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Jul 15, 2011 03:48 PM

Maybe it was the Groupon??

Oh dear. We were looking forward to our tasting menu lunch at C, for which we were using a Groupon.
First of all, the important stuff - the food was very, very good and executed competently, with one quibble and one exception. With the bisque, there were four pieces of seafood - an oyster, a piece of spot prawn, a piece of Dungeness crab and a piece of lobster. The quibble - could it not be ALL seafood from BC, when there is so much here? I found the lobster somewhat tasteless, and as an Easterner (born and bred iN Boston, lived in Nova Scotia for many years), just not what it should be. On the other hand, the bisque broth was exquisite. My exception - the piece of halibut in my bouillabaisse was woefully overcooked. This should not happen in a restaurant priding itself on its fish preparations. But the real problems were the service and the pacing. There were long stretches between courses (except, oddly enough, the dessert course, which arrived quite quickly). No apologies were offered. My companion had to ask a busboy for another glass of wine, my second glass of wine arrived when I was over halfway finished with the course I had wanted it to accompany, and, after we had been asked if we would like more bread and said yes, no bread arrived. Ever. No apologies for any of this, either.
Too bad...what should have been a lovely, celebratory lunch turned out to be not so lovely after all.

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  1. Was it your first time at C, and for lunch ?

    Sorry to hear your experience was disappointing :-(

    Hard to say if inconsistent or sub-par service (or food) at any resto for any meal may be attributed to a coupon of sorts. That is of course, if the wait staff had prior knowledge of the coupon before the meal at all. And even then, it'd be tough to prove otherwise. Restos, and their staff, all have good days and bad.

    But I do recall when we used to buy Entertainment Books, that if we were using a coupon, there seemed to be a higher chance of the wait staff egging us on to buy more drinks. Understandably, they want to make up lost revenue from the coupon-in-use. But I don't recall getting sub-par food or even service just because we were coupon users.

    Having said that, I'm not surprised if many restaurateurs feel a sense of disdain towards 3rd-party incentives, rebates and discounts, unless they were issued by them directly.

    There were (are ?) reports of Dine Out Vancouver customers getting rushed in their meals or received somewhat indifferent service. I'm sure it's possible. But it's all anecdotal, ain't it ?

    1. I did the Groupon brunch at the end of May. It took two and a half hours! We sat with really long stretches with nothing as well. No refills, etc. My son had to keep reminding me we didn't have to be anywhere and to quit stressing out. My eggs benny arrived and the yolks were hard as rock. I had to send it back and my son was finished his by the time mine came back.

      5 Replies
      1. re: ck1234

        That's un-acceptable service :-( Did you complain ?

        1. re: LotusRapper

          No, I didn't. I didn't, because... I already had embarrassed my son by something I said to the waitress earlier. (Long story and way off-topic here). I didn't want to make his brunch any worse than it was by what I had said already. :-) I ordered a glass of champagne too, and it was served warm. Yuck.

          The food was good, though if I paid $40 x 2, I doubt I would have been happy. The fingerling potatoes were under cooked and tasted solely of vinegar. Here's what we had in order, with the pictures:

          1. Amuse of corn muffins with chipotle mayo
          2. Granola with Greek yogurt and melon (really good!)
          3. Smoked Larry Albright Trout Salad - pink grapefruit, candied ginger, arugula, pumpkin seed dressing (loved this dish)
          4. Eggs benny with prosciutto, fingerling potatoes and fresh fruit
          5. Chocolate Chip Mint ice cream cones

          1. re: ck1234

            Oh, my son did not want the trout in his salad, so they did offer him a 24 hour slow cooked egg in its place and he did enjoy that. It just felt like it took 24 hours to arrive. :-)

        2. re: ck1234

          I got the C Groupon too. I was going to have a solo Sunday lunch using it. Now I am not too sure if I want to go alone any more...2.5 hr lunch by myself is a bit too much...

          1. re: ahungrybear

            I would just tell them you've heard their brunches take a long time and you don't have a long period of time to spend at the restaurant. Don't "not" use your Groupon solo because of my experience, yours may be better....I would just let them know you don't want to be there all afternoon. :-) Let us know how you make out...

        3. It could be, but it seems counter-intuitive to me. The whole point of a business offering a Groupon is to get you to come back later. Sounds like that's not happening this time.

          1 Reply
          1. re: CanadaGirl

            You are so right, CanadaGirl. That is the point.

          2. I think the disconnect is likely between the owner/management who see this as an incentive for people to eat at the restaurant and perhaps splurge, and the wait staff who I suspect sometimes get stiffed on the tip because the diner may tip on the bottom line bill rather than the pre-discount. We have used Entertainment book coupons for years and there is a perceptible difference in the attitude at many places once the coupon is laid on the table. I make a point of NEVER indicating that it is a coupon before the end of the meal but I also make a point of tipping on the total bill before discount and hope the waiter remembers if/when we are next at the establishment.

            1 Reply
            1. re: J and V

              Excellent point. We did exactly the same with our EB dining. Wait staff's earned tips shouldn't be shortchanged (no pun intended) because of dining incentives.

            2. Hi. I just wanted to throw my two cents in here. I'm sorry to hear you had a not-so-great experience. I've been to C twice, both times using Groupons, and I just could not have had a better experience. The first time we had a six course dinner menu. The staff were very friendly and attentive. We were seated upstairs, but it was too warm for me. We let them know and they immediately moved us downstairs and gave us a free glass of (cold) champagne for the trouble. The food was amazing, perfectly cooked, and they cooked special dishes to accommodate my allergy to tree nuts.

              The second visit was very recently; we had a four course lunch Groupon deal. Again it was just perfect. Although I have to confess, it was my birthday and they did know this, so I imagine they made extra effort.

              But overall I would say that I've always been impressed with C, and I would not hesitate to buy
              another Groupon.