HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Worst experience at a "fancy" restaurant and why?

What is the worst experience you have ever had at a nice restaurant and why?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've been fortunate in being able to eat at several Michelin starred restaurants in recent years. I've yet to have a bad experience so I suppose my "worst" experience is that, occasionally, I've found a dish not to my taste.

    I suppose the "worst of the worst" was a two star place where there wasnt a single dish that had a "WOW" factor - all pretty good dishes in themselves but none that you wanted to shout from the rooftops about - and, at that price point, there should be at least one

    10 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      Lucky you. i had a 10-year old girl projectile-vomiting two tales away from ours at French Laundry. Upside was I was not one table away, I suppose.

      1. re: demitasse04

        My bad experience was due to a nearby vomiter too... in my case it was an elderly lady losing her expensive dinner on the floor.
        Probably not the restaurant's fault.

        1. re: demitasse04

          OK, my "bad experience" pales, compared to yours.


          1. re: demitasse04

            Good Gawd, "projectile-vomiting". I hope it wasn't green pea soup a la "The Exorcist".

            1. re: klyeoh

              "projectile vomiting" reminds me of the movie "the Meaning of Life" with Mr. Creosote!


              Or the infamous ipecac scene from Family Guy :



              1. re: alkonost

                apparently that scene was 1. almost cut and 2. required Terry Jones something like 6 hours of make-up and 3. none of the extras knew he was going to explode.

                1. re: hill food

                  Thanks for the MP trivia, it's hard to imagine they were close to cutting the scene since it's so funny. I'm glad they kept it.

                  1. re: alkonost

                    yeah... gives one a fuzzy feeling.

                    a lot of that one dealt with food and went nowhere.

            2. re: demitasse04

              That would be a nightmare. Vomiting anywhere in a restaurant is bad. The French Laundry is on my bucket list of where I want to go and to have it ruined that way would be devastating. And worse... I'm a sympathy puker. I'd have a hard time not joining in as soon as I heard/saw/smelled it. Just curious how a classy joint like the FL handled the situation. And were you able to finish your meal?

              1. re: Firegoat

                heh, an absence of puking at a place on your 'bucket list' heh heh-heh

          2. I am not just talking solely about the food, also the ambiance, and service.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lovethosebites

              I was slightly peeved about a service issue at the 2* place I mentioned. One of the servers spotted us noting down the menu items and said there was no need as they could email me a copy of the menu. Which we thought was nice. Only it took them ages and then it wasnt the menu from that night - rather the generic one they had on their website.

            2. Where to start? A number of years back we chose to celebrate our anniversary at a highly touted local restaurant whose chef had a fine reputation. I booked over one week in advance for a Tuesday night. We come in and are shown to a tiny two-top in the bar, stuffed right behind the maitre d' stand. Uh, no thanks, we'll wait for a real table.

              The appetizers, including their raved-over specialty, were average at best. The Spouse asked to order off menu and was accommodated. His meal was worthy of the restaurant's reputation. I ordered from the menu and could have done just about as well in a hospital cafeteria. No two items on my plate were the same temperature. The vegetable was not the one listed on the menu (no mention made of substitution), was lukewarm, and lacked any seasoning at all, even salt. The starch was unrecognizable as a food substance, was plopped on the plate in a blob, had a scary color and again no seasoning, and was colder than room temperature. The main course had an inedibly salty sauce fused to the meat, to the point that it couldn't be scraped off. The sauce, of course, was only on one piece of meat. The other was unsauced and unseasoned. At least it was hot.

              The waitress removed my nearly untouched plate and did not ask if there was a problem. During the meal I could find no one to inform that there was a problem. When the waitress came back to take our dessert order I asked if she wanted to know why I didn't eat. Clearly she didn't, but listened anyhow. My meal was removed from the bill without any further apology, explanation, or offer of compensation.

              On the way home we stopped at a fast food drive-thru as I had still not eaten any dinner. Happy anniversary to me.

              In other words, a perfect storm of miserably prepared food and downright poor service beginning with the hostess and ending with the waitstaff and manager. Nice bartender, though.

              1 Reply
              1. re: rockycat

                sounds like you needed a drink after that!

              2. I was taken to dinner at a steakhouse by a friend. This place was known for their raw-bar/salad set up which was located in an alcove off the main dining room. I'm not a huge meat eater, so I opted just to dine on the raw-bar, which looked fantastic. I started off by helping myself to a half dozen raw oysters while my companion had his salad.

                I returned to get salad for my main entree. When I entered the room something caught the corner of my eye, and I sort of froze in denial. I looked behind the bread table and caught a mouse climbing down the table cloth!!

                I returned to the table empty handed with my eyes as big as saucers. My companion immediately asked me what was wrong. I explained about the mouse. He was in disbelief but then tried to console me by saying "mice generally don't like seafood!"

                1 Reply
                1. re: salsailsa

                  "mice don't generally like seafood" -- LOL

                  i guess he was going for the sunflower seeds and not the oysters. or he particularly liked the pumpernickel-rye rolls.

                2. I've been fortunate at nearly every high-end restaurant I've had the pleasure of dining at. However, after explaining my gluten-free requirements to our server (I have celiac so must be extremely careful) at one place, she literally placed her hands firmly on her hips, rolled her eyes and sighed loudly. Her attitude became so deplorable that I had to question whether she actually notified the kitchen (though I had called in advance to explain things to the chef). I discreetly and kindly reminded her prior to our desserts and she loudly said," Look. I've told the chef 200 times. I'm not going to tell him again." She proceeded to walk away. No idea what twigged this animosity. I am not demanding nor am I obnoxious with my restrictions. My concern, of course, is being assured that I am "safe". At this restaurant I became paranoid because I did not have that assurance from the server.

                  We will NOT be returning to that restaurant which is a pity because the food was truly lovely.

                  1. We were seated on the outside terrace. Meal began with a dirty water glass served to me with a bright pink lipstick stain on it. Then, no menus. Food (Italian) was good, if not memorable, when it finally came. Finale was the server dropping DH's glass of cognac on the stone patio at my feet at the end of the meal. It was summer, I was wearing sandals, and had to pick glass shards out of my feet before we could leave.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Kat

                      That's a health hazard. Shame on the establishment. Did you get any compensation. My family had a similar experience when we were dining at a great restaurant in Italy. The food was great, and the atmosphere was lovely. Unfortunatly during our second meal we were seated in the terrace which had a thin layer of decorative glass, and a window. Outside this window kids were playing soccer, ( I don't know where the parents were ) their soccer ball hit the glass many times, and bounced back not breaking anything. Finally just around dessert the ball flew through the window knocked over our glasses and left us drenched in wine. We received no compensaition, or apology. In fact the children got their ball back and continued playing.

                      1. re: lovethosebites

                        But you're talking about football and Italy. Of course, the priority was for the kids to keep playing.

                        1. re: Harters

                          I can understand that......but this was a nice restaurant, our family was having dinner, and the whole experience was terrible. The kids could play later, or in a park, or somewhere where it didn't infringe on the rights of the patrons in that restaurant. I wasn't being picky, and was more or less fine with until I got drenched in wine, and was very lucky to not end up with glass in my eye. The fact that no apology was offered is horrifying, and surely kids playing is in no way more important than safety of the patrons of that restaurant.

                          1. re: lovethosebites

                            my guess would be that those kids were locals, and you were a tourist they'd never see again.

                      2. re: Kat

                        No, like you,no compensation from the restaurant at all. However, they are no longer in business.

                      3. After these horror stories, my sad tale of having my escargot plate whisked away by an officious bus person just as I was getting a piece of bread to use on that delicious sauce hardly seems worth the bother. It does however illustrate a problem with too many restaurants these days: a tendency to make certain actions a matter of policy, rather than training their workers to judge when a diner wants his plate removed or doesn't. The bus guy had clearly been told to remove any dish with no food on it, and he did not regard garlicky buttery sauce as "food."

                        The very worst experiences we've had too often at some restaurants one would think too "fancy" for such behavior has been loud talk, even screeching or bellowing, on the part of large groups of patrons. Some of these places had formerly been favorites, but they've been crossed off the list.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Will Owen

                          This really doesn't fall into the "horror story" category - but going off of the issues of meal loudness, my friend had once scheduled a birthday party for a restuaurant for a table of 12 or so. While it was a festive meal, I would hardly consider our table to be been loud at a truly disruptive level. Anyways, every 5-10 minutes we had a server come by to ask us to keep it down, which added a lot of uncomfortable awkwardness to the meal.

                          However, it's a restaurant I've been back to regularly - and the reason for this specific noise issue is that the area where they sit large groups is basically in this second floor "loft" area that has absolutely no noise buffer from the rest of the restaurant. I was there once waiting for take away, and you could literally hear verbatum what everyone at this table ordered. I understand wanting to make the most of your space, but essentially seating all large parties in the area where they are most likely to interupt nearly all other diners seems like a poor use of space.

                          1. re: Will Owen

                            All you have to do is tell them, firmly, to leave your plate where it is. I like to leave a crust of bread to eat after dessert and am used to this.

                            1. re: kengk

                              Didn't have a chance. He snatched it out from under me while I was reaching for the bread and scampered off. If the place weren't so damned sedate I might have hollered at him, but neither Mrs. O nor her mom (who was paying) would have approved.

                              Of course if this place were truly as classy as it pretends to be he would have asked before even beginning to reach for it … although frankly I suspect his English might not have been up to it. We were at a much less formal place last night and the bussers wouldn't touch anything until we'd consented.

                            2. re: Will Owen

                              going for my garlicky butter sauce before i've sopped it up with crusty bread -- that, my friend, is a fightin' offense.

                              1. re: Will Owen

                                I'm sometimes guilty of being the overly loud person. I have a mild hearing issue which makes it hard for me to filter out background noise, so I tend to pitch my voice to carry over it, not realizing that other people can hear me just fine.

                              2. It wasn't a high dollar place, but it was a well regarded restaurant in Charleston...the service was great, the pork chop was delicious, but the new potatoes cooked in duck fat were crunchy inside. Crunchy raw. I asked the waiter to swap them for some cooked potatoes, and he was sweet as could be about it, but the next batch was exactly the same. When he asked, I told him I couldn't eat these either. Poor dear, he tried to explain that the Chef was going for an 'al dente' thing with the potatoes.
                                Sorry, no. Potatoes in my world are not al dente. They can be crispy and crunchy on the outside from frying, but no raw innards for me, thank you.
                                He did take it off the bill. We will go back. And I still haven't had potatoes cooked in duck fat yet!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jmcarthur8

                                  i genuinely laughed out loud at "the chef is going for al dente potatoes."

                                  who are these "chefs"?!

                                2. Nothing egregious on any restaurant's part stands out, but once an ex and I dined at Aureole in Las Vegas - he pled ignorance and said I could choose - and he pretty much had a panic attack about how it was too fancy. He was not used to anything near fine dining, and was broke at the time. Maybe we should have left, he was really uncomfortable. I did my best to rationalize with him, but didn't get very far.

                                  Then there was one time working in fine dining. I had been feeling kind of off all day, getting really queasy near the end of service. Made a break for the ladies room (off the dining room, shared with guests), couldn't find the light switch in my panic but managed to find the sink to throw up in. Found the light, cleaned out the sink, went back and plated the last couple of desserts. Not fun.

                                  15 Replies
                                  1. re: babette feasts

                                    I had one of the best meals of my life in the Swan Court at Aureole in Las Vegas.

                                    1. re: jpc8015

                                      Oh the food was good, it was just the BF freaking out that wasn't. :) I guess we were lucky that Mix (Alain Ducasse) didn't have room, that would have been a disaster!

                                    2. re: babette feasts

                                      For us, the only thing of interest at Aureole was the "wine angels," but once you have seen them, and realized "that is as good as it gets," we were horribly disappointed. OTOH, we have enjoyed a few other of Chef Palmer's restaurants. Aureole just seemed to be ALL show, and no go.


                                      1. re: babette feasts

                                        I'm curious about why you put your ex in this uncomfortable situation. Did you not know he was broke? Or were you paying?

                                        If he "pled ignorance" and relied on you to choose, why didn't you select a more appropriate restaurant?

                                        1. re: bcarter3

                                          This was 3 years ago so details are fuzzy, but I did know his financial situation and probably was paying. I think he had seemed totally willing to indulge my restaurant hobby until we got there, and he panicked. We had gone camping in the Grand Canyon and were living it up in Vegas at the end of the trip, I think it was just a case of totally different expectations and perspectives (city girl v backwoods boy, fine diner v happy hour). Maybe there were cues that I missed, I guess I just trusted that when he said, "wherever you want, babe, you choose", he meant it and could hang. Poor boy didn't know what he was getting into. He moved back to rural Maine and last I heard was living in a ramshackle cabin with fewer than all of the modern conveniences of a non-leaky roof, heat, and running water, and dating a vegan.

                                          1. re: babette feasts

                                            ...and dating a vegan...says it all.

                                            1. re: jpc8015

                                              in my town there are MANY sophisticated and wealthy vegans.
                                              Providence, often cited as the best restaurant in town, offers a vegetarian tasting menu ($$$$),

                                              also, i find lots of vegan men in the Bill Clinton set (older, smart, wealthy, successful guys who have had their first heart attack and/or their first open heart surgery).
                                              these guys have enough smarts to see the connection between what they eat and their health.

                                              1. re: jpc8015

                                                Hey now! I was vegan for 5 years and I was able to have a very amazing meal at Daniel in NYC without any trouble.

                                                1. re: TheFormerVeg

                                                  i'm NOT a vegan, i'm not even a vegetarian, but i have reservations for the vegetarian tasting menu at Providence because so many people have raved about it.
                                                  i'm counting the days!

                                                  1. re: TheFormerVeg

                                                    Vegan at a Boulud? what a good kitchen, ate at one of his (DB? DBistro? I forget) on the UES once. and they must have been 'creating on the fly' for you. I know many V/V's, but oddly when I comment how difficult it can be (especially when on the road) and try to express a modicum of sympathy, it's taken often as a criticism they should give up that path.

                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                      (Quote) " but oddly when I comment how difficult it can be (especially when on the road) and try to express a modicum of sympathy, it's taken often as a criticism they should give up that path." (/Quote)

                                                      Not surprising. Most Vegans I've known are looking for any reason, real or imagined, to be offended.

                                                      1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                        True... I admit sometimes my humor can be off putting...but I had what I thought was a very good friend... when she came to my birthday I had alllllllll vegan food not just one dish for her... we went theough a lot together..annnnyway.. she started having horrid digestive issues... the doctor told she was alergic to soy... they cut a lot out of her diet...she still had a lot of problems... he said no wheat... she was really sad soooo i quipped..it would be kind of funny if found out the best thing for you to eat would be kosher hot dogs... .. she never spoke to me again

                                                        1. re: girloftheworld

                                                          ever heard of the "How Berkeley Can You Be" parade in CA? a self-deprecating release to that town's reputation. my favorite entry of all time was the "THAT'S NOT FUNNY!" marching brigade. (well them and the entrants trying to hand out cigarettes to children)

                                                          gofthew: if I were there I'd applaud your intent and eat up. I still eat meat and dairy, but not every meal needs to include it.

                                                2. re: babette feasts

                                                  I think it was just a case of totally different expectations and perspectives (city girl v backwoods boy, fine diner v happy hour). Maybe there were cues that I missed, I guess I just trusted that when he said, "wherever you want, babe, you choose", he meant it and could hang.


                                                  I could see how that could happen.

                                                  My father enjoyed dining out. He was a very frugal man but when it came to going out to a nice restaurant, we had multiple courses, pre-dinner drinks, dessert, coffee and so on. He saw value in that type of entertainment.

                                                  I certainly knew how to be mindul of being someone's guest but like babette mentioned, I learned that people have VERY different ideas about what going out to for a meal can mean.

                                                  I remember one lunch where I was told by a "gentleman" that I should order water instead of a soda because soda was a $1.

                                              2. I'm actually surprised there aren't worse stories here. Not that these mishaps aren't important but it seems that at least most of these fancy restaurants have avoided any major disasters.

                                                A restaurant here in NYC changed ownership and was having some serious trouble adjusting to the new management. Table after table was being comped drinks and apps left and right. Finally, the waiter comped the entire room and apologized for the quality of the main courses which we hadn't yet been served. Well after the first bite, I appreciated the preemptive apology. The dish tasted like a reject Campbell's soup flavor crossed that someone then tried to make salt-free. Not pretty.


                                                1. I wish I knew why but will answer the rest of the question. We learned that our car had been stolen (long story). The manager said he would provide a ride for us. It turned out to be the executive chef after he was finished in the kitchen. During that hour or so wait, they served us nothing, nada, no drink, no coffee, nothing. We just sat and waited. Since this event, we NEVER again valet park our car and of course, never visited that restaurant again.

                                                  1. I was also once in a restaurant were I was surprised to find a fried insect in my meal......NOT PLEASENT!

                                                    1. Ever been specifically discriminated against? Living in Europe, my bride and I loved searching out destinations and restaurants not on the American radar. This may be a shocker to some of you, but tourists from the United States are not always received with open arms.

                                                      Went to a Post Hotel in the Alps that was well known for their food. We were seated at a great table and were appropriately dressed. The food was great, location was convenient to a number of ski areas we enjoyed. We vowed this would be getting a lot of return business from us and our friends. Asked for the bill. Politely.

                                                      10 to 15 minutes later, I asked for it again. And then again. A couple at another table came over and said that according to law, we could leave without retaliation due to the waiters attitude and lack of service, which up to this point had been excellent. They then explained the area did not like American troops and he had probably been in the Hitler Jugend or had served.

                                                      I ordered him to bring the bill immediately, which I paid, and then loudly tipped him a single penny. Him standing at attention and clicking his heels repeatedly.

                                                      Since he is probably dead by now, I may try it again when I get back to Europe.

                                                      18 Replies
                                                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                        Seems an interesting way to discriminate against foreigners - giving you great food and excellent service.

                                                        But then HAH!. He makes you wait for the bill. That's really showing you what he thought of Americans!

                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                          Harters, I replied before I read yours truly. Spot on.

                                                        2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                          Where in the alps was this? From my experience I have always had a great time in the alps!

                                                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                            A) I doubt you were discriminated against. In countries where waiters don't have to slavishly linger at your side 24/7 in order to make living wages (and by that I mean tips), it can be notoriously difficult to flag someone down for the bill. It's curious -- almost like they don't WANT to be paid.

                                                            B) That law about leaving without having to pay after appropriate attempts to pay have been made is an urban legend. Good thing you didn't listen to those dingdongs.

                                                            C) Hitler youth? Really? Please.

                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                              In this case linguafood, I had already lived in West Germany for 7 years. You could still see swastikas that had been lightly painted over on building murals in this town. To include the train station.

                                                              One of my jobs while on a two star general staff was to evaluate accusations of discrimination by soldiers and dependents. And you are correct that many times it is a cultural misunderstanding. Not this time.

                                                              And I decline to name this little alpine town because time does change things. 40 years ago, a mixed couple in the South would be lucky to be arrested, as opposed to lynched.
                                                              I now see far more mixing here in Florida than I ever have in the Midwest.

                                                              And those dingdongs were nationals and were not the only people in the place that expressed their displeasure at how we were treated and that we should simply leave.

                                                              1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                Um, yeah. One can find super-fresh swastikas all over the place, be it Germany or elsewhere.

                                                                All I'm saying is that it is not at all unusual to have to make a concerted effort to get the check in German restaurants. This happens to me all the time, trust me (and is a pet peeve of mine, for sure).

                                                                In the end, of course, only you know whether maybe that particular restaurant had it out for you and your company, despite having offered you a great table and lovely food.

                                                                Also, the dingdongs may have been natives, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the "law" they refer to does not exist.

                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                  Getting the check, was something that I had to learn, when we first visited Europe and the UK. Unlike most restaurants in the US (at the same, or similar level), it is usually not automatic, However, once I learned that little tid-bit, I can now get the check, and often a cab, very easily. I just needed to adjust MY expectations.


                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                    And, almost needless to say, Bill, we experienced the reverse when we started to visit America in the 1980s. It just seemed (and, to an extent, still seems) so unhospitable to have the bill brought without us asking for it. Even worse, when it's brought while we're still eating dessert or drinking coffee. Different countries, different cultures.

                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                      I ate dinner alone at a nice restaurant in Dubai; where most of the wait staff are Indian or Filipino. When I was done with my meal I must have sat there waiting for my bill for 30 minutes. I couldn't believe it. I have since learned that this is standard practice in Dubai. I will now ask for my bill along with my dessert or coffee.

                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                        Yes, I hate that when one declines to order dessert or coffee, the bill is presented almost immediately. Please leave, we need your table. F that.

                                                                        I've never understood this need for turnaround in US restos. I can linger as long as I want to in most any restaurant in Germany, and not be pushed to leave, regardless of whether I order more or not.

                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                          Often the bill is immediately because lots of people actually complain when they *don't* get their bill quickly. I wouldn't take it as FU or feel the need to move on unless it was clear that there were lots of waiting patrons.

                                                                        2. re: Harters

                                                                          Oh, I like the Euro/UK method, and wish that more in the US would adopt that model. It just took be a bit of "training" to get it down, but now that I know the "rules," it seems to be the more "natural" method of service.

                                                                          When a server (most often in the US), stops by the table, just as the desserts have been served, presents the bill, and stands by, saying "I'll take that now... " I am offended.



                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                            i've not had that "i'll take that now" scenario happen to me.

                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                              Unfortunately, I have, and a few too many times.


                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                Me, too.

                                                                                I will admit that I often under-dress to go out to eat, and perhaps servers/management think I can't afford the bill so they want to make *sure* that I pay it when it's presented.

                                                                                It happens to us at bars when we wait for a table. So I pony up a credit card and everything's okay.

                                                                            2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                              I've never had the "I'll take that now" thing happen, at either low-end or high-end places.

                                                                              But there have been times when it was obvious they were lingering around in neighboring tables picking up a few cups or some such and waiting for me to slap the credit card down on the plate.

                                                                  2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                    Having to wait for the check is about the only ongoing issue I ever have at restaurants. I do not care to linger, after I finish eating, I'm ready to go.

                                                                    I figure servers give people waiting to order or waiting on their food priority. I have wondered if during very busy times the waiter purposely keeps customers at a table to buy a little time before the table is flipped.

                                                                    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                      <<Ever been specifically discriminated against?>>

                                                                      As a matter of fact, yes.

                                                                      Going back many years, we were headed to Hawai`i for our anniversary. We wanted to celebrate with a meal at a high-end local restaurant, in the resort, where we were staying. I was told by the hotel's concierge, about 6 mos. out, that the restaurant was booked 100%. I contacted my Platinum AMEX Concierge, explained my request, and the reason for it. I was told that we had a lovely and romantic table, for the time/date requested.

                                                                      About 2 weeks out, I FAX'ed the hotel, confirming our reservations, and sent another to the restaurant, stating that this was a special occasion, and that we looked forward to dining with them.

                                                                      When we arrived, the restaurant was almost empty. There were two tables in use, in the inner section, on a raised platform. We were seated just "below" two young children, and their nanny. They were right above us, by about 2 ft.. I looked around, and saw that all of the tables, overlooking the Pacific were empty, as were nearly every other table in the restaurant.

                                                                      I approached the hostess, and inquired about those "ocean-view" tables, and asked to be re-seated. I was informed that all were reserved. We began our first wine-course, and no one had entered the restaurant. As almost an hour had passed, I went back to the hostess, with my request. Then, I was told that all of those tables were always reserved in case Asian businessmen came in with their "escorts," and that, since I was from the US, I could not be seated there.

                                                                      Luckily, the two young children were absolutely a perfect lady, and gentleman, and their nanny was also a lady. They were better than most adults, around whom we have dined.

                                                                      By about 9:30 (we were seated at 6:00), two couples came into the restaurant, and were promptly seated at one of the ocean-side tables. The hostess told me that if no Asian businessmen had come, at 9:00 they released the tables to others.

                                                                      The food was mediocre, the wine-service flawed, and the reservations were a bad joke.

                                                                      Over the years, we stayed at that resort. In about 3 years, we began getting "pillow-talkers," telling us that the restaurant had a "romantic table" for us, and just call __ on the phone. They offered copious discounts, if we would only dine there. It appears that their policy had backfired on them, and no one was dining there - Asian businessmen, or simple haoles on vacation. When one ties their business to a very specific, and particular market, at the exclusion of others, they need to be prepared to face the music, if that market turns.

                                                                      After about 15 years, we finally DID dine there again, and everything had changed greatly, from the FOH to the food (about 5 chefs had passed through over that time), and even the wine-service. However, it recently died, and became a "steakhouse," that is almost always totally empty.

                                                                      Yes, I have been discriminated against.


                                                                    2. Last September we went to a supper club with a cabaret show in LA. We were seated behind a pillar, so although my girlfriend could somewhat see, I could not. It was her birthday, so I made the sacrifice. No one offered us any menus or inquired about drinks. Finally I flagged a busboy for menus and some water. The waiter pointedly ignored us as we even closed the menus and put them at the edge of the table. He finally took our drinks order and took off without inquiring about our food order.

                                                                      During the food order (45 minutes after being seated), he didn't even know the specials or what the tasting menu was. We asked if he could find out and he sighed and mumbled something about checking. 10 minutes later he deigns to come out and rattles off the specials with no enthusiasm or selling the dish, just "scallops in a sauce". Uh, yeah.

                                                                      He kept asking if we had received our appetizers, and we told him no. Then he kept asking if we received our entrees, and we kept telling him no. How in the world can a waiter not know if we received our food??? The sea bass was overcooked and vegetables undercooked. No complaints about the chocolate cake though.

                                                                      Drinks were fantastic and the show great, but the dinner experience put a damper on an otherwise good night.

                                                                      1. For our first anniversary we went to one the nicest places in my home area. We made our reservations months in advance, went with the full menu (this was before they were called "tastings"). It was BYOB so my dad provided two outstanding bottles of wines. We had a wonderful meal, the food was outstanding, the piano player played "our song", we watched the sunset over the water. Perfect.

                                                                        Bill came and we tipped close 50% to cover the corking service and the outstanding meal and service.

                                                                        We had no sooner got outside when the manager came flying out the door *screaming* at us. She was in a RAGE. "How dare we not leave a tip! Did we not GET IT? How were they supposed to make a LIVING". She did not give us a minute to speak. A complete diatribe that went on for felt like 5 minutes. When she finally stopped screaming I thought she might have a heart attack, red faced, veins bulging in her neck we told her we had left a tip, a very generous one at that. We walked back in and sure enough the money was there, it must have been knocked off and it was on the chair.

                                                                        The waitress was clearly embarrassed, The chef was standing in the doorway, the other patrons went from glaring at us to staring at the manager, the whole place in embarrassed silence. It was awkward and horribly embarrassing. The manager did not apologize in anyway. She basically harumphed and mumbled something about us being careless and turned and walked into the kitchen. The waitress approached us, said she was sorry and walked us to the door.

                                                                        We have never been back.

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: foodieX2

                                                                          She had a nerve! Wow! You were nice about it!

                                                                          1. re: lovethosebites

                                                                            i think only because we were both stunned, embarrassed and for that matter a little tipsy!

                                                                          2. re: foodieX2

                                                                            This is horrifying. I got bright red with embarrassment just reading it!

                                                                            1. re: foodieX2

                                                                              Oh my sweet lord. I truly hope that this manager is managing her rage issues better these days.

                                                                              1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                Not once but three times in my life something similar has happened. Even if I pay via credit card, I like to tip in cash especially if the service is remarkable.

                                                                                Twice a bus-person (or perhaps even another diner) took the money we left on the table (in the check-holder, hanging out a bit). And yes, once, it was found on the banquette where we were sitting.

                                                                                That's why as annoying as it may be to a busy server, I make sure to get their attention and hand them the $. There hasn't been a mix-up since I've started doing that.

                                                                                Now, there was an instance where we were accosted by a bartender after we'd left no tip for a server who was rude, slow and careless (and dirty). The basis for the zero tip (only done this 3-4 times in my life) was that our server disappeared for 45-minute intervals in our meal. It took us nearly 3 hours to get out of there.

                                                                                You can bet that I made it very clear that they weren't gonna strong-arm me for a tip for a meal gone horribly wrong.

                                                                              2. It was my husband and my anniversary. There was a restaurant I had been wanting to try, and I read in the local newspaper's food blog that they were having a special that week. I think it was two 3-course meals for $50 or something like that. It said no coupons were needed. So we went and when we were ordering told the waiter we'd like the special. He knew nothing about it and went to get the manager. The manager said we needed a coupon and couldn't have the special without one. I thought maybe I had missed something in the blog about the coupon so I didn't make a fuss. Since we were there and still wanted to try the food, we stayed and ordered entrees within the price limitation of the special.

                                                                                Shortly after, a big party came in and was kibbitzing with the manager. They told him they all wanted the special, and he said "sure!" even though they also had no coupons. Our waiter saw that we had clearly overheard this and said something to the manager. After a good long while the manager came back over and made up some lame story about how he was going to do us a big favor and let us have the special even though we really were supposed to have a coupon.

                                                                                When I got home I checked the blog and sure enough it did say that no coupon was required. I posted on the blog about my experience and the manager wrote to the moderator to say that he was sorry and I could call him for a gift certificate, but I never did. I have no desire to go back there and relive that treatment.

                                                                                1. We went to the bar area of a high end place in a hotel so that we could try a few of their dishes that they served both in the bar and in the restaurant, as well as have a drink or two. The place specialized in California wine and food. Also keep in mind that we are staying at this very expensive hotel. My SO and I have almost always received great service, and have great rapport with wait staff at our usual places.

                                                                                  We were handed our menus, and after a few minutes the waitress reappeared to take our drink orders. I'd looked at the drink menu, but didn't see any sparkling wines, so I ask her if she had any by the glass. She sighed very heavily, and tells me thy're all listed on the menu. I realized I'd missed the page and looked, thinking that perhaps there were a huge variety that would make it hard to list. Nope there are only 4. We order our drinks and our food.

                                                                                  A few moments pass, and the bread is served. A few minutes later, another waiter comes by and says, "Lavash? (pause) Lavash?", we stared at him blankly, he says "Helllooooo... Lavash?" with an eye roll. The waitress signals that he's actually at the wrong table so he takes off, with no apologies, but with a sigh.

                                                                                  Food arrives and we start to eat. there were a few good bits on the
                                                                                  and some misses. However the waitress who did check on us a few times became increasingly snotty. as it was almost 10 she asked in the "Don't you dare order another drink" tone of voice if we'd like another drink before last call. We didn't.

                                                                                  Then she arrives with our bill and in the most snooty, you are scum
                                                                                  voice she asks if we need our parking validated. We declined politely. The in the same tone, but perhaps a bit more sneery, she asked if we'd like our bread wrapped, we also declined.

                                                                                  At this point my fabulous evening was ruined, and I was quite pissed. I felt unwelcome, and honestly it was if she didn't think we belonged there, and not quite "good enough". I do not appreciate being treated like dirt TYVM. Even if I had just fallen off the turnip truck you do not treat anyone in this snotty fashion.

                                                                                  I left a ten cent tip on a $100 bill for the first time ever.

                                                                                  This was especially bad as this was at a famous resort headed by a mouse and is well known for their great service.

                                                                                  1. Two different times, at the same restaurant (Blue Hill Stone Barns, a rather expensive place). One time wasn't the restaurant's fault, but it did upset the meal. The guy at the next table blew his nose incessantly through the meal. Really destroyed the ambiance. The other time, I will blame on the restaurant. We were at a table for two (banquette) next to another table for two, sharing the "couch". They were clearly VIPs and someone from the staff (wine guy?) inserted his behind between our tables (with the less attractive side, of course, facing me) and stood there chatting for 5-10 minutes. At one point I needed to go to the restroom and had to squeeze around the other side to get out. We definitely felt like the "poorer cousins"

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: DGresh

                                                                                      Ah, the old derriere across the table trick.

                                                                                      We dined at Sea Blue, as we were fans of Chef Michael Mina's. The tables seemed to be from a luncheonette, and were small and spaced about 6" apart. Ours was already filled with wine glasses, and every time that the waiters delivered anything to the near-by ("near" being the operative term), their behinds knocked over our wine glasses. After having two spilled (no offer to replace the wines), and four, that we managed to catch, at the last moment, we finally placed about six on a ledge behind us, and brought them down to the table, when we wanted to taste them.

                                                                                      Let's just say that we have not been back.

                                                                                      Table spacing is an important part of designing a restaurant, and is often overlooked.


                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                        Oh, yes.

                                                                                        This spacing and knocking-over stuff is all too familiar to those of us who've dined in New York over the years.

                                                                                        It's interesting, it seems the places that exploit every bit of space are short-lived. The ones with longevity also have wide areas of space for every diner. Just what it seems to me.

                                                                                        Except for the Oyster Bar...

                                                                                        1. re: shaogo

                                                                                          Now, some of my issues with spacing might come from living in the Deep South, where the population-density is not so great. I like to have room to dine, and also have room for servers to serve.

                                                                                          Though I grew up in a tiny house (not many people though), I like a bit of space around me. Perhaps that is why I now enjoy living in the American West - lot of space...

                                                                                          At favorite restaurants, many hosts/hostesses know to seat us at larger tables. When dining at a new location, that I hope to return to, one of the first things that I do is survey the room, and get table numbers for next time.

                                                                                          Recently, at a lovely, and new to us, restaurant in San Francisco, at about the third wine course, the server grabbed a near-by two-top, and moved it over to us. She also appropriated another two-top, just for decanting and serving the wine, and informed the hostess that two smaller tables would be out of service. In the drill, I learned that I needed to request # 41 next time. Interesting, as that is also our five-top at another San Francisco restaurant, and is automatically allocated to us, when we make reservations - maybe "# 41" has some significance with restaurants?

                                                                                          Similar happened last weekend in Phoenix, where we quickly had filled our two-top, to overflowing - heck, just the Riedel Sommelier Series Burgundy glasses filled our little table, and we still have 4 other wine courses!

                                                                                          Nah, I really like my room, with no posteriors hanging over where I am dining.


                                                                                      2. re: DGresh

                                                                                        While this didn't happen at a fancy restaurant, I had a customer actually place his rear end on my table while I was eating! I was at La Super Rica, a very busy, crowded taco stand in Santa Barbara. I had a table near the order window, which is one of the worst tables to get. A man who was waiting in line backed up to my table and leaned his rear end on the edge of my table so that he was half sitting on it. After a few minutes, his wife noticed I was very uncomfortable and mentioned something to him. He actually argued with her that he was doing nothing wrong, but at least he stood up and I had my table back.

                                                                                      3. About 6 years ago, The Husband and I visited Quebec City for the 1st time, and against the opinions of some, decided to eat at some of "the restaurants" in the city. At one, ( very well-known but the name is escaping me. I think I blocked it out because of the horror) they sat us at 9pm at a 2 top next to a table for 16 that had at least 6 young children. I politely explained that we wanted another table, but the manager insisted there were no other tables. I politely explained, in French, that we really preferred to sit away from the 6 shrieking children. Nothing. I emphatically explained, in French, that we would not eat near these children. Still nothing. One of the children had repeated told "Papa" that he did not feel good. "Papa" ignored him...until he puked ALL over their table and the floor. We got up and walked out.

                                                                                        2 night later we were at Laurie Raphael. Sitting next to another young couple who came in shortly after us. Within 5 minutes, the man has taken his shoes and socks off and is picking and scratching at his feet. I wanted to vomit!! Even the waitstaff was like, "WTF?". Then, he perched like a bird on the end of his chair and starts to talk really loudly. Bizarre. They were crass and gross the whole time we were there and they were LOUD. At some point, they step out for a cigarette. And don't return for ages. Finally, the waiter comes back in with the woman..clutching her shoulder tightly. It appears they were found at a bar nearby, trying to do the "dine and ditch". The waiter also informed us afterwards that the woman was a prostitute. Good times. Unfortunately, the food was eclipsed by these weird ass people.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: MRS

                                                                                          >I explained, in French ... One of the children
                                                                                          >had repeated told "Papa" that he did not feel good
                                                                                          >... until he puked ...
                                                                                          En francais, you should have mentioned that you did not want to be there to accept the collect "call from Raoul".

                                                                                          1. re: psb

                                                                                            lololo!!!! You are so right!!! It was truly hideous to see...

                                                                                        2. My husband and I went with 2 other couples to an expensive steak/sushi restaurant. I was pregnant at the time, but friends did not know. Menus came, and I started to get nervous. I knew I wouldn't be able look at a piece of meat and I couldn't eat any sushi with raw fish.

                                                                                          Everyone placed their orders- sushi, steak, short ribs, duck. I politely asked if there were any vegetarian options. Waiter gave me a bored look and offered up an avocado roll. My husband requested something else for me and the waiter rudely responded that the sushi chef does not prepare any other vegetarian rolls and the chefs only prepare the dishes listed on the menu. I ended up ordering the avocado roll and a side of mashed potatoes.

                                                                                          Everyone's appetizers arrived and friends started eating. My sushi and mashed potatoes didn't arrive till everyone was almost done with their entrees. Meanwhile, I kept running to the bathroom to throw up from the smells. The only bathroom on the main floor of the place was always locked and occupied by a waiter. I kept running up and down steep steps in heels to barf.

                                                                                          Ugh. Never again. And the sushi was awful. Mashed potatoes had chicken broth in them, and I had to spit it out in my napkin.

                                                                                          1. This happened 7 yo at a restaurant no long in business. It was a high end, jacket required for men, $75+ pp before wine type of place. Through work, we visited there once or twice a month.

                                                                                            One night we had a server that seemed to be losing more of his mind as the night progressed. By the time dessert rolled around, he completely unravelled. He ran by our table and threw my desert at me like a frisbee. Had I not put my hands up, it would have hit me in the chest.

                                                                                            We were so shocked, we just signed for the check and left. I emailed the manager the next day. The manager comped our entire party's check and wrote a long apology.

                                                                                            1. We do not frequent fancy, expensive restaurants, but probably the worst dining experience we had was at a small but somewhat upscale local Italian place.

                                                                                              My husband had been there before and said the food was very good and had never had any issues, so we decided to go there for Valentine's Day. We were both quite young and not even married at the time, so perhaps this first bit was an error on our part. We called V-Day morning to ask for reservations for 6pm. The person we spoke to said they would not be busy and reservations were not necessary.

                                                                                              We got there a little before 6 and the place was PACKED. It was a hour+ wait, but it was our first Valentine's Day together as a couple and we wanted it to be special, so we put our names down, found a corner to stand in, and started to wait. As we stood, we saw several couples come in, tell the hostess they had reservations, and were seated immediately.

                                                                                              We finally were seated over an hour later. The table we were seated at was placed squarely in the middle between the entrance lounge and the actual dining room; it had obviously been placed there as an extra table to accommodate the huge crowd. We constantly had people walking back and forth all around us, bumping into our table and tripping over our chairs.

                                                                                              We never once saw a member of the wait staff. A woman who appeared to be the owner came and took our drink order and eventually our food order. I think we saw her a total of 3 times: Once when she took our drink order, once when she delivered the drinks and took our food order, and once when she delivered the food. We did not receive refills on our drinks (we were not drinking wine or anything else expensive, since neither of us drink alcohol, which I suspect had something to do with it) and she never came to check how our meal was. Mine was not correct; I had asked for cheese ravioli and was brought meat ravioli instead. After finishing our meal, no one asked if we wanted dessert, a to-go container for my leftovers, or even the check. We waited for about 20 minutes before finally getting up and walking 2 steps to the hostess station to get someone to get our check. This whole time, the owner (the one who "served" us) was schmoozing it up with several other tables, pouring them wine, serving them extra bread, and spending many minutes tableside talking with customers who were obviously preferred.

                                                                                              The place is still in business but we have never been back. It was disappointing for our first Valentine's Day together. Fortunately, the movie we saw after (Enchanted) made up for it (it was really our kind of movie) and we have since learned that going out for Thai or Indian food on Valentine's Day is much more relaxed since not very many people seem to think that Thai or Indian is Valentine's Day type food.

                                                                                              1. Several years ago, my husband and I celebrated a milestone birthday at Arrows in Maine. Very well known and amazing restaurant. We really enjoyed ourselves with a lot of food and drink- I believe we ordered the tasting menu with wine pairings, or something like that.
                                                                                                When the bill came, my husband glanced at it and just handed over his credit card. I would guess the bill was in the $200-300 range.
                                                                                                As we were walking in the parking lot on our way to the car, the waiter yelled and chased us down. Apparently, he had mischarged us for the alcohol, and our bill should have been higher. Mortified and embarassed in front of other diners, my husband just quickly signed the new CC bill on the trunk of our car. As it turned out, the tip we originally left would have covered the difference in the new bill- but the waiter decided it was better for him to hunt us down in the parking lot.
                                                                                                Such a shame- because the restaurant was amazing and we were having such a nice time- and unfortunately this incident is the main thing I remember from that night.

                                                                                                1. Fortunately never had anything horrific at a really nice place, but I can offer:

                                                                                                  Pierre Gagnaire (M 3star, Paris) - It was an unusually warm May, and they did not turn on the A/C. Jackets were required, and as I (cold natured) was uncomfortably warm in my strapless cocktail dress, i watched my husband literally sweat from the head as he ate his $400 meal.

                                                                                                  Manresa (M 2star,Los Gatos) - Watched all the tables near us receive various amuse , intermezzo, etc. with their prix fixe menu, none of which we received, although we did have LONG gaps between courses during which the other tables ate their extras. Never quite figured that one out.

                                                                                                  But my worst experience EVER, not a very nice place, but trying to be -was the oft-told tale of the waitress who was faking a posh British accent, preening and going over the top about everything, who asked me "is everything WONDERFUL?" and when I said "not really" argued for a while, then sent out the chef to argue w/ me in spite of my sincere request not to, then left the meal on the bill and made fun of us loudly to the table beside us.

                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: danna

                                                                                                    Your husband should be like me - and refuse to eat anywhere so archaic as to still require men to wear jackets. Mercifully, it is fast dying out here.

                                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                                      It is a wonderment to me how many folks here agree with you, Harters. I like getting dressed up to go out. I tend to wear a jacket to dinner anytime it would not be completely out of place to do so.

                                                                                                      1. re: kengk

                                                                                                        Of course, it is entirely appropriate for any restaurant to apply a dress code of their choosing (or not). Customers may then decide if they wish to eat there or not. Personally, I think it says a lot about a place if it requires jackets and, to me, wjat it is saying is that folk like me are not welcome there. That's entirely fine with me. As I say, very few places now require jackets and I can happily live without eating in them.

                                                                                                        I do eat in a number of places where the dress code is "jacket preferred" - I've never felt the slightest bit out of place wearing shirt and chinos which is as far as I go by way of dressing up. Needless to say, I have no objection to seeing people wearing jackets - that's then a matter for them.

                                                                                                        1. re: kengk

                                                                                                          Even if you find yourself eating with sweat pouring down?

                                                                                                          1. re: sr44

                                                                                                            Generally inside spaces are kept cooler than I like anyway and I have different jackets depending on the season.

                                                                                                            But no, if I were uncomfortably warm I would take my jacket off. Can't really remember that ever happening but I would.

                                                                                                            1. re: kengk

                                                                                                              Many years ago I attended a wedding at the Cosmos Club in Washington DC. It was July or August and hot as blazes. No air conditioning at all. Gentlemen were required to wear jackets. With sweat pouring off of them, some of the guys took their jackets off, but were quickly told by the staff that they had to put them back on! And if I recall correctly, the only things available to drink were champagne and lemonade.

                                                                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                I was once thrown out of the Cosmos Club! We were there for a meeting, and were gathering in the lobby to walk somewhere for dinner. Apparently we were too boisterous for the club members and were banished to the sidewalk.

                                                                                                                I can believe that they insisted that everyone keep their jackets on.

                                                                                                                1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                  Glad to know it wasn't just us (and the fraternity brothers of the groom). It seemed particularly odd because it was a private function room, so none of the members would have been offended by the sight of the jacketless guys.

                                                                                                          2. re: kengk

                                                                                                            There is a lot of that "going around."

                                                                                                            I am like you, in that I don a jacket for dinner, unless it is truly an "neighborhood place," with benches and no table clothes.

                                                                                                            Even at higher-end restaurants, people want to dine wearing cut-offs and t-shirts, and complain, when that is not allowed.

                                                                                                            Now, fairly recently, did get nailed. I, of the blazer. It was raining heavily in London, and we were heading about town. I had my raincoat, but left the blazer in the room. We stopped at Wilton's for lunch. "Sorry, gentlemen are required to wear a jacket." They offered one from the rack, but I declined, and we did a bistro, across St. James. Such is life. When back to Wilton's for a board dinner, I at least knew to have on my jacket. I never thought that lunch would be an issue, but since I am a stickler for "dress code," I was not about to protest. That would have been the height of hypocrisy, at least in my book. I enjoy dressing for dinner.

                                                                                                            Now, there CAN be an issue with heat. We are from the Deep South, where the temps and humidity, can bring most people to their knees, on a good day. Still, I was taught that a gentleman never takes off his jacket. I can only recall having done so twice, and with my wife insisting that I do so.

                                                                                                            Now, to get sort of back on-topic, when I was about 13, I went to New Orleans, with some good friends. I knew that we would be doing a fine NOLA restaurant, so had my jacket, but no tie. My bad. We arrived at Antoine's, and I had no tie, plus I was a guest. The host gave me a paper tie, to wear for dinner. That walk through the main dining room was one of the longest of my life, as I felt that everyone could plainly see that I had on a paper tie... Luckily, the food and service were great, but I was scarred. I have never been under-dressed again, and that was over 50 years ago.



                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                              I'm not so conscientious. Years ago, I was being dressed by maitre d's, coat-check people and the like in fine restaurants over and over. It's surprising how many spare blazers (that fit!) and not-too-raunchy ties the great old "jacket required" places used to have hanging around.

                                                                                                              Except The Leopard. Loved that restaurant. The only problem was, even with blazer, white shirt and wool slacks they forced me to put on "the tie." I say "the tie" because it was about 4" wide (from the '70s) and covered with so many food stains it stood stiff...

                                                                                                              1. re: shaogo

                                                                                                                Yes, "The Tie." For me, it was made of paper, with some sort of imitation Scottish plaid pattern. I was very young, and had just forgotten mine. I had to walk (with my host family), through the entire dining room, with that monstrosity. I felt like everyone there was commenting on "The Tie," though probably few even noticed.

                                                                                                                Still, and even for me, who tried to dress at least one level above the stated, things can happen, i.e. Wilton's. Lesson learned.

                                                                                                                Now, they DID offer me a jacket, but the stigma of "The Tie," weighted heavily on me, though that was over 50 years ago.


                                                                                                      2. A customer vomit story here too.

                                                                                                        I'll start by saying that I wasn't a customer at the restaurant in question. My first year out of college I was hired to play piano in the place in question which had a beautiful, brand new 9' polished ebony concert grand piano in the middle of the main floor.
                                                                                                        I was in the middle of a set playing mellow dinner music when a woman, who was probably rushing to the ladies room, vomited _violently_ into the open-lidded piano (it could've been the lobster bisque... or maybe she just didn't like show tunes???)

                                                                                                        Evidently the bill for cleaning the extremely messy mess out of the piano (under the strings, all over the soundboard, and on quite a few of the damper felts) came to more than $800; in today's money that's the equivalent of more than $3500).

                                                                                                        When the piano came back from the shop, my boss gave the directive to keep the lid closed (I was going to suggest discontinuing the lobster bisque, but I kept quiet).

                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                          That one should be in the worst day EVER as a piano repairman thread.

                                                                                                          1. re: kengk

                                                                                                            No kidding!
                                                                                                            In retrospect I'm surprised the bill wasn't higher.

                                                                                                              1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                That's pretty much how I felt on the day. I can laugh now, but...

                                                                                                          2. re: The Professor

                                                                                                            Prof: bigger question is how did the 'treated' wood affect the sound after the cleaning? better or worse?

                                                                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                                                                              Definitely not better. It was different, for sure, at least to my ears. Plain water would have caused some damage, so I think it's safe to say that this particular situation was worse in terms of the soundboard. It must have been hell cleaning the piano out...but the tech that worked on it did a great job. The soundboard miraculously enough didn't develop any cracks.

                                                                                                              I'll have to admit though...I never felt quite the same playing the instrument after that.

                                                                                                          3. I think I posted this elsewhere on the boards but once, outside of Quebec City, my H encountered a daddy long legs spider (deceased) in his otherwise lovely salad. We discretely informed our waiter and were comped and given a lovely bottle of wine. So, not a truly horrendous experience. That year, we ate there maybe 4X after and would eat there again.

                                                                                                            1. One of those techically minor, but rather irritating incidences.

                                                                                                              We were at a nice local restaurant that once enjoyed a minor national reputation. We had had our first date there, so we were there celebrating one of our wedding anniversaries.

                                                                                                              I ordered a bottle of Navarro grape juice. (Pricey grape juice, mind you, but still grape juice.) The waiter brought a glass instead. We flagged her down and told her we'd wanted a bottle not just a glass. She left the glass on the table, so I started drinking it, figuring it was part of the rest of the bottle.

                                                                                                              When the bill came they'd charged us both for the bottle and the glass. When we pointed it out (nicely), the waiter sent over an officious manager who proceeded to condescendingly explain to us that we'd drank the glass and therefore owed them for both. I was too annoyed by his attitude to back down over a glass of grape juice that was the waiter's mistake, so after a bit of back and forth they finally took it off our bill. We didn't return to the restaurant for years.

                                                                                                              Later, when I recounted this on Chowhound once, I discovered that other Chowhounders had noticed how bad the service had become during this period of time. Luckily they fixed the problem, but we couldn't have been the only customers they drove away during that time.

                                                                                                              1. Was at a 'fancy' restaurant somewhere in Michigan, during the summer. The waiter was in his first week.
                                                                                                                My wife ordered trout, which came whole. When it arrived, she asked that the head be removed. The waiter picked up the fish with his hands and pulled the head off. It was comical to me.

                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Markcron

                                                                                                                  I apologize, but I find the whole scenario very, very funny.

                                                                                                                  My brother's always been a fusspot about appearances. He's a bit self-conscious.

                                                                                                                  I paid a waiter (family dinner; mom, dad bro & I) one evening to toss me dinner rolls on cue. God bless the manager (who was consulted) who allowed it.

                                                                                                                  My brother wanted to hide under the table, but several (male) diners seated around us admired the waiter's passing form, and wanted to play catch with dinner rolls as well.

                                                                                                                  It cost me $100 but was well worth it. Two of the four tables other than ours involved joined us at the bar for drinks, later.

                                                                                                                  1. re: shaogo

                                                                                                                    Now, there IS a rather casual restaurant, Lambert's Cafe, where rolls, being thrown by servers, is their "claim to fame:" http://www.throwedrolls.com/

                                                                                                                    Then, there are several, Western-themed restaurants, where "cutting off gentlemen's ties" is a big deal. I was taken to one of those, wearing a tie. My business partners thought it would be fun. Well, the restaurant made a tactical mistake - they gave me a big steak knife. When the young server came at me with scissors, I disarmed him, threw him over the table, and had my steak knife at his throat. Heck, I thought that he might be Norman Bates' grandson, or something. Not much fun, but such is life.


                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                      My father would have done the same.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                        BTW, Lambert's rolls aren't 'thrown' they are 'throwed' (I know, I know. but I guess someone has to carry on the spirit of Junior Samples)

                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                          Yes, I do recall that colloquial expression, but it just did not roll off my keyboard correctly.



                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                            My mother would say "thowed" rather than "throwed" - !!!

                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                              Which doesn't alter the fact that the food was mediocre at best last fall. But those rolls were effective in getting me to stop and spend.

                                                                                                                    2. There seems to be some kind of curse on restaurants where I celebrate my birthday. Over the years, it seems like we either have bad service/bad food at what should have been a good restaurant, or the restaurant goes out of business/makes a chef change within the year (once, it closed within the week!).

                                                                                                                      The worst, though, was a birthday at a three-star San Francisco restaurant owned by a prominent (as in, you've seen him on Top Chef Masters, although this was long before that) chef. I'm a tea drinker, and the post-dinner beverage service got off the on the wrong foot when the waiter opened a wooden box with a flourish to display Stash tea bags to be dunked in a pot of hot water. I requested that he take the tea bag I'd chosen back to the service area and pour boiling water over it. He refused. I repeated my request. He argued that the water in the pot (rapidly cooling) was hot enough and walked away. I was left literally holding the (tea) bag and feeling humiliated in the middle of the dining room on my birthday. My father paid the bill (for five of us -- it must have been in the neighborhood of $500) so I don't know what the tip was, but knowing my father, it was ... small. I would have left a penny -- part of what you're paying for at a restaurant like that is exceptional service, so the penalty for failing to provide it should be severe.

                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                        Oooh...I have a tea story! This one is on my poor husband also...it's a wonder he even takes me out anymore.

                                                                                                                        Alinea: husband had become ill earlier in the day, but gamely took me out to my long-held reservation. He ate almost nothing and it was obvious to the wait staff. We explained that he was ill, and the head server absolutely harrassed him about how he would feel "comforted" if he brought him some tea. He didn't want any tea, but eventually gave in to the pressure and agreed. The tea, on our bill, was somewhere around $6-8.

                                                                                                                        1. re: danna

                                                                                                                          Along the lines of getting charged for something pushed upon you, we were vacationing in the NY Finger Lakes wine region and had dinner at Esperanza, which was one of the more expensive/higher end restaurants at the time.

                                                                                                                          The manager would not take no for an answer when it came to "trying" a certain local sparkling wine. We finally relented and said he could bring us a taste. He brought us a full glass each, which showed up on the bill. I can't remember the price but it was unusally high. He got an earful from me. He comped something else on the bill to make up for it. The entire exchange was odd.

                                                                                                                          1. re: danna

                                                                                                                            A restaurant like Alinea should have comped the tea. No way should they be nickel and diming a customer who is paying for but not enjoying a very expensive meal! At French Laundry these days non-alcoholic beverages are included in the prix fixe.

                                                                                                                            On one of my birthday dinners that wasn't cursed (at least, not at the restaurant) I was getting over a cold and the waiter offered to make me a hot toddy himself. Which was very sweet and much appreciated!

                                                                                                                          2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                            I drink tea with meals when I'm not drinking booze or wine. How fortunate I am when I'm served by an actual tea drinker who:

                                                                                                                            - heats the pot
                                                                                                                            - heats the cup
                                                                                                                            - makes certain there's plenty of hot water, and that it's boiling, not on the high side of tepid...

                                                                                                                            1. re: shaogo

                                                                                                                              Though not much of a tea drinker, I understand how little things can make a big difference - not at all unlike good wine service.

                                                                                                                              I was once a Lipton in a cup of hot water person, until my cousin, who studied in the UK for many years, shared "tea service." What a difference. Before, it was rather like drinking my wine out of a jelly jar.


                                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                I find that tea service is getting much better. I would hazard that if I went back to the same restaurant now (more than ten years later), the offerings and the attitude would be very different.

                                                                                                                                I often like to drink iced tea (real tea, not overly sweetened, artificially flavored "tea") with a meal. A great example of the exact opposite of the experience I described above was at a memorably great birthday dinner at a little bistro in the Napa Valley (now sadly defunct).

                                                                                                                                I had spent the day -- as one does -- drinking and talking about wine. By the time dinner rolled around, I was burnt out. I really wanted some iced tea, as it had been a warm day and as I find the tannins clean and refresh the palate. The waiter said they didn't have any iced tea. I then asked if I could have hot tea and a glass of ice. A look realization crossed his face, and he delightedly proclaimed "I will make you iced tea!" Which he did. And brought me a refill halfway through my meal. That's hospitality!

                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                  shades of Nicholson's character in "5 Easy Pieces"

                                                                                                                          3. I am with Haters. Most ARE great, but we had one 2-star in Paris, where the service was greatly lacking, the wine-service was spotty, at best, and not one dish wow'ed us.

                                                                                                                            It also did not help, with the "ambiance factor," when everyone at a near-by table began wailing and crying. Not sure what that was about.

                                                                                                                            That was a notable "worst experience."


                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                              The lack of "wow" factor can be a significant issue. I recall a Michelin 2* meal in London (a place where we've eaten before, including before they relocated to London). There was nothing of a "wow" in the several courses and service, whilst not at all poor, was not what you might have expected.

                                                                                                                              Significantly disappointing as we'd travelled to London specifically to eat there so, with the cost of meals, transport and hotel costs, this was an expensive dinner. My notes describe the meal as "nice" - not a word you'd really want to choose to describe a 2* meal. We've not been back.

                                                                                                                            2. Like Harters, I'd never had any bad experience in a Michelin-starred restaurant, whether in France, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, London, Tokyo, HK, etc. (though Chez Panisse in Berkeley was underwhelming).

                                                                                                                              Worst experience in a "fancy" restaurant has to be at Mr Chow in Knightsbridge on one weekend about 3 years back. Maybe their regulars were all there on that particular day, but all the servers pointedly ignored me throughout - and I got my food *after* some of the regulars (whom the maitre'd air-kissed on their way in) who ordered much later than me. Never again!

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: klyeoh

                                                                                                                                One, rather highly-vaunted restaurant in Hawai`i got graded down for similar. The venue was lovely, and the food above mediocre (though only slightly), but the service was horrible. There WAS a wedding party, not far from us, and all of the servers stood at attention, waiting for any direction, while the rest of the room went un-served. After almost 15 years, we returned and both the food and the service were great - no "familiar wedding party" I guess.

                                                                                                                                Also in Hawai`i, at one of the top restaurants, we were doing the Chef's Tasting, plus the Sommelier's Pairing - about UA$ 400/person. Unfortunately, the sommelier was MIA, as he was courting one particular table, which had brought their own wine, rather than buying from the wine list (those same wines were all very well represented on that list). Really a lousy night, and our servers had no clue on wine-food pairings, and were just recommending a few B-T-G selections. I tired of that, got the wine list, and did 5 half-bottles, that got us through the meal.

                                                                                                                                I guess that "stuff" just happens?


                                                                                                                              2. Every time that I've been to fine dining and have had to tolerate other diners' intrusively poor manners, the two most obvious forms of which are an insistence on photographing the food (made even more obnoxious and intrusive when DSLRs are used) and parties that are raucous/clearly drunk.

                                                                                                                                There is decorum to be observed in fine dining. It is probably one of the last, vestigial situations in which there is, so to ruin others' experiences (with so many alternative places to do it) by refusing even the most minimal formal requirements is to be a vulgar prat.

                                                                                                                                22 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: mugen

                                                                                                                                  Ah, food photography! We were just in Chef Gordon Ramsay's "flagship" restaurant in London. The setting is a bit on the dark side, except for all of the strobes going off, as most of the diners used their various phone-cameras to do a poor shot of the dishes. It was like the '80s in a disco!

                                                                                                                                  Not sure who thinks that flash-on-camera shots, and especially from a phone, will look good, but too many do.

                                                                                                                                  Some restaurants have banned cell phones, and I think that it's time that some, especially at the higher-end, do the same with any form of camera - especially if the restaurant is dark, to begin with.


                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                    Once, I was at Palace Arms in the Brown Hotel, Denver. The sumptious dining room was very dark, with candle-lights giving everything a beautiful glow.

                                                                                                                                    The food plating was absolutely gorgeous. I'd have *loved * to take photos of all the dishes I had but, knowing how flashes would have jarred other diners, I had to restrain myself ... until the dessert part. Man, I was bad.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                      I'd love to see more restaurants ban cameras, though the trend is firmly against me. It is absolutely ridiculous to watch, as tables are served, every person at the table pull out a smartphone (well, more accurately, lift it from where it had been prominently left on the table) and start memorialising the dish, as though it is the most momentous thing to have happened in their lives to date (it probably is), and as though anyone on Facebook actually pays the slightest attention to their preening, aspirational posts about such-and-such restaurant they've attended (I'm more certain here: they don't).

                                                                                                                                      Every time I see it, it infuriates me. It makes me want to throw a carafe and scream, "It's not a new-born child; it's a fucking fondant, for chrissakes. What sort of moronic, vacuous existences do you people live!?"


                                                                                                                                      1. re: mugen

                                                                                                                                        Agreed. Cameras should be banned from all restaurants. Those even using phones at the table should be thrown out promptly. I am being totally serious and not sarcastic at all.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                                          how does a small, non-flash camera bother anyone?

                                                                                                                                          i mean, other than those who get "infuriated" about what others do quietly and unobtrusively at their own tables?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                            If the unit does not use flash, and does not emit any sort of "beep," then I am OK.

                                                                                                                                            OTOH, I have seem scant few "restaurant photographs," that made me want to order that dish.


                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                              My new update on my Weight Watchers phone app is a picture taking feature that lets you photograph your plate, then after dinner you can input the items in the day's 'tracker' while looking at the photo.
                                                                                                                                              I haven't ever been one to photograph my plate, but I do think this could come in handy now and then. Especially at our Master Gardener Assn's monthly potluck dinner where I take a bite or two of as many dishes as I can fit on my plate. Gardeners are generally pretty darn good cooks, especially if they have vegetable gardens, and I don't do my tracking until I get home (which by then I have forgotten half of what was on my plate).

                                                                                                                                              1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                                                Maybe all of the photographs, that have intruded on me, have just been for Weight Watchers? I assumed that they were going to post them on Facebook, with a title like "Look what I ate today... "

                                                                                                                                                As I am heavily into wine, my memory can be a tad light, as well, so I ask for a copy of the menu and the wines ordered, to refresh it. That, plus a few scribbled notes, and my mental notes, usually contributes to a review - sans pictures, in my case. Several restaurants have my e-dress, and send all documents, which are usually gracing my InBox, before I even return.


                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                  Now, there's an idea, Bill! Extrapolating from your experiences ... Restaurants could just email us the menu and nutritional info from our dinner choices directly from their order processing systems, and we can copy it right to our trackers. I like that!

                                                                                                                                                  As far as your question of all the photo takers being WW members....my slender cousin posts each and every meal when she's traveling. I'm more inclined to think the majority of photo-folks are of her ilk.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: mugen

                                                                                                                                          my mother has taken to asking the server an empty bread basket or soup bowl and confiscating everyones cellphones at the table because she getas so irritated at my Aunts,Uncles and cousins when all meet up at restraunts to eat

                                                                                                                                          1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                                            I like your mom. I'd say a doctor or EMT 'on call' gets a pass, but otherwise a great idea.

                                                                                                                                        3. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                          Certainly agree about use of the flash - should be a flogging offence, IMO. The experienced bloggers all seem to use good quality cameras which work in low light levels so don't need flash. The folk who bug me are those who whip out their DSLR and flash away. One of these days I *will* react badly towards someone.

                                                                                                                                          My worst experience was the place I went where they were having professional marketing photos taken. After about five minutes of this shite, I called the restaurant manager over and said that either the photographer could go, or we would.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                            Totally agree Harters.

                                                                                                                                            I am tempted to get one of those fake poos from the joke shop and next time I am sitting next to a food bragger taking pictures to annoy their facebook friends with, I will put the poo on a side plate and offer it to them to photograph.

                                                                                                                                            After all, it will be the eventual end product.

                                                                                                                                            Anyway - this is an oldie but goodie ;)


                                                                                                                                            1. re: PhilipS

                                                                                                                                              Yes, yes, yes. Some folk need to get a life, but that is not likely to happen.


                                                                                                                                            2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                              haha, wait until the food bloggers start scanning the menus tableside!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                Actually I do photograph the menu tableside. It takes about 2 seconds and means I can get all the details (descriptions, price) correct when I do a write-up. Also photograph the bill because that contains special prices & tips.

                                                                                                                                                Also, I ask all my friends at the table if they mind if I take quick shots, so long as it doesn't interrupt their dining. If they do mind, I don't shoot. I never use a flash, shoot with a Canon s90 which is small enough to fit in a jeans pocket. I hope I'm on the right side of the line between capturing and intruding. DSLR : No sir!

                                                                                                                                            3. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                              My one bad-ish high end restaurant experience was because of cameras. Mr S and I out for our anniversary, asked for quiet table. Ended up in a nice corner booth, but shortly after settling in, a big table showed up, friends of the owner or manager (in town for wedding, I think). They were constantly taking pictures of each other. I'm sure a lot of their pictures have a pissed off me in the background. And then they plugged their photo printer into the outlet right beside our table to share hard copies of all the pictures.

                                                                                                                                              We asked to be moved and the rest of the meal and night was great. I guess it was a good thing they showed up at the start of our night so we were moved before eating.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                yes, the photography can be annoying, especially if tables are close together and lots of flash is used...but I can top that: what if it is the restaurant taking the pics?!

                                                                                                                                                Hubby and I once went to a fairly high end restaurant that was well regarded (but gone now) to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I had asked for a well-spaced quiet table. When we arrived, the restaurant was not particularly busy, but there was one large and noisy party of about twenty people: and of course we were seated at a dark table between them and the doors to the kitchen, in a side room. Meanwhile the dining room adjacent to us (we were in a mezzanine) was practically empty. So, we asked if we could be moved to a very nice corner table in that room...oh no, it's reserved for a special party, we were told.

                                                                                                                                                It stayed empty about ten minutes, and then we noticed a couple dressed to the nines (he in a tux, she in formal dress) being seated there. Champagne was brought to them immediately. Perhaps they were celebrating a wedding? I started to feel less bad, but...Well no. Right after the champagne the restaurant brought out FLOOD LIGHTS (I kid you not!), and a photographer/cameraman proceeded to shoot footage of them sipping the champagne, with lots and lots of lighting and flash and noise spilling over to our area! Turns out they were shooting a TV show or commercial of some kind: during regular dining hours.

                                                                                                                                                That was just the icing on an evening of bad service. I vowed never to return and was not unhappy to see them go under.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                  While I was not a "food photographer," I had plenty of food shots, for resort brochures and ads. We always worked during the off hours, at all restaurants - never when there were patrons. As I took over the whole place with my equipment, I would not have it any other way. Even with a liability insurance policy, I would never want patrons tripping over my gear. That is how it should be structured.


                                                                                                                                                2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                  I agree although I have no problem with camera on festive occasions (Xmas) but as a rule I prohibit photography at my table. I also won't permit cell phones..you can tell your babysitter the restaurant's telephone number. In fact, when I am about to go to a restaurant I change my answering gizmo message to say I am about to go to dinner or lunch and you really need me call (restaurant's number) and I am turning this goddamn thing off.

                                                                                                                                                  I was surprised a few years ago at a certain club on Canal Street when my host answered a cell phone in the Dining Room. The next time I went I was told that Board had banned the things.

                                                                                                                                                  I wish we could ban all devices. Soon you won;t be able to eat without the fellow at the next table pounding his fist yelling "GO SAINTS!" at his hand-held TV. WAnt to watch teh game? Go to the game or a sports bar.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                                                                                                    General group photography is seldom my concern (though there HAVE been instances, where it was), but the constant flash shooting of each dish, from several angles can be.

                                                                                                                                                    I dine, and hang out, at many clubs, which have, long ago, banned cell phones - even on the golf courses.

                                                                                                                                                    The "Go Saints" strikes a chord. Years ago, we were in San Francisco, during the Diamondback's run in the World Series. We had passed our tickets on to folk, who did not have to travel. Though the Diamondbacks had beaten the Giants, the SF crowd was in the D'back's corner. At one restaurant, the staff sent runners with updates on the game. From that bit of loyalty, even in defeat, I now support the Giants, if the D'Backs are not in the hunt - and they have not been for a very long time.

                                                                                                                                                    I do not recall the subject of the commercial, but relate to a fairly recent one, where a Black couple is dining. The gentleman keeps checking his phone for updates on some game, and making comments, that his date/wife does not understand. Maybe a telephone carrier, or perhaps a phone company? We have only done that once, where my wife had her phone below the table, and would whisper the scores. Think that was LSU vs Alabama, some years ago. The full kitchen staff crowded around her, for updates. Not so good.


                                                                                                                                                3. re: mugen

                                                                                                                                                  an insistence on photographing the food (made even more obnoxious and intrusive when DSLRs are used


                                                                                                                                                  The worst I have ever seen this was at MOTO. So annoying and rude on so many levels and made worse by the fact that the ambiance there is austere in the extreme. It pretty much crapped on the whole experience.

                                                                                                                                                  I think places like this should institute a separate db foodie seating schedule for these people and strictly ban it otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                4. Not me, but a friend of mine was "Big Paul" Castellano's waitress at Sparks Steak House. I'd bet she would say the day he was rubbed out outside the restaurant would qualify as a "bad day".

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Uncle Yabai

                                                                                                                                                    Your friend's friend is lying.

                                                                                                                                                    Spark's, to my knowledge, has always employed male servers. We were eating there *before* Mr. Castellano's untimely demise -- and after.

                                                                                                                                                    However, for the servers, it was indeed a bad day. First of all, they were strong-armed, as well as several customers, into leaving the bar and front area and hustled to the rear of the restaurant (there are conflicting descriptions, one person said some guy said it was a fire drill, another offered no explanation etc.) But Mr. Castellano and his driver didn't even have the opportunity to go inside. So the staff didn't get the usual tip in crisp $100 bills...

                                                                                                                                                  2. Ooooooo.... a forum for my four-star disaster. Time: October, 1989. Place: Le Bec Fin, Philadelphia.

                                                                                                                                                    I took a dear friend there for a second sitting lunch during one of the most torrential rainstorms in recent memory. We checked the umbrella in the cloakroom and were seated. Up comes an asst. manager (?) who recognizes my date from a food show six months prior, reminds her who he is and has the audacity to kiss her on the lips right in front of me. When our entrees arrived, her plate was garnished with a pea-sized chuck of steel scrubbing pad that could have caused a serious medical problem had she not noticed it. Then, due to the storm, the lights went out in the windowless venue that, for some reason, had no emergency floods. We ate by candle light while owner, Georges Perrier, screamed vulgarities at his staff to restore the lights. Finding our way to the rest rooms via candlestick, the lights were restored but Perrier continued his tirade while we consumed dessert. We then paid only to find our umbrella had been appropriated from the supposedly supervised cloakroom and went off into the rain unprotected and never to return.

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chefpaulo

                                                                                                                                                      O-o-oh bad, and on many levels. Sorry about that.


                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chefpaulo

                                                                                                                                                        That is an outstanding story. I particularly like the umbrella part for some reason, although each chapter has its high points!

                                                                                                                                                      2. We got mooned. Yes, mooned. This was probably 15 years ago, at least.

                                                                                                                                                        Very fancy french restaurant in an Ivy League college town in CT. A few of the tables overlook one of the main drags through campus and town. One of those tables cleared, and out of the corner of my eye I saw someone run toward that table. To our utter amazement, a young girl jumped up on the table, and proceeded to moon the street, and then turned and mooned the room as well. She jumped down and ran out, leaving the room in complete silence. The staff just stood there, and didn't quite know what to do (clearly a sorority hazing of some sort!).

                                                                                                                                                        My husband, the first to break the silence, said to our waiter who was standing next to our table 'I will have the pressed ham, please'. This not only got him dirty looks from the waiter, but from the other patrons as well.

                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: justme123

                                                                                                                                                          That is a new take on boorish behavior, that I have not encountered. Hope that I do not.


                                                                                                                                                            1. re: justme123

                                                                                                                                                              I'd have given a paycheck to have heard your husband say that right then!

                                                                                                                                                            2. Wow - mine is really tame. The moonie would have certainly been a great addition to any meal.

                                                                                                                                                              We once went to our favourite restaurant at lunchtime with the aged parents - one of whom was profoundly deaf. We had chosen this restaurant as it didn't have music - a big problem for deaf people as it makes it hard for them to hear conversations.

                                                                                                                                                              Unfortunately also dining that day were a family with two children under six and one of them spent the whole time standing behind his chair rocking it back and forth on the stone floor and enjoying the loud noise it was making.

                                                                                                                                                              We didn't stop for dessert or coffee.

                                                                                                                                                              1. mine is lame and self-inflicted. B-day of the SO, we were both poor working students. I picked a recently re-worked waterfront place with an inventive menu. I had saved and it was payday, but this was before direct deposit. like an idiot I didn't withdraw cash with the deposit. we ran up a $200+ tab (remember this was 1997 so it was a major event meal for us) debit card declined. the SO had to hike back to the house to fetch a stashed active card and return. the most painful 90 minutes (and then 6 weeks) of my life.

                                                                                                                                                                next morning the funds had cleared.

                                                                                                                                                                1. I love good wine as well as good food. Much of my wine is relatively rare and expensive. If we were to order it or comparable wines in restaurants it would break our bank. Thus when we dine in restaurants in New York, we try to restrict ourselves to those that have a corkage policy. I don't mind paying corkage. Actually I like doing so. I really don't want to feel that I'm getting something for nothing. I realize that glassware and service have costs associated with them. I'm willing to pay for it and I will also tip accordingly. I also try to bring wines that are not available on a given restaurant's wine list. A couple of years ago four of us had a wonderful dinner at Bouley in New York. We had checked on the restaurant's corkage policy. They had one. We ate, drank and tipped well. Three weeks later we made a reservation to eat there again. Once again we brought our own wine. After sitting down we were told that they had just discontinued their corkage policy. We could ony have wine that was ordered from their list. The wise thing would have been to leave then and there. Instead we just ordered cocktails and had our meal without wine. I'm sure that the food was probably just as good that time as the previous one. Unfortunately we were so upset, we didn't enjoy it. The restaurant not only knew that we had brought our own wine the previous time. It was on their computer. We also told then about our previous visit.In my mind they should have done at least one of two things.
                                                                                                                                                                  (1) Advise us of the new policy when the reservation was made.
                                                                                                                                                                  (2) Made an exception because of the obvious mixup in communications.
                                                                                                                                                                  They did neither.
                                                                                                                                                                  I'm sure that they will likely not miss us. But we will never dine there again nor will we recommend that anybody else does.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Highest rated restaurant in the city. My wife's entree came out and the meat was rancid. We sent it back and the manager said that he ate some of it in the kitchen and it wasn't rancid but he actually told us:

                                                                                                                                                                    "Most people don't like it the first time, it takes several tries to get used to the flavor."

                                                                                                                                                                    Both of us responded with the deer-in-the-headlights-look.

                                                                                                                                                                    Although he did take it off the check no other apologies were offered nor was she offered anything else.

                                                                                                                                                                    21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: RetiredChef

                                                                                                                                                                      Discrimination? I often dine in japan as a single white woman.
                                                                                                                                                                      Now, please understand that I speak passable japanese and understand the culture thoroughly, and take no umbrage. But I have OFTEN been refused a table at an empty restaurant, including some at which I had a reservation!

                                                                                                                                                                      Many of the fine dining establishments there are geared to business entertaining, or mistress-entertaining, and a respectable middle-aged woman alone in a suit is not going to spend much money (not get roaring drunk!) and is going to put a damper on others' festivities.

                                                                                                                                                                      I have better luck in places I simply MUST eat in when I book a private dining room (and pay the prix-fixe for two tariff!) on a night of the establishment's choosing, and sit alone in solitary splendour while one waitress dotes on me course after course as if I were an important client. And the food is ALWAYS sublime.

                                                                                                                                                                      Also, if I am paying for it anyway, I ask for BOTH portions, as they are always dainty, and I double up on the things I love best.

                                                                                                                                                                      But the first time I was turned away was the most embarrassing (WORST) fancy restaurant experience of my life. I have been fortunate compared to so many of you!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KAYLO


                                                                                                                                                                        Interesting observation, and one, with which I was not familiar. Thank you for sharing.

                                                                                                                                                                        Sounds a bit like what I once experienced on O`ahu, and reported in this thread, or so I think.

                                                                                                                                                                        I am sorry to hear of the issues, but then most often dine at Western restaurants, and especially when solo (a guy).

                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you,


                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: RetiredChef


                                                                                                                                                                        We had similar, but not at a truly up-scale restaurant, plus had a totally different reaction.

                                                                                                                                                                        Ordered a Crab Cake app.. There were two, and as per usual, we split mine, and hers. I got one crab cake, and tasted it. EXCELLENT! I was in the process of commenting, when she made a very bad face. "This is rancid," was her reply. OK. One was great, but the other was spoiled. She was correct. Her crab cake was bad - very bad. I signaled the server, and whispered the problem. He grabbed her plate and ran to the kitchen. In a moment, he came back, and explained, "One was from earlier, and the other was fresh. I will replace both, and comp the entire course." The chef came out, and profusely apologized for the issue. No hedging bets. No equivocation. He had two orders of great Crab Cakes, and none appeared on the tab. The fresh ones were exactly as I had tasted. The bad one was from the previous night - they had one of each on the original plate, and the differences were very, very obvious.

                                                                                                                                                                        No one tried to tell us that it was an "acquired taste," or any such nonsense. They admitted their problem, and made it good, with profuse apologies.

                                                                                                                                                                        At the end of the night, I tipped our service staff on one good Crab Cake app., and told everyone "thank you," for owning up to a mistake.

                                                                                                                                                                        There is another story, about a tiny bit of crab shell in a dish, and how a great restaurant handled it, but it's not for this thread. Let's just say that some restaurants are much better, than others, when it comes to problems.


                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                          "some restaurants are much better, than others, when it comes to problems."

                                                                                                                                                                          Hunt - I think we all find consensus there.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                            I think you might be surprised. I'm always surprised at the number of people who support restaurants that act as if the diners should feel privileged to be allowed to eat there. In this era of the celebrity chef, a lot of people seem to think that restaurants are in the business of selling art and that their vision and artistic temperament should rule, and not that they're part of the hospitality industry.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                              I've dined out literally 5 nights a week for the past 3 years all over my city, from celebrity/michelin/etc to hole in the wall, and have never felt that. Perhaps we have different expectations?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                                                                                                                                Perhaps. One example is restaurants that insist that you eat the dish exactly as on the menu -- no alterations, nothing on the side -- down to a place that refused to omit a sprinkle of chopped peanuts on top of a dish for a customer who was allergic. Their arguments are either that the chef wants the dish eaten exactly as s/he conceived it, or that it's too disruptive or too much trouble to honor special requests. Both arguments strike me as being inhospitable!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                  Conversely, I have no problem with that rule. If I wanted a dish that could be modified to something I could get anywhere else, then I would go anywhere else.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                                                                                                                                    So you don't think telling someone "take it or leave it" is inhospitable?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                      I havent ever seen a menu with that wording, have you?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                                                                                                                                        That's the clear message sent by "no alterations or substitutions" -- you either take it the way they choose to serve it or, as you suggested, you leave.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                          Or you get something else? I assume these menus offer more than one item, and if you're eating there more than one that'd be appealing.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Then again, I always thought Veruca Salt was a bit of a prat.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                    <<Both arguments strike me as being inhospitable!>>
                                                                                                                                                                                    since you see it that way, it would be a reasonable thing for you to avoid going to such restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                    in my part of town that would keep you out of three of the best restaurants in the area.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                  Ruth - there is that perspective. but I feel that's an issue of intimidation (and a bit of masochism) to be able to say "oh yes we ate there on Saturday!" yeah I've been sort of guilty of that, but I guess I chose well as I have been to restaurants where they "really know how to abuse the customer" but the food is great. and I've been to some where they're "just sweet as pie" and I'll never go back.

                                                                                                                                                                                  of course a good cross-pollination of those two is ideal. (two stay in mind, one of DB's ventures in NYC and JA's early MB in DC. great staff AND great food)

                                                                                                                                                                                  I wonder sometimes if those bragging rights outweigh the actual meal. golly that's an episode of "Frasier".

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler


                                                                                                                                                                                    The attitude of restaurants can vary, and greatly.

                                                                                                                                                                                    A few weeks back, we dined at a Michelin 3-star restaurant in Paris. Their attitude was "you are SO lucky to have secured a table with us, and should be down on your knees, in the utmost respect." They were not that good, and at many levels, other than their attitude, and feeling of self-worth. Two nights later, we did another 3-star (holding that rating for many more years, than the former), and the attitude was the opposite. The food, service, wines, and everything, was totally different. They exuded pleasure that we were dining with them, and worked hard to insure that our experience was stellar. I was. We are talking almost "night and day," and both held the same vaunted rating.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Forgetting that they are part of the "hospitality industry," is a great comment. All too often, many DO forget. They begin to view themselves as an "end-all, be-all," and just loose sight of what they are - a restaurant, and part of the hospitality industry.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Though OT, we see it with too many lodges, as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Some folk get hung up in their press-clippings, and believe their own hype.


                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt


                                                                                                                                                                                      That exact attitude why i have yet to return to one high end restaurant in Honolulu - the staff actually used the words "You are so lucky to be able to eat here and experience this level of quality." The food really was great, but I prefer to be asked if my meal is good instead of being told it is, as I repeatedly was that evening (down the street from where I was fortunate enough to enjoy a meal with you and Mrs. H.)

                                                                                                                                                                                      Now a point about your crab cake posting further above. How they handled the mistake once caught was great. My question would be how a crab cake from the night before was allowed to spoil and how did it end up on my plate? If practices were occuring to allow that to happen, then what else has happened that I don't know about or didn't catch?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan


                                                                                                                                                                                        Think that I know the restaurant, about which you speak. Luckily, we have never had anything like that from them, and they have almost "fawned" over us, asking for critiques of every dish. Such is life.

                                                                                                                                                                                        As for the crab cake, my *guess* is that they did not refrigerate that leftover batch, as with refrigeration, and good crab to start, it could not have gone THAT far off, IMHO. We have dined there maybe 5x, and never experienced anything like that - just bad to the core. While maybe not at a Mama's Fish House, or Mitch's level, all of their seafood has seemed very, very fresh, and well-prepared. I think that the last shift the night before left some out, and someone just stuck them back into the 'fridge, just before service the next night?

                                                                                                                                                                                        What made it even stranger was that one crab cake was the absolute best that I have ever had. I grew up with variations of that dish (more often called Deviled Crab in the Gulf South, and often served in the shell), and have had variations on both Mainland Coasts, plus all around the Gulf Area. Of them all, the one that I took from my wife's plate was the one, which I will always remember. However, the one that I left for her, goes down in memory too - the all-time worst!

                                                                                                                                                                                        Still, Ola handled it well, with profuse apologies, and comped dishes all over the place.


                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                          gocha, everyone makes mistakes now and then.
                                                                                                                                                                                          as for the "other" place, yes I'm sure you know where I mean. There were 4 of us and I'm sure we looked young, dumb, and impressionable. Sadly they left the wrong impression with us. Someday I will have to give them a second chance.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                            I thought that I knew, and can only say that things have almost always been great (oh, there WAS that night, when they were hosting two Holiday parties, that was less than stellar). Still, they should never have acted that way - regardless if you were 21, or 61.

                                                                                                                                                                                            As we do try to fit them in on every O`ahu trip, we WILL do them together (just don't bring me bad karma, please... ).

                                                                                                                                                                                            Now, and I am so long past being young, that that could never be the issue, I have encountered a similar attitude: once in Waikiki, once in Paris, four times London, a few times in New Orleans, and twice in Phoenix (same restaurant). Not a good thing, and I hated it, every time.



                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                          I live near one of a newer high-end pizza places here in NYC. I don't go often but lots of guests of mine want to eat there.The problem is that one of my favorite restaurants in the city, Franny's in Brooklyn, does very similar dishes but much better (ingredients, execution, etc). This place though is so very proud of its food and routinely puts the food down on the table with something to the effect of "This looks amazing doesn't it?" and then disappears before bringing the check 30 minutes later. It's just arrogant and makes for an unpleasant experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                                                                            I find arrogance in restaurants to be a bad trait. Fortunately, we do not encounter it that often, but it can ruin an otherwise good meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                            My feeling is that "I will tell you how extraordinary the food is." Same for the sommelier's wine selections - "I'll be the judge of that."

                                                                                                                                                                                            Agree completely,


                                                                                                                                                                              2. Our family was eating at a very respected restaurant for the first time. Our son was about 12 and had been competently ordering for himself in nice restaurants since he was 5 or 6. (We swear he was born an adult, but that's another topic).

                                                                                                                                                                                Anyway, our waitress was not stellar. She ignored us for 15 minutes after we were seated, didn't bring water, didn't tell us the specials until we practically begged her to, made mistakes on our check, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                What really topped it of for us was that she did her very best to totally ignore our kid. Blatently. It was almost, but not quite, humerous. He kept saying, "Excuse me..." and she would NOT acknowledge him in any way. When he ordered, she looked only at us and didn't write it down until one of us repeated it. YES, he had and has excellent manners and knows his way around restaurants/menus.

                                                                                                                                                                                The food was mediocre and did not live up to the hype, as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                  That is too bad. How can one possibly expect a young person to become a patron, especially when they have learned how to "do it properly?"

                                                                                                                                                                                  Sorry to read that.


                                                                                                                                                                                2. At Fleur de Lys. My now wife, then girlfriend, had come to visit me in SF and this was supposed to be a big dinner. But the couple next to us midway through dinner started making out, bigtime. Like full on groping throughout the entire dinner. And as they got progressively more drunk, they started getting loud. Seriously? Who does that?

                                                                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh you would be surprised by the enormous crowd wishing to deal out their nasty on the dining room table. Try telling them that the table is for eating DINNER.

                                                                                                                                                                                    PS - We also know what you are doing under the table and none of us are turned on. Jeesh!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                      Sal - ehh once in NYC at a $200 pp place it got fun when it was obviously a guy with a rental and things turned ugly after a major confrontation and the (umm contractual diner) ran out into a blizzard without coat and was seen stomping around outside on the cell phone calling 'a pal' for a ride.

                                                                                                                                                                                      worst for him, floor show for the rest of us.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                                                                                                      Only folk, who are "ill-bred," or very drunk, would do such.


                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                                                                                                        Some guys are in a hurry.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The way to stop this kind of nasty behavior in public places is to look the guy right in they eyes and say "why don't you get a room?!"

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: shaogo

                                                                                                                                                                                          Maybe call the service captain aside, point at the couple on the table, and ask, "is that a supplement to the menu?"


                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I don't know if it was the worst - I tend to scrub those from memory... but I remember being distinctly annoyed once when our server kept imposing her opinion on our food and wine choices. If she wanted to do the ordering, she should pick up the check.

                                                                                                                                                                                        On the bright side... a long time ago (like 25 years ago) I was young and traveling thru New Orleans and decided I would like to try Brennan's. I sat down, ordered a coffee and looked at the menu and nearly had a heart attack. I could not afford a 20 plus dollar egg. I had to tell them I could not stay. They were ever so gracious. They comped my coffee and out I went.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                          Sal - re: Brennan's, that is class. awkward, but good for you to be upfront and honest.

                                                                                                                                                                                          it really is the best policy after all.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. 3660 On The RIse, in Honolulu.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Fish arrived with a smell of ammonia. We all could smell it. We worried it was rotten. When asked to take the dish back, the waiter came back and replied the chef said the fish is fine... 'but, we'll let you order something else.' How rude.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The owner was sitting at another table at that time. Hopefully, he has discovered the incompetency of some of his staff by now.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: andrew_eats

                                                                                                                                                                                            Wow. We have dined at 3660 On The Rise many times, and everything has been very fresh, and enjoyable.

                                                                                                                                                                                            That IS a very bad experience, and is atypical, for our experiences. Seafood can be "touchy," but any server, and especially any chef, should know the difference.


                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Adour in DC, which somehow is still highly ranked amongst DC restaurants. We stood by the entrance for maybe 5 minutes while staffed walked right past us as if we were invisible. Finally a busboy said hello and got someone to seat us. The waiter took a long time to get over to our table, and was extremely rude. Despite me noting in our reservation that we were celebrating an occasion, no one thought to tell us when we confirmed the reservation that the regular menu was not available, and instead their was what looked like a home ec. final exam, roast chicken mesculn salad, boring. And a cheap wine list to ask. When we asked the waiter about it, he said that they had decided to extend Restaurant Week, even though their website (which I double check that evening) showed that restaurant week had ended at their restaurant. I was nearly in tears, because I was planning a big night out for others. If had been just one of those things, I probably could have let it slide, but being treated that poorly, and then eating Boston Market crap to allow them to keep treating us rudely? No thanks. First and only time I've ever walked out of a restaurant (not on any bill of course, we never ordered anything.)

                                                                                                                                                                                            13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: seafoodlovah

                                                                                                                                                                                              <<We stood by the entrance for maybe 5 minutes while staffed walked right past us as if we were invisible. >>

                                                                                                                                                                                              I hate it, when I accidentally slip into "stealth mode," and do not realize it.

                                                                                                                                                                                              <<When we asked the waiter about it, he said that they had decided to extend Restaurant Week, even though their website (which I double check that evening) showed that restaurant week had ended at their restaurant.>>

                                                                                                                                                                                              Maybe a DC thing? We encountered the same at The Occidental Grill recently. RW was over for everyone else, but not them. I could not even bribe them to do a Cheese Course - only their horribly limited RW menu, and RW wine list. Heck, I often stop by there for a lunch of wine and cheese, and never expected that. Also, one would think that if the kitchen is ONLY doing a limited menu, they could do that well. Not so in our case. We would have done better at a McDonalds.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I have never been a fan of RW, and try to avoid it, wherever, but got nailed by an "extension" in my case (and it seems yours too). I want a full menu, regardless of prices. Still, some restaurants really feel that RW is great for their business, so I must be in the minority.


                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, "special menus" for "special occasions" like Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Restaurant Week, etc. are more often then not, dreadful. We avoid them whenever possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes. I attempt to avoid "special menus," like the plague. They are often ill-conceived, and are seldom a "great deal."

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I still fume over the extension of DC Restaurant Week, as it ruined a meal, that should have been much better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Now, I will call each restaurant, to inquire about the menu on my selected night. If they give me any sort of "special menu," I cancel, and move on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  In speaking with many restaurant owners, regarding the various "Restaurant Weeks," every one has told me about the same thing - "It's a time that we hope to get new patrons, who would never dine with us otherwise, and try not to loose too much money." That sort of sums it up, at least for me. It is not about people, who wish a great dining experience, but people, who want something cheap. That is not my mindset - ever. I want quality, and innovation, plus a fun dining experience, and so long as the cost is a decent value, I am a happy camper. Guess that I am in the minority?


                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Couldn't agree more. I've had $40 dinners and felt "ripped off" and $300 dinners which were "worth every penny". Cost and value are totally different concepts. Perhaps you/we are in the minority, but I think many other folks think similarly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I am just not sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I do agree with you. The cost does not always equate to value, though it would be nice, if it did - same for wines, and same for automobiles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just did a couple of reviews on another site. Not one of the restaurants was inexpensive, by almost anyone's measuring cup. Still, for us, they WERE good values.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      OTOH, we have dined at places, at 1/10th the price, that I would never dine at, again. Not a good value, even for the much smaller check.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      That is why I read CH, and a very few other sites - I care less about the cost, but the value.


                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                      As someone on a limited budget, I want a good dining experience that I can afford. Sometimes, things like restaurant week mean that I can eat somewhere that's normally out of my budget, which doesn't strike me as a crime. Now, if the food is crappy, that's a problem no matter what the cost. The only time crappy food is not overpriced is when it's free.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Terrieltr

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Even when it's free, crappy food is still over-priced in the sense that it costs me both time, and if I'm dumb enough to eat it (which I often am), it costs me the opportunity of eating something I really like!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Terrieltr

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I completely understand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          For us, RW actually can cause an issue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          For many restaurant owners, it is a love-hate relationship. Some do see an uptick in patronage, afterwards, but many are starting to think that it is just not worth the effort. That is their decision.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          In my experiences (remember, I am not a fan to begin with), I do not feel that I get a real feel for what a restaurant is capable of. Some might well be better than others, but we have never encountered those.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I feel that I can get a better impression of a chef, or a restaurant, at a charity chef event, where the sort of "pull out the stops."

                                                                                                                                                                                                          We do several of those in Phoenix, and I have been highly impressed by some names, new to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think that it's a "different strokes... " situation, and do admit that RW is very, very popular with many others, in many locations.


                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bill- was that DC as in DC Ranch?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The RW reference was related to Washington, DC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            My issue was particularly with the Occidental Grill. We had dined there for an event, and I had done lunch on several trips. RW was over, until we walked in for our reservation, only to find out that they had extended it. We had several of the dishes, and nothing was any good. The wine list was horribly abbreviated, and we could not get a cheese course, due to the extension of RW. My wife will never go back, and I am with her. It was a very bad dining experience, off their calendar, and not good, at any level. The kitchen staff was "phoning it in," and not in a good way. Never happen again.


                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                              huh, OC Grill doesn't need to try so hard. it's the up 'n' comers that throw out all the stops and try, not the tried and true ones, I'm wondering if the manager is new. OCG is established.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've never been but heard great things about them under normal circumstances...

                                                                                                                                                                                                              <edit> I did eat there once a long while back and I stand by my opinion </edit>

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I would have thought the same, but feel that I was wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                After RW had ended, they maintained the menu, with all limitations, for another 5 days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                We were not impressed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                This was 2012. We will never bother to dine there again.


                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. At a fancy-ish Italian chop house in my home town ($30 - $40 entrees), my husband and I were there mid-week for an anniversary dinner. The place was mostly empty - there are about 30 tables and maybe 4 were seated. We waited by the hostess station for a few minutes, then headed in, walked through the whole room, and finally found an employee to seat us. Then they seated a couple with a young daughter next to us (8 to 10 years old maybe?). Anyway the daughter ordered only french fries for her meal - but I was a picky kid too, so I thought that was cute. When their food arrived (before ours, though we'd ordered before them), she proceeded to ROLLER SKATE AROUND THE RESTAURANT IN WHEELIE SHOES, picking up a fry every time she passed her table. The parents did nothing, the staff did nothing, the manager did nothing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Then I found an enormous hair in my food, so we paid and left.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, my. The daughter should be able to sue her parents for neglect someday. It is a crime to not teach a child how to interact well in society.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I hope you have had other great meals out to make up for this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Funnily, I tried to start a post with "Worst behavior you've ever seen at a restaurant", thinking it would be a whole list of funny stories, but the mods deleted it, stating that they didn't think it was right to judge the behavior of others. If I'm not allowed to judge a child allowed to roller skate past my anniversary dinner, then who can I judge? Sadly that restaurant never upped their game - I ate there 4 times (twice against my will) and had hair-food three times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                                                                                        (shakes head with sadness) At 8 I was with my dad at a lovely restuant and the lady next to me was obviously on a first date and I over heard her complaining loudly to the server " This steak is grosssssss look it is all goooshy I can just cut it with the fork" The waiter and I caught a glance at each other and I rolled my eyes."Madam it is a filet mignon that is the way it supouse to be" She shoved it back it back at him and said "YUck just bring me something else and another glass of wine" He nodded. He came back by our table and asked "So little miss did you like your oysters on the patio ?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Oh yes sir, and I am looking forward to my filet medium. Is your ceaser made with anchovie and raw egg? if not just give me the house salad."
                                                                                                                                                                                                        The guy at the next table leaned over to my dad and said "hey would you like to switch dates?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I love it (yet don't care if you made it up or not)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          - it's a great story!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Me, too. I was ordering a New York Strip, medium-rare, before I could pronounce Rs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                              A cousin of mine loves her steak very rare. The whole family was out to dinner, and she ordered a steak RARE. I think she was about 6 or so. Waiter brought her steak well done, uncle sent it back and she requested rare again. A new steak returned well done. This continued several more times till grandpa got up, looked the waiter in the eye and told him loudly "THE LADY REQUESTED RARE, SIR." Finally, she got her red steak!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ha! Reminds me of the time when a waitress pointedly ignored my very polite 10-year-old son. I don't get it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't think it's right to ever pointedly ignore anyone at the table, but just as a counter, I remember getting yelled at by parents a few times for listening to and /responding to their children.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The situation would go something like:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  polite 7 year old "I'd like a milk, please."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  me: "Absolutely!"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  parent, angry: "Don't listen to him! Why are you talking to him?! We give the orders, he'll have water!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You were a victim of bad parenting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      good lord, it's not like the kid tried to finagle a sugary drink or something. maybe they were rude vegans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh I got it a lot. It tended to be people who were trying to keep the bill as low as possible, including justifying 5% tips.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          yeah scratch my comment on rude vegans to read 'just rude'', but milk? but then who knows maybe there were dietary concerns. didn't need to snap, just a smile and w/o explaining "he can't have that right now, water will be fine"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          saves on the high blood pressure meds later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Caesar - dredging up another thread ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think the original caesar salad did not have anchovy. But I prefer it with them like you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I actually prefer the strip too. Filet is usually too goooshy (I like that word) for me. Unless I'm having tournedos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I smoosh mine up in the bottom of the wooden bowl first...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                what did the orginal ceasar have? My dad taught me and he learned from some guy who was athousand years old who learned from a guy....hahaha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I know my grandfather always put caviar in his russian dressing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  it may be apocryphal, but the story is the Caesar was invented in Mexico and was improvised late one night out of odds and ends in the kitchen, no anchovies, but worcestershire sauce (which contains them). I too, prefer the anchovy version.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  caviar in a dressing? hmm. interesting. even if just paddlefish or other roe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wow! Mexico.. I have never heard that..cool.. my dad learned it from Pepe who was first generation Itialian when he was a 15 and had make them table side.. and it has a dash of worcestershire as well..garlic..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I look for the russian dressing recipe..it is in "the wooden box" old hand written family stuff I need to scan and preserve... He use to make it and then use it on Ruben Sandwiches....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I look forward to seeing it on the Home Cooking Board

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Nothing really horrendous here but rather more about the ineptitude of some "high end" restaurants.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            A few years ago while holidaying in Banff, Ab we decided to dine at a somewhat fancy restaurant which had been recommended by friends(not foodies) & had received some very positive reviews in the press. The environment was very nice & our young waiter, a recent Swiss immigrant, was very professional & attentive. I ordered the prime rib which was quite acceptable tho` not stellar & my wife ordered a steak(rib eye). She mentioned after the first few bites that the steak tasted as if it had been boiled. I thought it was unlikely but I had a bite & it was indeed "awful". It did have a grey appearance to it. We called the waiter over & he referred us to the maitre d` who seemed quite offended that we would complain. After some discussion my wife decided that she would order the lobster bisque which was very average.. When we received our bill they had included all the entree`s so another discussion ensued. In the end, they agreed not to bill us for the "boiled" rib eye.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Should you be in Banff, Alberta on vacation do not dine at Beaujolais!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Oh Good Lord, I cannot stand the vomiting thing- PLEASE, God, deliver me from the barfers, for they are the spawn of Satan

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. When we were in Paris for our honeymoon (many many moons ago), we went into what was considered a very trendy, fancy restaurant on the Champs de elysees - I ordered fish with red wine and the waiter told me in French that he refuses to bring us that wine... he added that we are nothing but stupid Americans and he doesn't want to serve us (I am not French, nor do I know French, but it is close enough to Italian for me to understand, and there was an American couple who did the honors of translating). I thought that he was kidding, but he just stood there - not making eye-contact, with his nose in the air and waited for us to leave. Another waiter approached and took over that guys table - and we proceeded to order and eat (I changed the order of the wine of course). Today (with age comes experience) I would have immediately gotten up and left and not ordered, but I was young and embarrassed. Luckily, my husband has family in Paris, so after that horrible ordeal, we dined at places suggested by his family - most of all were cheaper, smaller, local eateries - which I have proceeded to be in the habit of doing every since then - they are always the best, with the best food and best service.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                41 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Did you ever see the James Bond movie where Bond meet his British Secret Service contact in a railroad dining car and the contact orders red wine with fish? Later the contact turns out to be a Russian double agent and Bond mutters, in a perfecly snobbish way, "red wine with fish, I should have known."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: CampStreet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    OTOH, had it been a fine red Burgundy, or even an OR (US) Pinot Noir, there should not have been any issue. I often will go with a Syrah/Shiraz with fish, but it depends on the prep.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Some of the various Bond wine references got it correct, but there were many "misses," as well. Too many clichés, that just do not hold up - however, for the masses, they do seem to work.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But that's part of the point and a large part of the humor of many of the early Bond movies - that Bond has a streak of slightly ridiculous upperclass British snobbery running through him. The line is more making fun of British public school ethos than a serious commentary on wine pairing (though I believe the Russian spy when ordering just specified the red one).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: CampStreet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Albert (Cubby) Romolo Broccoli films DO take that point, but in the original novels, and short-stories, Bond's knowledge was supported much better, except for the Martini thing. Even Fleming took literary license. While he MIGHT have been poking fun, considering much of his research, I sort of doubt it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Did he miss some things? IMHO, very likely. After all, he WAS writing fiction, though based on some aspects of his career.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Now, and even in the films, Bond DID get some things correct, and often "uncovered" a dilettante, or a poseur. Nothing wrong with that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wish that I could recall every line of every Fleming novel/short-story, but I do believe that Bond uncovered at least one "enemy," when they ordered a white from a Sub-Region of France, that ONLY did reds. Just been too long now - like 55 years, since I last read Fleming.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Right, the books were different and any humor from how seriously Bond cared about such things was unintentional, but the quote was from a movie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: CampStreet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh there are quite a few Bond movie "wine inferences," such as when a supposed sommelier comments that he does not have a "Claret," but had "Bordeaux." Later, after Bond vanquishes the imposter, comments, along the lines of "Bordeaux IS Clartet." In that case, Bond was correct. In a few others... well it could go either way, sort of depending on which vintages of certain Champagne houses one likes, or dislikes.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bordeaux is Claret, one of my favorites, Diamonds are Forever, Jill Saint John, Lana Wood, oolala.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            well if you think about it.... he really isnt a very good spy... I mean..he is "internationally famous", he causes these huge spectals wherever he goes, he is always getting caught... those little wine slips are the least of his problems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I feel that if you had ordered Kool Aid, a true professional waiter wouldn't have blinked an eye, just nicely guided you to a better choice for the dish you wanted. But, like you, I traveled in France in the 60s and remember well the attitude of ALL Parisians when dealing with Americans. The sneering noses-in-the-air turned me off for many subsequent decades.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: blaireso

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        blaireso...I have been to France probably 2 dozen times since the 60's, and I couldn't disagree with you more. I've never seen a sneering nose in France! OK, I do speak some badly fractured French, but I have always been treated as well in France as pretty much anywhere else in the world. I have learned that pretty much anywhere, if you are polite and respectful of local customs, and treat others well, you will likely be treated in kind. And...probably my best experiences in France were in the 60's and early 70's. Oh how I long for the days when one could have Fernand Point cook you lunch at La Pyramide for less than 50 bucks, and could stay and eat like royalty at Relais for relatively little money. In those days, I was of very modest income...and now, even being much better off, places like these are prohibitively expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think that you make some great points. A lot of deference, a ton of politeness, and a bit of charming interest, and the "welcome mat" comes out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As you comment, I see similar around the globe. If one is a bit humble, and polite, things just happen, and in a good way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The closest thing that I have encountered in the last few decades, were with Eastern Europeans in London/Mayfair. However, that is another story.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          France? While I do not know for sure, they seemed to love me, and certainly DID love my wife - the French-speaker in the family. After the menu, and the wine list, I can greet, and bid farewell, and thank the server, but then... I am lost, and look to my wife.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I get more "guff" in the US.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Cannot remember having an "attitude" problem anywhere
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            in France. It seems if you attempt to speak the language
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            and show appreciation, you will have no problem. And
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            when my husband was hospitalized in southern France, I
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            as amazed at how accommodating and supportive everyone was, from the hotel staff who kept me in our upgradrd room
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            though our extended stay to the women in the office at the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            hospital who arranged for a security person to accompany me on trips to the bank to get the cash the management
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            insisted on for payment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ferventfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Same for me, both in major cities, and out in the "country." Nothing but welcomes, and friendly service, across the board.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              While Italy was very friendly to us (US citizens, obviously), France might have beaten them in the "friendly department."


                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ferventfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have never understood why France gets such a bad rap amongst Americans. I just do not get it! As I said before, I've been to France many times and honestly can't think of any time when I've been treated badly. I can't help but think that those who've had a different experience have either been extraordinarily unlucky...or have in some way, perhaps unwittingly and/or unintentionally, brought this on themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We have had poor service, though, just looking around, it did not seem to be aimed at US, because we were Americans - everyone was getting the same, even if French.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sometime, service is just poor, regardless.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Still, 99% has been just great.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, but many Americans report being treated badly in France, especially Paris. Sure, one can receive bad service anywhere in the world, but I have never felt that I was treated differently than anyone else in France...and indeed, in almost all instances I've been treated very well. This has been true for me in France and pretty much everywhere in the world I've traveled. If one is polite and respectful of cultural differences which do occur, reciprocal treatment is pretty much the norm everywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Now, you and I are very different. I speak little French, beyond the wine list, though wife does much better. Still, we would NEVER be mistaken for "locals." We do smile a lot, and my wife tries her best, as do I (just different capabilities), but never a doubt, where we are from. Many servers ask for recs. in the US, and we gladly provide.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Still, always great service, and a big welcome. It has been something like 98%, and I wish it was so warm, friendly and accommodating, in the USA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I will guess that not every American (US resident) has had the same fortune, or there would not be the horror stories. Still, warm, accommodating, and very helpful - only wanting to provide the best food, wine and service. Maybe we have just always been lucky? I can only relate to OUR experiences, and they have been very good to just flat-out excellent - big city, or rural - warm, friendly, helpful, and very concerned with our dining pleasure. Since the great food, and wines are a "given," what more can one ask for?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just last night, we dined with great friends, who have never been to Paris. They leave at the end of the week. They were worried about rude French waitstaff. We both assured them that that was a bad parody, and to not worry. Use as many French phrases, as is possible, be friendly, smile a lot, let the servers know if you do not understand something, and show great interest. That has always worked for us, and like a charm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I actually think that our experiences have been better in Paris, than in Rome, a city known to be welcoming and helpful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Again, maybe we have just always been lucky?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mmm...perhaps Hunt you may have misunderstood me. Although I do speak some badly "fractured French", there's no way I would ever be mistaken for a local. I don't see our experiences in how we've been treated in France as very different. We've almost always been treated very well. I can't count the number of times I've been lost while driving in the French countryside when I've been "rescued" by a helpful local.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You could be correct here. I thought that you WERE much more "French," than we were. Not sure where I got that idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Still, we have ONLY had wonderful treatment in France, and we appreciate that greatly.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hunt, I agree some must be having problems. Once, just out of the blue in Uzès, the hotel clerk asked us if people were being nice to us. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but I began to wonder later. I have found the French more formal and less outgoing than the Italians. I find the French particular about language, food and wine. I suspect that the inability to speak English well keeps many from trying. This reticence may be mistaken for aloofness. I tell friends this who inquire about travel in France and Italy: In France when I’ve asked for a recommendation for a local wine with our food, the server has responded that it all depends on what Monsieur likes; in Italy, they are still talking about the wine when I’ve eaten, paid and am headed out the door.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: BN1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Now, we have only been to France a half-dozen times, and those have been split between Paris, and the "country-side." In only two instances, have we run up against servers, who could not speak some form of English (US), but each was quick to find another server, who could do so with expertise. No issues there. Between the servers' US English, and my wife's French, we always got by nicely. Service has always been 100% friendly, and helpful.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Agreed... be happy the French countryside is far more forgiving than the Quebec countryside....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We have never visited Canada, so cannot comment, other than to say that France has always been great. They have always greatly appreciated our patronage, and we have enjoyed.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You should consider a visit to Ontario, especially Niagara-on-the-Lake during the summer. Not only can you taste some wonderful dessert wines from the local wineries which produce outstanding icewine, there are some excellent restaurants in the area, and the Shaw Festival (named for George Bernard Shaw) held there each summer is a terrific venue for theatre-going.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Niagara is great for wine but BC is better, Osoyoos Larose is the best Canadian wine in my opinion...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Niagara and BC are both excellent wine areas, but specialize in totally different products. The dessert wines, especially icewines from Niagara are unparalleled in Canada or the US. They are world class and although very different, are in a league with the great dessert wines from France, Hungary, Germany, etc. On the other hand, BC has some very excellent table wines...which I would agree are generally superior to those from Ontario.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Niagara on the lake is one of my favorite places to visit! My dad used to take me up there when I was very young during the foliage season, and he'd sit on the banks and paint and I'd watch him for hours... and both my parents attended the Shaw Festival during the summers. Many childhood memories there. It will always be a special place for me :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For some reason, when we travel for leisure, Canada does not hit the radar screen, but I will definitely consider it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        From what I have heard, Quebec city would be worth the effort too - great history, great food and a real "European" feel.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Quebec City...as well as Montreal...are wonderful destinations, as is the aforementioned Niagara-on-the-Lake, especially in the summer if you like theater, and of course, icewine (and pretty interesting history, too).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I enjoyed Montreal, but for my taste, when it comes to food (*and* scenery for that matter) Vancouver and BC put it to absolute shame! Didn't make it to Quebec City: next time...).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I would agree that Vancouver with its wonderful waterfront is a more beautiful city than Montreal. Nevertheless, Montreal is to me, more interesting with it's French influence and wonderful restaurants. Both are obviously great world-class cities. It's sort of like asking which is better, Paris or London?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  well maybe, though I personally disagree both that Montreal is more interesting and with the implication that the restaurants are better there. Don't get me wrong, I ate well in Montreal, but nothing was as delicious (or interesting) as several of the meals I have enjoyed in Vancouver.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'd agree with you about Paris vs London, except that, having been to both Paris and London, I have to admit that I would quickly answer Paris to that question! (although in all fairness I suspect that the fact that I visited London in December may have influenced that decision. Although, OTOH, my favorite Paris trip was also in Winter...)I guess my point is that it does become a matter of personal taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It just depends where your priorities lie. If it's theatre...clearly for English speakers, London wins the contest hands down. For romance, it's hard to top a walk along the Seine followed by a glass of champagne at a sidewalk cafe in Paris.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I’ve been in many businesses (restaurants, bakeries, wine stores, etc.) in the French countryside where there was no English spoken. We catch a few words and hand signs seem to work well. The French have been very nice to my wife and I always. In a wine store in Nimes, we spent quite some time with the friendly proprietor seeking local Languedoc wines. Madame spoke no English, but she was very patient in explaining her suggestions. We left with 3 local bottles to sample, which is a lot for us when we travel. Great fun!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: blaireso

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        While my experiences do not go back that far, but with our recent trips, the Parisians have been wonderful, and it was obvious that I was not French. Now, my wife does passable French, though some Cajun does creep in there - usually to the delight of the Parisians.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        From the cabbies, to the bistros, to the Michelin 3-star restaurants, and a 4-star hotel, everyone was so very accommodating. Same for Burgundy last month.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        While maybe not quite up to the "friendly attitude" in Rome, it was very, very close. Heck, it has been better than several places in the US, such as hotels, where we are the absolute upper-level of their loyalty program.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        With much more limited exposure, I am with Josephnl, on the friendly accommodation in Paris (and Burgundy).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Either things have changed greatly, or maybe it's all about where one is interacting?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I travel to France most years (over the last 15 or so), staying in the northern part of the country, usually in small places. Never encountered anything inappropriate by way of the delivery of service or connected with my very poor grasp of their language.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Harters


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The only thing, close to an issue that we have ever had, was a young server, who could not speak any English, and could not understand my wife"s French (think that he was Eastern European, though very nice). In an instant, he had someone else at our tableside. That is as bad, as it has ever gotten.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            not where, but HOW one interacts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            and that's largely true anywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In our, very particular case, that server handed us off to another, who could translate my wife's French, and my English. Such happens - as it did twice in Rome. We try, but are not up to the task in all situations, so need a bit of help.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. I've been pretty lucky. I have great taste in restaurants, and can't think of a time when I've gone to a "fancy" restaurant and been disappointed. The one thing I dread, which has happened a few times, is feeling hungry after I drop a week's pay on a meal. The food could be absolutely amazing, but if there just isn't enough of it, I'm gonna leave a bit annoyed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: TheFormerVeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i'm with you about the quantity and i also get annoyed when there isn't enough protein.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          when i'm spending the big bucks, even if your risotto and your desserts are delicious, i want some protein too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Count me among the lucky. Every time I have been fortunate enough to eat in a "fancy" restaurant I have enjoyed it immensely and have had both great food and superb service.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. We had a free evening visiting family back in Istanbul last holiday season. We decided to treat ourselves to a "view" restaurant that is quite nice, called Safran at the top of the Intercontinental Hotel, overlooking the Bosphorus. Dh, dd and I planned a really nice evening out. The restaurant only seats about 30 people and we were seated with an OK view, but immediately presented with some nice aperitif and amuse bouche on the house. Great wine, bread, appetizers. Incredible live, ethnic, soft music, we were just beginning to enjoy our entrees and peering around to see the city, when a group of about 12 VERY LOUD and VERY DRUNK men came into the restaurant. The staff would NOT tell them to shut the hell up and we ended up finishing our meal as fast as possible to get away from them, their loud mouths and sweaty bodies. I'm sure for the restaurant and the servers this group promised much more profit than our small group of three, but I was disappointed that the management didn't say anything. Will never go there again and we are in the city often. Oh, and we put the word out to all we know (a lot) locally to Istanbul, so they've lost a lot more than just our business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gardencook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Some years ago, we were dining in a lovely restaurant in San Mateo, CA, USA. Most of the tables were 2 - 4-tops, with couples or maybe two couples. At one end of the dining room, there was a party of about 8. They were screaming and shouting, and ruining it for all other diners.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Though a larger group, after three visits, the manager threw them all out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The entire dining room stood, and applauded that move. The manager then went, table-to-table, and personally apologized for the behavior of that group. A lot of respect, and we have been back several times, even if we had to rent an auto to get there.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The management knew that we were displeased and their solution was to offer us dessert "on the house". I tried explaining that dessert would continue our torture, as we would have to stay LONGER, subjected to listening to these drunks. They just didn't get it. Oh, well. I'm sure if they had thrown out the group the remaining diners would have applauded such as you did in your situation. We were not the only ones displeased.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The interesting thing is that at the next table, there was a couple with a toddler. That toddler put those grown men to shame in regards to proper dining behaviour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gardencook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not that many years ago, we were dining at an "up-scale" restaurant in New Orleans. There was a party of 6, just around the corner from our mini-dining room. They were way, way over the top, and the management did zero.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fortunately, we were actually a couple of tables away from them, but none of us could hear any of the conversation, since that group was so very loud. Unfortunately, there were two gentlemen and a lady, trying to have a business dinner, and they were just around the corner from the offending party. After about 30mins, they gave up, and just left their entire meal on the table. The management did nothing. Finally, the loud party did leave, and it was like an ancient church, long after services - silent! The management never said anything - but my review did.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hunt, I'm curious to know which restaurant that was as I live nearby.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  BTW I always enjoy your posts.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That was MiLa, in the CBD. A lovely restaurant, and with cuisine of the area (the chefs/owners are a couple - one from Mississippi, and the other from New Orleans - hence MiLa). The decor is nice, if a tad sterile, and the food, plus service, have been great. However, with that decor, the sounds are reflected, if one has a very loud party, as we did. We have dined there 4x now, and all others were very good to excellent. That trip, OTOH, was not even passable, due to dining companions, around the "corner."


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hunt, I think you missed the reference. I was talking about the restaurant in San Mateo, not the one in New Orleans (tho I'm sure that was lovely too.)


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, I missed it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In San Mateo, the restaurant was Viognier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you for the gentle correction.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ah, I've not had the pleasure of dining there but I am a frequent shopper at the market in which building it is. Gary Danko was the opening chef many years ago and luckily the reputation is still excellent. I don't know if you had a chance to observe the area at all. Downtown San Mateo has a very lively and diverse restaurant scene, from the "low end " (taquerias) to the high end (Viognier). Some nights it's hard to decide where to eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Glad you enjoyed it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As we often have business meetings in Burlingame, and as it does not offer that much, beyond The Elephant Bar, we do get to San Mateo, especially if we have a car.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That whole area, around Viognier, is very nice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I did not realize that Chef Gary Danko had been involved.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you for that info,


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There is much more in Burlingame than the Elephant Bar. Have you gone beyond the airport area? Try looking on Burlingame Ave and the streets adjacent. There is a wide variety to choose from. There are a few new restaurants I haven't tried yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes. We have cabbed it about, but have not been impressed yet. San Mateo had more to offer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                When in Burlingame, we seldom have an auto, so walking from the Marriott, the Westin, or the Hilton, are usually our main options.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Also, most of our Burlingame trips are in-and-outs, just there to connect to a flight to ____ . Arrive at 4:30PM, and fly out of SFO at 8:00AM the next day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                However, there ARE some meetings there, and we usually stay where those are located, but often for only a night, or two, and my wife usually has dinner meetings then, so I am solo, and a brisk walk is good.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There is a free shuttle that runs from the hotels (which are mostly on the east side of the 101 freeway) and downtown which is on the west.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. On vacation at Lake Tahoe, was served salmon that was burned. Returned it, waited until everyone at the table had finished their meal, had the same damned piece of fish returned to me flipped over so the burned part was on the bottom. At that point I rejected the meal. When the bill arrived they graciously informed me that they'd taken the dish off the bill. Thanks so much for the terrific experience!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: blaireso

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We have not had quite that scenario, but somewhat similar. Bad taste, on the part of the restaurant, and their servers.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. This is an easy one for me. Indeed, I posted it on another thread after it occurred a few years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It happened at one of Beverly Hills' most well known and highly regarded steak house...the one with the world famous celebrity chef (who I'm pretty sure never cooks there). There were 3 of us dining, and my guest ordered the New York or strip steak (I don't remember what they called it) medium-rare. I was about to order the same thing for myself when the server recommended that I order the same cut of Wagyu beef (at $80 or $90). I agreed...and also asked for it medium-rare. When the 2 steaks were served, my guest's was perfect...very pink with a red center, mine was brown with just a tinge of pink in the center...obviously very overcooked. The server acknowledged the problem (you would have had to be blind to not see the obvious difference between the 2 steaks). He whisked mine away to the kitchen. Three minutes later, the same steak was returned to me a a new hot plate, sliced through into at least 10 pieces and the person who delivered the steak to me said that "the chef cut through the steak to see how it was cooked, and that it was precisely as ordered!!" If the steak was dried out when I returned it, it was totally inedible when it was brought back. I asked to see the manager, who came over and reluctantly apologized. I was not charged for the wagyu steak...and my dinner consisted of bread and vegetables.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This was to me quite unbelievable and very rude. Needless to say, I'll never return.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: josephnl


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We had something similar in Las Vegas, and again at a "Celebrity Chef Steakhouse," and also with Wagyu... seems to be a pattern developing here?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not when it was replaced, and they DID remove the Wagyu upcharge. Still, wife's Prime was the better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am seeing more and more steaks cut, when served. Not sure how I feel about that. Most have been great, so no complaint, but then, there have been a few others...


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You misunderstood.me! Not only was the steak cut into 10 or more pieces when returned to me (it was cut up into little pieces as for a child...really insulting, and obviously totally destroying the steak)...but the restaurant was Wolfgang Puck's CUT! That's what I was asking!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, I DID misunderstand the nature of the steak, that came back. That is just not acceptable, IMHO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In my case, it was Gordon Ramsay's Steakhouse in Las Vegas - similar, but not the same.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When I went to CUT in Beverly Hills, Wolfgang Puck actually was cooking there. He stopped by our table to say hello and was very friendly. Our meal there was good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: freshmanjs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        He's often at Spago also...usually just socializing, but I've seen him in the kitchen on rare occasions in the past.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I think I told this story a while back, but what the heck. It's the only one that sticks out in my mind (what's left of it!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We went into Manhattan for our 25th anniversary a while back, and decided last minute to dine at Nirvana; for Indian I considered it a upscale, if in an unusual way. The service, specialty drinks and food were impeccable, as was their view of Central Park. But our entire meal was ruined when shortly after we arrived they sat an older couple right next to us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The woman was a LOUD motor mouth. This wasn't a drunken group, just a quiet respectable looking gentleman and her. He barely made a peep, and when he did you couldn't hear a word. But my husband and I were treated to two hours of learning that apparently they had just started dating. She was relating everything about their budding relationship in detail. She also was wondering if she was going to be staying at his apartment that night; he seemed to be quietly telling her no, and with good cause. She spent at least a half hour going over each of her friends' "pre-nups", not the most romantic thing to listen to on our anniversary. If she was sitting at our table she couldn't have spoken any more audibly. I can still hear her voice in my head, ten years later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Anyway, she was so loud and incessant that we didn't get a chance to exchange two words our whole meal. It was the strangest, besides the worst, time we've ever had at any restaurant, I have to say. Oh well, one out of a million.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Some folk DO feel that all others should know every aspect of their lives. I am one, who shares no such interest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Luckily, my wife and I most often travel together, and usually get upgraded to at least BC. Unfortunately, we have been seated right in front of several "Chatty Cathys," but that is what my Bose Noise Canceling earphones are for. I put them on, and let the unarmed passengers, plus the seat-mates, deal with such folk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In Paris in October, we were in a Michelin 3-star restaurant. Immediately beside us, there was a family. Well, like in a soap opera, the matriarch was with his young bride, his son, daughter-in-law, a couple of children and their governess. It seems that the dad was having an affair with the daughter-in-law, and the governess. The young bride (step-mother) was having an affair with both the son and his wife. The son was also having an affair with the governess. At least the children were omitted from the mix. The entire table spent the night crying, and confessing their various indiscretions. Man, I did not need THAT, and especially right at our elbows! Since it was all in French, my wife had to give me blow-by-blow reports, as to why everyone was crying, and if she translated properly, there were half-a-dozen other "domestics," who were involved, like the gardener. Shoot, I thought that I was in some SNL skit!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        When dining out, please do not share any aspect of your life, even if asked.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          At least that sounds sort of amusing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Heck, I would have paid for that as extra entertainment expense! What a table that must have been.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I would have whipped out my pen and started taking notes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sounds like a bankable movie!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (boom chicka bow wow, a bow wow....)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, I could have possibly sold the screenplay to the "Housewives of the 5th Arrondissement... "


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. DelFrisco's in Boston. Steaks were just okay, had better steak in many other places. Sides were good though. Drinks were great and the location wsa wonderful, on the harbor. Service was attentive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cyclegirl18

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wow...if a steak that's just okay is your worst restaurant experience, either you don't eat out much, or you've been extraordinarily lucky!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It was just this week, and I was so surprised the steak was just blah. Probably the worst (and best) experiences weren't at "fancy" places at all, but in roadside stands in rural Malaysia (and other asian countries) where you literally pick the fish from a beat up bucket that was caught a few hours earlier). I do have to say the best Indian food I've had was at Raffles in Singapore ... But this isn't that thread

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Cyclegirl18

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Interesting...me too...it seems like my most memorable dining experiences were serendipitous, and involved just totally unplanned dropping into a casual, local spot for a bite to eat. I'm thinking about the time I was in Paris and stopped in for an afternoon snack at a bistro and had a huge bowl of the most beautiful fraises des bois (wild strawberries), with bowls of creme fraiche and brown sugar on the side...or the time in Orvieto when at lunch I was served a wonderful bowl of fresh pasta with just local olive oil and an entire freshly dug up truffle shaved over it...or the little spot in the Irish countryside where for lunch I had the most amazing omelette overflowing with wild mushrooms (in a fricassee) that the owner had foraged that morning. I've eaten at many Michelin 3 star restaurants over the years, some of which were reserved a month or more ahead, but it's these unplanned rather simple meals that are, to me, most memorable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wow. You guys ^^^ are making my mouth water. Although my experiences may not be quite as grand, the best "food memories" I have are often very 'simple'--not the stuff found in restaurants with stars.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I still think about the peaches I stopped for a a roadside stand in rural Virginia. USA (that doesn't even involve cooking!) But I can still taste the juices running down my chin....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not to hijack this thread...is there a spot for "great food experiences" (not necessarily in restaurants) on chowhound?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Good idea...perhaps you'll start the thread?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I would be more than surprised if there wasn't. Maybe do a search first :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. DH and I had been dating for only about 5-6 weeks when Valentine's Day (a Saturday) rolled around. He offered to make dinner reservations for us - a friend had recommended a great upscale restaurant. Alas, he is a procrastinator, and by the time he called the fancy restaurant, the only opening they had was at 10pm. No problem, we had drinks and appetizers at my house before we went out. We arrived at the restaurant just before 10, to find that it was in the middle of transforming from upscale restaurant to hoochie nightclub. We weren't seated until 10:45 and our table was right next to a linen storage closet. Our waitress informed us that they had a special (= limited) menu for the holiday, but they were out of pretty much every entree. We couldn't hear a darn thing because of the nightclub noise. We finally got out of there close to 1am.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                On the plus side, dessert was some sort of ice cream concoction served with a tealight candle - we started calling it a "Flaming Moe." Oh, and we don't go out for dinner on V-Day anymore...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: truman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We also never go out for dinner on V Day, Mother's Day or any other holiday. The prix-fixe dinners that most restaurants serve on holidays are dreadful, and towards the end of the day, they tend to become even more dreadful. Also, nowadays several restaurants in our area are serving "family style" or more limited menus on Sunday evening which are also usually not great. Whenever we reserve for Sunday, we always make sure that the regular menu will be available.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We are with you, 100%.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The same goes for Restaurant Week ____ , but have been blind-sided twice, when our reserved restaurants decided to "extend" RW, and offer a very limited menu, with very limited wines - I mean, do they lock up the good wines during RW?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I do not want holiday specials, or anything similar. I want a full menu, and will pay full price.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I had a love/hate relationship with Restaurant Week when I was in graduate school. The obvious plus being that I knew in advance that I could get in the much pricier venues and still afford to pay my rent that month. The minus being that inevitably the thing I really wanted to try from that restaurant was never one of the menu choices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I can understand both, completely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We would always rather save up, then go for the full menu, to get OUR handle on the restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        OTOH, many patrons just love RW, and there are always dozens of threads on CH. They are welcome to RW, and I only hope that both the patrons, and the restaurants, benefit from such. We try to avoid RW, if at all possible.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bill, I have seen here on Chowhound that you know good wine. Here is a question for you: What is the cheapest wine that you can remember really enjoying?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That one is easy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Going back many years, I was at a local Costco, and had picked up a cart-full of wines. A gentleman, who was also a shopper, looked at my cart, and commented, "I see that you really like wines." That was true, and the prices ranged from everyday "sippers," up to some Penfolds Grange, at about US$ 250/btl.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Then he offered, "If you promise to NOT look at the price, I will turn you onto a great red wine." OK, I was ready to play along.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          He directed me to a bin on one of the displays, and pointed to some paper-wrapped bottles. Well, I peeked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "I warned you against looking at the price," he admonished me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The wine was a US $ 12 btl. of Glen Carlou Grand Classique from SA. It was a Bordeaux blend, and was a bit cheaper, than anything in my cart. He seemed earnest, so I told him that I would buy two bottles, which I did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I took them home, told my wife the story, and poured two glasses. Wow, I had not expected the depth, or the flavors of such a wine, based on the price-point. I went back the next day, and bought a case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Over the next few weeks, I handed out some of those bottles, and my friends did the same thing - they bought the wine by the case. Soon, no Costco in the Phoenix-Metro had any of that Glen Carlou Grand Classique.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have revisited that wine, on several vintages, and it is still a real bargain. I have noticed that it does not improve with age, and fades in a year, or two, but heck, for US $ 12 per bottle, what would one expect?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I still pick up a few bottles, when I see it, which is not so often anymore. That WAS the very best, "cheap wine," that I have ever encountered. I have had had cheaper wines, that were OK, but that one exceeded all expectations, at least for my palate, and that of many of my friends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for throwing me a real "soft one" there.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            there was a time around 1990 or 1991 we found Clos du Bois '87 or '89 at the grocery store (an odd # year, I forget which) and for our cheap student price point ($8-ish) fit just fine to our palates. never did the same again. it was a brief window. and yes we did know from crap. or good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. The first words out of the waiters mouth are upselling. This actually happened, how about a bottle of water x, 8 dollars, or wine z, the most expensive on the wine list, a hundred bucks plus. No mention of prices, just blatant upselling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That is one reason that I know my way around a wine list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Unless I have asked to confer with the Sommelier, I seldom even listen to the server, and for the reason that you cite. I do not care what Distributor A is pushing. Same for "table talkers." They are totally useless to me, but obviously work - "Hey honey, look, the Yellowtail is on "special" tonight... "


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Some of these stories make me so sad. I don't splurge on really high end restaurants that often. I tend to the diners and hole in the walls. Especially if BBQ is involved. But I have several trips planned just for the food experience in the future. I'd be just sad as I could be if some of these things happened to me while I was visiting a place I've saved back and planned a special trip to visit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Paris and Chicago. Bad bottle of $600+ wine at each. I dealt with the Chicago one, fortunately I was with a French oenophile in Paris. They don't go back easily.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ray2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Did you expect them to when it was a 600 dollar bottle???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. On our last night in Marrakesh we decided to eat at some supposedly smart restaurant recommended by our hotel. I was just getting over a very nasty few days of food poisoning but was informed that I had to have a starter and main. This wasn't a set meal, it was the full a la carte menu. When I said I was ill and only wanted a starter or two I was told this couldn't happen and I should leave. Everyone else at the table had been wanting to order a full meal but as we found this so unpleasant we all left.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Years ago my family had dinner at a fancy Beverly Hills restaurant. As we were enjoying our cocktails, a busser holding a tray full of dirty dishes walked toward us. Just as he reached us, the people at the table across the aisle stopped him to ask for something. The busser placed the tray of dirty dishes on OUR table, then went to fetch whatever-it-was the people asked for. The tray was on our table for a few minutes until he returned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: brandygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Did you respond by "accidentally" pushing the tray onto the floor? I would have be tempted to do so, but truth be told, I wouldn't have had the --- to do so. Did you do anything??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We were at first stunned, but then we just laughed it off. Mom thought it might be a Candid Camera stunt. Dad figured the guy was new to the job and I think he quietly said something to our waiter or to the maitre'd at some point after the incident. It certainly made for a memorable evening out!