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Rosa Mexicano - Bad Experience

Last weekend, I had reservations for 3 at 8pm at Rosa Mexicano. It was a Sunday night before Presidents' Day. The restaurant was not full. We arrived early (7:35) and asked if we could be seated fully prepared to grab some drinks in the bar to wait if a table wasn't ready. With the restaurant not full, though, the hostess had major attitude and told us we had to wait. Even though I showed her reservations available at 7:45 on open table (and we had ordered a ($30+) round of drinks). She said she would only honor the 8 o'clock reservation and that people have been waiting 37 minutes for a table (odd amount.....which is why I remember). The sparse crowd was definitely diverse. All ages from high chairs to canes, so I don't think her bias rant to age or appearance, at least I hope not. We were presentable 30 somethings. I was nice, my friends were nice, she was just rude. on our way out at 7:50, she graciously decided to seat us. We left and spent 200+ at legal Harborside. We didn't spend thousands, but it's not like we were going for the free chips and salsa....It seems like she was just on a power trip. I haven't contacted the restaurant yet. Am not sure I will. Or if I should..... what would you do? I also asked if there was anyone else I could speak to, and she said she was it.

I also have to say the service and food at harborside couldn't have been better, and I'm not a huuuuge legal fan. But we had ocean front seats and a very nice waiter. the oysters were delicious.

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  1. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and there is no shortage of pricey faux-Mex joints in town.

    Every account I've heard of that Rosa Mexicano from people who were fans of one of its other outlets has characterized it as an inferior iteration of the chain.

    A shame that more independent, local operators can't afford the Seaport's rents.


    1. I went here in the fall and wasn't impressed at all. That being said..I guess I am not clear on why you decided to leave at 7:50 with an 8pm reservation. Was it on principal because the hostess was rude? Certainly..I am not condoning her rude behavior..but a better solution to me would have just been to speak with the manager at some point. After all..you'd ordered a round of drinks. Seems kind of an over reaction when you weren't expecting to sit until 8 anyhow.
      Although..you were probably better off at Legal's. Slim is right about it being faux-Mexican..lol

      1. Why didn't you cancel your 8pm reservation on the spot and make a 7:45 one on Open Table via your smart phone? That's what I would have done.

        8 Replies
          1. re: eLizard

            grrr. i was trying to respond last night from my bed while suffering from insomnia.....

            ok, this is why i was asking. it felt like 15 minutes was a very long time at the time.....but maybe i was being really impatient. and she was not seating us just because she could. when she told us about not being able to seat us, we went to the half empty bar, immediately got a round, looked around, and at our watches, and then we thought we would make a new reservation on open table. which when i brought it to her attention, she immediately said she would only honor the 8. and then i get an email that she cancelled our reservation (i kept the email just in case i did speak with someone else and wanted to show him/her the cancellation). was i being rude/cute? so when she not so graciously told us she'd seat us a few minutes later, we were so turned off, we left. i did ask to speak to the manager. she said she was the highest ranking officer there....

            but again, this is why i'm asking. i had a sense i might be reacting too harshly. thank you all for you input.

            i agree with mc....far better faux mexican. i've been there before. in boston and nyc. it's ok for a chain.

            1. re: eLizard

              You aren't missing anything. The essence of running a restaurant is hospitality. It's the hospitality business. These people need to read Danny Meyer's book.

              You are the customer. They want you to spend money in their establishment. They failed their hospitality job.

              Stop beating yourself up.

              1. re: lergnom

                I completely agree. Sounds like crappy customer service to me. If there was a reason that they couldn't seat you early, the host should have politely and apologetically explained what the reason was. It really doesn't matter what the reason was. Simple. Make your customer feel wanted. Nothing chaps my hide more than getting attitude from someone when you are trying to spend YOUR money in their establishment.
                If I were you, I would send RM a note and let them know what a lovely time you had across the street.

                I learned long ago... the customer may not always be right, but the customer is always the customer. Restaurants don't exist without them.

                1. re: UnclePH

                  thanks. that's what i thought. it really rubbed me the wrong way. I'm pretty reasonable, and if there had been an excuse offered other than "no" then I would have respected that. It was bitter bitter cold that night. Harborside was hopping. RM wasn't.

                  I thought I had been getting spoiled because the last few times i had been out I had gotten places a few minutes early...evoo, comes to mind, and they sat me immediately.

              2. re: eLizard

                In the host's defense, it is entirely possible that her book showed a bunch of parties arriving imminently with confirmed reservations, so she was just protecting the proper order of things, even if that wasn't obvious to the naked eye. There might be invisible scheduling issues, too: a server delayed by traffic, on a break, etc.

                Also, being asked to wait 15 minutes after arrival before being seated is generally reasonable. That's the same buffer you'd be given if you were running late. And sometimes a host simply cannot seat you at the time of your confirmed reservation; campers can screw up the queue for everyone.

                We're only hearing one side here, so we can't know if any of the reasonable explanations are in play. But if it's true that things seemed slow, it wouldn't be hard to read the signals here as simple inflexibility. (Getting an email notification of the reservation cancellation: also a bad sign.)

                When you feel like you've been treated badly upon walking in, that the atmosphere has curdled before you've even been seated, sometimes walking out is the right thing to do. It's easier to feel good about that decision when the next place acts really happy to see you.


                1. re: eLizard

                  Just so I have it straight..are you saying she had the time to take the trouble to go and cancel your 8pm reservation..but didn't have the time or inclination to seat you at an almost restaurant?
                  While Slim has a good point about not knowing what her book looked like..we are talking about 15 minutes. I have to say..at first I thought you may have over reacted..but her taking the time to cancel your reservation changes my opinion.
                  Also..even if you were impatient..or a bit rude ( or funny)...if she couldn't deal with a difficult customer in a professional way..then she is in the wrong business.
                  Regardless..like others have stated..in the hospitality business one must be polite and professional and I daresay even friendly.
                  Restaurants and businesses who don't go the extra mile for customers usually lose out..much like RM lost out on a $200 sale on a night when it sounds like they could have used it.

                  1. re: BlueMagic

                    thanks so much. I wasn't impatient, i DID make and have an 8 pm reservation and was prepared to honor it if it didn't look like they could accommodate us. I was annoyed, but i really kept it in check. I did press her a bit on why she wouldn't seat us. and i thought maybe the only thing i did out of line was to make the new reservation, and then to ask to speak to a manager. lots of empty tables, half empty bar, children in high chairs (which actually made me happy to think i might be able to bring my preschooler there - won't be doing that now, though). no wait for a drink whatsoever.... i thought that she was just power tripping. and that got my goat. I'm letting it drop (except for this thread). Meaning, I won't contact the resto or negatively yelp them. i've never actually yelped before (nor used yelp as a verb).

            2. Maybe I'm missing something; if so maybe you can clarify.

              You had an 8PM res and were offered a seat at 7:50? What's the problem? 15 mins after your arrival and drink order and 10 mins before your res.

              As to rudeness on the part of the hostess. I wasn't there so can't comment but maybe the hostess wa turned off about your pointing out a 745 open table res (maybe you should have booked it online and put her feet to the fire..save that 5 mins.

              I'm not making acase for RM, but maybe you're picking a fight that doesn't exist.

              1. She should feel fortunate that you weren't the Andelman's, I think we all know how that would have turned out. But I agree with alot of commenters here, you only have one 1st impression. and with such a saturated market of choices [especially in that area], its a shame she was so offputting.

                Customer Service is so essential in hospitality and I feel that many in Boston have become jaded due in large part to their establishment's prestige or personal attituide. This is not to say for everyone, but overall I feel it leans towards the bitter side.

                2 Replies
                1. re: KeyConcierge

                  Except in the case of the Andelmans vs. the Grill 23 hostess, they just came off as ignorant, self-entitled douches, as they were demanding to get seated in the dining room prior to the start of service (clearly a no-no), and then went on their radio show to insult her in sexist, demeaning terms. I had to applaud the owners for standing up for their employee on that one.


                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    ohhh. i hadn't heard about this. must google.

                    edited to add: oh, that didn't take long. how horrible. and no, that was not my situation at all.

                2. You were no doubt impatient and most likely your impatience gave you a short fuse with the hostess. I love the bar at Rosa and can easily sit there for an hour.
                  As much as Roger spends his time at the seaport legals, the food and service can be better.
                  The place has many satisfied customers and in a few weeks will be tough to get into.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: libertywharf

                    i was only impatient when i thought i was getting yanked around. i did make the reservation. 8 pm wasn't something i thought i'd never have to wait for..... but that's why i came here....for opinions, and really, i thank you for yours. patience is a virtue i do sometimes lack. and i have been and continue to work on it. that's why when i feel like i'm actually practicing patience and still getting yanked around, i get really annoyed. like i take all this time to work on it, it should actually work it my favor! guess i still need to learn that patience is really patience when things AREN'T going my way.

                    1. re: eLizard

                      You seem like a nice person. A suggestion would be to stick to mom and pop places, where they would have not let you walked out the door. No doubt that no one at rosa that night was depending on your business for their pay check. That's why I like the north end where many of the owners are there working.

                      1. re: libertywharf

                        thank you. i think i'm a nice person.

                        the vast majority of the time i stick to mom and pop for sure. i've lived in eastie (went to rino's last thursday, had my bday party there a few years ago....they opened it up for me on a sunday) and love the local joints where i live in dorchester.

                        but harborside isn't really mom and pop, and they were very very good to us.

                  2. Honestly, right or wrong, impatient or not, you are the customer and my view is that restaurants are in the hospitality business. I don't blame you for leaving.

                    I had a similar experience last year at a place in town. A group of us was early for a reservation, empty restaurant, and were told to leave and come back in 25 minutes. I was then called at my reservation time to be informed they wouldn't have our table for another half an hour. Obviously we never went and regardless of good reports I've heard about the place, I'll probably never go back. There are just too many places in the city.

                    Everyday restaurants have the chance to win customers by doing whatever it takes (within reason). Making customers jump through hoops may work at certain establishments (See: Momofuku Ko/Brooklyn Fare) but will not be successful for the majority.

                    What can I say, I wish all restaurants understood hospitality can go a lot further than food for repeat customers.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Klunco

                      thank you. would you mind divulging the name of that restaurant?

                      1. re: eLizard

                        It was Backbar in Union Square. I know I've written about it before on here, so I'm trying not to just beat the dead horse.

                        As I said in the post, I've heard positive reports, but you only get one chance at a first impression. What sealed the deal for me was after the hostess told me they couldn't seat us early (the place was 1/3rd full), I asked if we could stand and get a drink at the bar. She said, "no," and then told us we'd have to leave and come back. Like many posters on this board I've eaten at many many places all over the world from high to low. Incidents like this are almost non-existent despite, price, culture, or geography which proves why it's not worth putting up with.

                        I don't think the expectation is that a restaurant has to seat you if you arrive early for a reservation at all. But it doesn't take much for a restaurant to make a patron feel welcome either. Even a quick, "we'll get you a table as soon as we can."