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Very Strange Experience at Yours Truly...And We Didn't Even Get to Dinner

I hope to preface my comments below by saying that I don't make a habit of criticizing restaurants online (this is my first)

Last night my wife and I arrived for our 6 PM reservation at Your Truly (first time) and immediately smelled trouble. There were about as many servers in the room as there were patrons (surprising, given that I was told that they do 2 seatings and we either had to come at 6 or at 9 with no in-between - and the restaurant did just win new restaurant of the year in Toronto Life).

Even with all the staff in the room and no patrons, for whatever reason the staff seemed to just ignore us. We did everything but stand up and walk over to the bar which, again, was strange given the restaurant had only a handful of patrons at the time.

We finally flagged our waitress and placed some drink orders. Waited another 10 minutes without drink for our waitress to return to take our orders.

Here is where things got weird - I understand the concept of tasting menu, but my wife eats fish and so we asked if it was possible to replace one of the courses in the vegetarian menu with the fish dish from the meat tasting menu. We offered to pay the full price for the meat tasting menu (which is more expensive than the vegetarian and offered to pay whatever the cost so that my wife could eat the fish course a la carte). She got noticeably flustered by the request and provided the response that: "the chef is very finicky and it is very important to him that his meal is eaten in the sequence that he has arranged". She said she would ask though and 10 minutes later, an owner came to our table.

We still had not been served our drinks and were getting quite upset (and ravenous) at this point. He very smugly explained to us that we need to understand that they portion the dishes (including fish orders) to the number of tasting menus and so could not accomodate us. This seemed pretty odd to me given that the place was half-empty and there is no way for him to predict how many customers were going to eat which menu that night.

In the end, after 35 minutes, and still without our drinks - we opted to leave as the place wreaked of trouble (positive spin on this story, we ended up at Libretto where our drinks came within 2 minutes and the nduja sausage pizza and current special peanut butter gelato put a smile on my face)

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  1. This scarily echoes the experience my husband and I had there about a month ago (except we did not ask for any menu substitutions, but they were missing tasting menu dishes). We waited 10 minutes (timed it folks) before anyone came with water or asked us for drinks. The server was bordering on surly. I've been meaning to elaborate on this horrible experience but can't at the moment. Will do so later today...

    8 Replies
    1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

      I've been a few times and have issues with the service as well. Once, the bartender was more interested in serving her industry friends than tending to me and another time I noticed the staff standing and chatting in a corner smugly, not even acknowleding the thank yous of a few departing patrons. Despite the chef credentials, they need to get their act together in the service department.

      1. re: deabot

        Chef has to remember that customers are very finicky as well and may opt to tell Yours Truly to shove their tasting menu and keep their hard earned dollars for some other welcoming establishment(s).

        I would have just gotten up and left as soon as she started with the "chef" stuff.

        1. re: bluesbreaker1969

          Yah, we weren't in love with our experience. The place was packed when we went on a saturday at the late seating, and it also took a long time for our drinks to come. But otherwise, I thought service was good, the food didnt thrill me for the most part.

          abbeyskitchen.com

      2. re: Splendid Wine Snob

        I've had both great and iffy service there, mainly due to the particular server, and not the restaurant's fault.

        This brunette girl that is very slim, she's a great server, very attentive. Makes friendly chatter w/o invading your personal space. Whereas this blonde girl I've had multiple times is cold and distant. Not much attention to detail placed.

        Although in general, I've noticed it takes them a long time for the bar to make cocktails. Maybe the drinks are complicated? I don't know.

        I still think the food is better than Acadia.

        1. re: aser

          Actually, that is the restaurant's fault. If they had a couple of comptetent front of house managers they would weed out the weak servers. The food is okay. a bit pretentious. Haven't been to Acadia yet.

          1. re: aser

            I agree. The brunette is the good one. And yes, Acadia is much better all around.

            1. re: hungryabbey

              Acadia is better? aser just said "I still think the food is better than Acadia" and you said "And yes, Acadia is much better all around"

              1. re: foodyDudey

                Oh I misread Haggis. My opinion is that Acadia was better- much better. But maybe that was because I wasn't thrilled with the menu I got at YT.

        2. I hate when that happens:(
          New place and the Chef is the 'boss' for back and FRONT of the house
          Seems like the Servers are walking on 'eggshells'

          This should NOT have happened
          but with your review and a tonne of others on the Internetsssss
          They will need to 'pull it together' or soon they will be in the dust in a few months

          What a waste of space!

          1. I would suggest that if "Chef" can't switch one tasting dish with another in a half empty resto, then "Chef" is either incompetent or an arrogant so and so. That plus inattentive wait staff is probably why the place wasn't full. I'm with the poster above who would have told them to shove it and walked out.

            1. This is kind of an interesting restaurant.

              The wait staff was quite attentive with our table of 5 even though we did not order any booze on a Sunday night, but it was obvious that she was either new or is just helping out here and there.

              I was kind of puzzled with the food we were served. I guess I just didn't really get it and neither did my stomach (and 3 of the other guests that went with me).

              I guess my expectation was too high... and I just didn't really like the food (personal preference).

              I guess I am just too old for that place, coming from a 30 y.o.