We had just arrived in Sacramento and my sister was excited to bring us here. She promised that it would be a unique experience, and a surprise. It was, but not in the way she thought.
Seasons 52 does have a unique concept, which is to serve seasonally-inspired food. The restaurant is attractive and the atmosphere is a little retro. It's the sort of place where you'd expect to find Don Draper (Mad Men). It's surprising to find a place liked this in a strip mall.
The menu is very creative, and the four of us tried a variety of appetizers and entrees. I had the caramelized sea scallops, which were a delight. There is something for everyone here, whether you love seafood, meat, or are a vegetarian.
Everything seemed promising. Our waiter explained the restaurant's seasonal philosophy. The restaurant's website says that they have "knowledgeable, approachable service that inspires confidence." This is where the promise faded. Two of us ordered vodka martinis with a twist, and two ordered vodka on the rocks with olives. Simple enough, right? When our waiter returned with the drinks, all four were in shakers, and there were four martini glasses. My sister and father reminded the waiter that they order vodka on the rocks. "I don't drink, so I don't know what that means," he retorted.
"On the rocks means over ice," we explained.
"There IS ice in the shakers."
"No, we mean that the ice is in a tumbler glass, and the vodka is poured over it."
"Well, I don't know this stuff, because I don't drink," he again declared before he took two shakers away and returned to the bar.
While we waited for our waiter to bring the vodkas on the rocks, my wife and I poured our martinis from the shakers and noticed that he hadn't brought twists of lemon. When he returned he got in a huff that we had poured our own martinis.
"I was supposed to shake those and pour them."
"Well, you just left them, so we assumed that we were supposed to."
We reminded him that we were missing the twists. He was frustrated and went back to the bar, and returned with a single twist in a cocktail napkin. He plopped it down in front of us, showing a little attitude. Now WE were frustrated, but gave up. Good enough, we thought.
Our meals lived up to their promise, and by the end of the meal our waiter was no longer showing attitude. He apologized about the drinks, and, yes, explained again that he didn't drink, blah, blah, blah. He comped us free desserts, which were delicious. We forgave him and tipped him well. But for the duration of our trip we did not return. The value just isn't there. My sister was embarrassed and was not going to take a chance on a repeat performance.
Not being an alcohol drinker does not excuse a waiter from knowing basics about drinks, just as if being a vegetarian does not excuse one from knowing different cuts of meat. Knowledge of your products is an essential skill if you choose to be wait staff. And having a bad attitude over your failure to do so is simply amateurish. What Seasons 52 needs is better training of its wait staff, and testing them before unleashing them on customers.
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