try and discredit someones experience. It misses the point entirely. But apparently its what the world is coming to. Arguments are becoming our politicals landscapes national pastime....why not foodies

                            1. re: brlattim
                              p
                              patmos May 19, 2011 09:20 AM

                              I agree. I do not doubt some people have had positive experiences there. I walked in their door with nothing but high hopes and an empty stomach. The food itself was absolutely delicious, but the service was inexcusable under any standard or custom. I wanted very badly to enjoy the experience and even overlooked some misgivings earlier on (I merely smirked at the wine pairing error), as I am not very self-important and am quite easy to please. I am fond of the space they reside in, as a friend of mine occupied it just before them (Sauced) and it is in close proximity to my girlfriend's home. It couldn't have been a more perfect storm for them to satisfy a potentially new regular, and they fell flat on their faces. On top of that, they made measures to erase any evidence of my bad experience, as opposed to simply emailing me saying "we're sorry for your poor experience, we hope you'll try again", particularly when great restaurants will often message you after leaving a POSITIVE review just to say they're pleased you had such a great experience and that they can't wait to see you again. Little things.

                              I hope everyone who goes there and has to spend that kind of hard earned money has an experience that leaves them happy. But that is clearly not something they make a habit of, if you take the time to look around.

                              1. re: brlattim
                                s
                                sporkgirl May 19, 2011 10:29 AM

                                Is it discrediting or is it discussion?

                                Don't people come on here to hear varying opinions? No one is denying the experience, just maybe sharing their own perspective on it?

                                I have had nothing but fun at V44, but I logged on to find out what others think because I know the restaurants are living organisms that change every day with every revolution of humans through the door.

                                If this were a place with all Bob's Is Great = Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. then why log on?

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