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Sep 14, 2012 01:24 PM

Is the River Cafe sliding downhill?

My wife & I have been dining at the River Cafe for several years now & it`s always been very good, sometimes exceptional.
A few years ago we were celebrating a family birthday & all the dinners were great excluding mine. We sent them a little constructive feedback email & they responded with a $1oo certificate for dinner.. A month ago we had family visiting & took them out for lunch on a beautiful afternnon on the patio. Again, all the entree`s were excellent except for one entree which arrived at the table almost cold(a hanger steak). Obviously, it had been plated well ahead of the others. Our daughter didn`t want to mentioned it but I insisted & finally tracked down a server(not ours who was nowhere to be seen) This young man attended to the issue in a very professional manner & apologized. Our server came to the table & told us that "they are throwing the steak back on the grill & she would grab it when it was ready!". Maybe I`m just getting old but that sort of language is more suited to a pub environment.
I have sent two emails to the River Cafe & have yet to receive any response. I`m not looking for another dinner certificate but some ackowledgement that our River Cafe experience was less than one has come to expect..
We usually have dinner/lunch every six weeks but I`m begiining to think we should explore other dining options in the city. We have friends visiting from out of town soon & we wanted to take them some place special for dinner tho` I`m reconsidering River Cafe..
Your experiences/thoughts?

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  1. RR that hardly sounds like disrespectful language in any way.

    Also your daughter had one issue, and they did offer to, and I assume they did, rectify it satisfactorily as you have not mentioned otherwise.

    Also, your daughter, the one who suffered, was not sufficiently dissatisfied to send the food back. Perhaps you should have let her make her own decision rather than insisting on making it for her.

    You should go elsewhere so you can have other experiences to compare, though I will say with the length of time and frequency you have been eating there, I'd say their track record is pretty darn good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Scary Bill

      Wow!! I`ve been duly chastised here & apparently I sound like I`m ultra high maintenance.
      I wasn`t suggesting that our server`s use of "20 something" slang was in any sense "disrespectful" but rather, inappropriate for a restaurant of that calibre. Several years ago when my college age daughter was working in the lounge of a high end G&C she was called "on the carpet" for addressing some customers as in "Hi guys, what can I get you?". She was outraged, I suggested that perhaps these golfers would prefer to be addressed as "Sir", It`s all part of growing up, kids! You`re not hanging with your friends at the pub!
      RE: food quality. I don`t think that having the infrequent bad meal is in any way acceptable. Seriously, would you take your vehicle in for repairs & find that repairs hadn`t been done properly & dimissed as "the mechanic was having an off day", don`t think so! Dropping $300-400 on a lunch is not "chump change" so we do expect a certain standard to be maintained.

      1. re: Scary Bill

        Alas, I forgot to mention that we do send positive feedback emails to the River Cafe folks(I`m not a "crank"!) when our experience has been stellar or approaching that level. And, yes, my wife & I do tip very generously when service/food has been excellent.

      2. You eat there 7-8 times a year and have only had 2 dishes you didn't think were up to par? That is actually a pretty good track record. When I find a place I love to frequent I may overlook the odd miss-step. Not every day is going to be 100% perfect. I like River Cafe a lot and have found the food and ambiance to be excellent. So I've only noted good experiences there.

        If you really feel it's gone downhill, and are no longer satisfied then don't go there anymore. There are many great restaurants in Calgary. You should explore and see what else is out there.

        1. I honestly can't comment on whether or not the River Cafe is going down hill as I've only eaten there for lunch once in the past year. I will say that for a restaurant of this calibre and price range, I'd be fairly displeased if a steak wasn't cooked to my liking and their solution was to "throw it back on the grill". That is bush league.

          Cook a me a new $35 steak to the proper temp and rest it properly, thanks!

          1. It was handled poorly. Putting a steak that was served to a customer, back onto the grill is disgusting and totally unacceptable.