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DineLA at Matteo's - Bait and Switch?

  • Baron Jan 27, 2013 08:01 AM
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Matteo’s and I go way back. In their hey day they were a fine Italian restaurant with lots of celebs and buzz and great food. They fell into a time of decline but I heard that they had been restored. When I saw that they were on DineLa and featured a fillet with porcini (for me) and my wife loves swordfish, I made an early reservation for Saturday night. Upon arriving, I was pleased to see and feel that the old place had been restored to once again a beautiful, classy, quiet dining room.
Everything sparkling clean and new. We were promptly seated in a generous booth and ordered
our drinks. When I asked for the DineLa menu, I was told “that’s only during the week, not on Saturdays.” I did NOT see such an such exclusion on their website. Did I miss something? Seeany exclusions?

http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/wha... do/restaurants/matteos-restaurant

It clearly says Restaurant Week (1/21/-2/1)....nothing excluding Saturdays.

I didn’t want to make an issue of it so we just ordered off the menu and I assumed that I had
missed something. It’s the kind of place I’d like to return to, but left a bad taste in my mouth.

Question to experienced and/or professional hounds: Do I have any recourse? Of course I could
have gotten up and left, but we had already valet parked, sat down and ordered drinks. I don’t
mind spending for a good dinner, but I don’t like the feeling of being “had.” What say you?

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  1. Did you ask to speak to the manager? Did you ask the manager, or anyone else along the way how you could have known in advance of their policy of Saturday's "Die 'n LA" rather than DineLA? I would suggest you either call or write to them with your question and see how they respond.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg

      Good advice. I plan to call the manager today. I even checked their printed brochure which didn't say anything about excluding Saturdays. Upon arriving, I did have a nice chat with the manager about how good it felt to return to Mateo's after all this time...like reconnecting with an old friend. It caters to a mature clientele who enjoy a quite and elegant experience. Certainly not a trendy, noisy, crowded "hot spot." I think the manager will remember me.

    2. I too checked Matteo's DineLA page (http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/wha...) and there were no exclusions mentioned at all. The dates they gave were Restaurant Week (1/21-2/1): Call them.

      1. not an answer to your question, but i went to Lukshon last night and they offered the dinela menu to me there.

        1. In the past DineLA used to have a Saturday exclusion but I think they eliminated it because it caused so much confusion and created situations like yours. It might be a case-by-case situation currently but I don't think so.

          1. Not experienced or professional, but.... ;)

            Depends on who your dining companion(s) are. ;) If they're people w/ whom you're comfortable, I would've informed the server immediately that there were no exclusions to your knowledge and would've asked for clarification from the manager prior to ordering any food. And, had they been unable to produce any "evidence" of there being a printed exclusion, I would've quietly and politely left had they not been willing to offer the DineLA menu (again, assuming that this was a possibility w/ your companions).

            No matter the situation, I'd *definitely* tell the manager afterward that there was no exclusion on the website and that, while you had enjoyed your experience, the restaurant had put you and your dining companion(s) in a rather awkward situation (since I imagine that the DineLA was considerably cheaper and you had already made the effort to get there) and left you feeling dissatisfied overall....

            You could still call or e-mail the manager and say that you've checked the DineLA and restaurant website (no exclusions listed) and that other participating restaurants don't seem to have any hidden exclusions, either....

            6 Replies
            1. re: ilysla

              Thanks for your input. Quite correct. I intend to call the manager ASAP. My state of mind was that I just wanted a pleasant evening and to give an "old friend" a try. I wasn't bargain hunting, but the DineLa did sound like a good deal. I wasn't about to get up and leave or have an "argument" with the management ...at the time I wasn't 100% sure that I was right and they were wrong. Now that I've conducted a thorough investigation (not a trace that Saturday was excluded) I can seek my "revenge' which, is often served cold.
              They were WRONG! Let's see what they're willing to do about it. They know about "yelp" and all the rest.

              1. re: Baron

                Its amazing that they are still in business. Once upon a time this was a very good place. been 20 years at least.

                1. re: Thor123

                  Ive been enjoying the food and staff at Matteo's for years...mostly during their "years of decline." they were still making classic East Coast, red sauce Italian and still keep those faves on the new menu...as good a baked ziti & sausage as ive had out here!

                  1. re: lapizzamaven

                    The food at Hoboken is just as good and about 1/2 the $$

                    1. re: Baron

                      2.5* on yelp? O_o

                      1. re: Baron

                        i meant Hoboken!

              2. I was active in DineLA this time -- a great lunch at Chinois, a very good one at Fogo de Chao, and a disappointing one at Maison Giraud. It is clear to me that some restaurants enter all-in and offer great experiences, and some just want to be on the list and do nothing to promote DineLA.

                At Chinois one of the lunch entrees was the chargrilled beef in Szechwan sauce with hericot vert and a side salad -- $45 on their regular menu and, to me, appeared full-sized on the three-course $25 lunch. At Fogo de Chao the DineLA was the only menu offered, the salad bar and meat selection appeared normal, service was great, and I paid $25++ for what usually is $38.95.

                Maison Giraud had smaller portions, almost skimpy. I went to Cafe Montana in Brentwwod a couple rounds ago and they almost hid their DineLA menu -- this year they hadn't pasted a DineLA menu well into the weekend before, and I had called asking them to post it the week before.

                Look, as a consumer I seek good value in a DineLA menu. I'm careful to make reservations and tip generously. If you want my business, as a regular looking for a bargain or as a potential new customer checking you out, please join, enthusiastically. But if you just want to be on the list and you'd rather minimize participation, just opt out.

                1. I spoke with the manager who agreed to comp one DineLa dinner this week.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: Baron

                    Did they have anything to say about why the DineLA menu wasn't honored when you were there on Saturday?

                    1. re: Servorg

                      The manager just said that in past years there was a Saturday exclusion and the waiter just assumed .....bla bla.

                      1. re: Baron

                        Blame it on the waiter...the modern day equivalent of "The butler did it"

                        1. re: Servorg

                          I should have been more assertive and told the waiter to go fetch one of the brochures stacked at the bar and show me were Saturdays were excluded.

                          1. re: Baron

                            now i'm confused.
                            are you saying other people got the dinela menu that night, but you didn't, because of waiter error?

                            1. re: linus

                              Doubtful he would the fact of that matter...

                              1. re: Servorg

                                um...huh?

                                1. re: linus

                                  How would he know? I can't see how he would be in a position to know that. (I missed the word "know" in that post - sorry)

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    because he talked to the manager.

                                  2. re: linus

                                    I have no idea if other diners were misled about DineLa on Saturday. I'll ask the manager when (if) I go back this week.

                              2. re: Baron

                                +1. There are definitely polite and discrete ways to be assertive but it can be hard when you're caught off guard. And you weren't 100% sure when you went and you wanted to eat. Glad that the manager was responsive (b/c mistakes are understandable.... Sometimes how one "corrects" the mistake makes all the difference, IMHO).

                      2. I've been burned by unwritten exclusions before with dineLA to the point where I've just started calling to confirm first. A friend got denied the deal at Cafe del Rey and at Muddy Leek this past weekend even though no exclusions were listed for either place.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: PeterCC

                          Very interesting, Peter. Sounds like false advertising and bait and switch to me. Maybe we should do some sort of class action lawsuit. Maybe "Newtrial" will take the case. :-)
                          A place like Cafe del Rey should give your friend something for the insult.