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Dec 7, 2011 07:01 PM

Haute Dish, tonight

A very mixed bag. Expected much more for the money.

The good. The final courses we ordered: The mac and cheese, the burger, the famed tater tots and short ribs. Good stuff. [I had the short ribs and they were outstanding.]

The bad. The server could not seem to find a bottle of red in the 30s until we pointed out that there was an Argentinian Malbec for $8 a glass...could we buy that buy the bottle? [$32 a bottle.] We ended up buying four bottles. Dumb that the server tried to find us a more expensive bottle. She was -- rightfully -- shortchanged on the tip.

Overall, the server was somewhat indifferent to the whole table. Stingy on bread for six people. Had to ask for salt and pepper three times.

Our party seated next to the restrooms. The smell of coconut or palm oil from the restrooms is still in my hair. And I'm now at home.

We ordered separate checks. Server should have made 20 percent from all of us. I left 10 percent on mine. Haven't done that in this town for years.

Dining room pretty empty except for the major seating @ 8.

Good luck to the owner(s).

None of us will be going back.

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  1. Did you look at a drink menu? That malbec is listed on it at $32 for a bottle. So if your server didn't bring you a drink list, I guess that's on her, but it doesn't seem like such a great offense to me to warrant stiffing her on the tip. It's pretty easy to ask for a wine list.

    Sorry you had a bad time last night, but if it was your first visit I would definitely recommend giving them another chance, especially if you enjoyed the food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: keithinmpls

      We did look at the drink menu. Didn't see that Malbec right away. Asked the server. Wine she "found" was $48 a bottle. Plus her attitude the whole night.

      I am not in the business of stiffing servers. Used to be one way back when. That sticks with you and has always made me an average 25 percenter when things are good (even average).

      Here's our marketplace: Lots of great places with great food. Means? Why spend another $70 at a place you had a not-so-great experience?

    2. Why did the restrooms smell like oil?

      1. I'm also confused. You low-tipped the server because she didn't know the wine list well enough, or because you perceived she knew it very well and purposefully deceived you?

        The second transgression is egregious but impossible to prove, the first seems far more likely, especially if the wine was only listed as a glass pour. Both are bad.

        To be honest, I am not a huge fan of Haute Dish either due to indifferent service from a bartender with a ponytail...but I don't think he's malicious, just a dick. There are good servers there though (Matt being one of the best anywhere) and the food is good, so I do not punish anyone.

        Sounds like an unpleasant evening for you, which sucks, but to draw a conclusion and then punitively take on someone's livelihood...that seems somehow worse. Just my opinion.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Foureyes137

          I'd like to mention that the wine in question IS listed by the bottle. It's $32, according to the wine list posted on HD's website.

          I have to say that when I read the OP's account of the experience, the image that immediately developed in my mind made me shudder and pity their poor server - and if I had been at a nearby table I'd have been rolling my eyes like crazy. Not enough bread? Too slow with salt and pepper? Good thing you didn't ask for mustard - that might have really killed the night. Stupid joke, sorry. Maybe that's way off base - I wasn't there so I don't know what actually went down.

          I will concede that bad and indifferent service sucks and can be a big downer. But it's your loss if it means you never go back to HD. I've had bad service first impressions of both Saffron and Meritage completely rescued by a larger sample size of experiences at those restaurants. And I would consider HD to be their peers in terms of both food and service.

          1. re: keithinmpls

            @ Keith. Just one more thought. I agree with what you said. But there seemed to be a whole atmosphere of indifference about everything permeating the place except for the food (which I thought was great). I have a friend who will never go back to Meritage but I happen to love the place.

          2. re: Foureyes137

            To be clear: After we looked at the wine list, and the server made recs in the 40s and 50s, I said we're usually good for 3-4 bottles and do you have anything in the 30s? Server said, "not really." The server should have offered the $32 Malbec without our having to ask for it.

            Either the server was attempting to deceive or she didn't know her wine list. She started with an attitude, and it just got worse.

            To the other person who asked about the oil in the bathrooms. I have no idea where it was. Probably in bottles with sticks (which was trendy some years ago). My point? The restrooms were right next to our table. Who wants wafts of coconut oil floating over your table every time someone opens the restroom door?

            Punitive I am not. The server deserved what she got. The place was half full. She was not going to turn our table that night. She should have focused on trying to do well with the tables she had.

              1. re: ibew292

                I've eaten at Haute Dish a handful of times - always someone else's choice. The service is so lackluster (forgotten orders, having to ask for items multiple times, really long waits for food) that even though I really like the food, I end up unhappy. There are enough restaurants with food of this caliber in the Cities with excellent service that not going back seems reasonable.

                1. re: fromtheD

                  I've stiffed servers and waitstaff for far less than this, good for you.

                  1. re: fromtheD

                    I was there the end of September. Brought my friend for her birthday. The service we had was absolutely great. (to top it off, my friend also invited a vegetarian and a super, super picky eater...I was embarrassed) The service we had was fantastic, I was very happy with the total patience of the server. The food was awesome! (it was a Saturday night and the kitchen really, really satisfied the veg and picky people) Our server was a guy and it seemed he also covered front of house as well. All of us left there very happy and satisfied. (love the Mn Mules there)

                    1. re: fromtheD

                      I ate at HD on Saturday evening. First off, I was told that they were out of Tater Tot Haute Dish. Thats fine if its like 10pm or you have an extensive menu....but when its just barely past 8pm and the restaurant is half full....its a little alarming. Granted the staff did give us a free round, but it seems a menu with such limited (granted that is fine) menu would be able to provide anything until at least 10pm.