The title of this is exactly what was said when we walked in at 6pm on a Saturday evening in September. Really?????. Yes, more than half the number of tables in the restaurant were empty and they were waiting on a reservation for 6 persons to turn up at in the next half hour. In my experience do not turn away a paying customer when your reservation for 6 has not yet materialized..... Especially when more than half the tables are empty.... Or at least work out how many you can cater for through an evening ... Cause if you can only cater for one table of 6 you will soon be out of business!
My reaction with a simple response of 'Really?' to being told we can't seat you at an empty table and take your dinner order, throws them off guard and they immediately told us they could seat us, but would not be able to take a dinner order for 30 minutes - that's fine we only turned up at 6o'clock as Americans eat early - we are from Europe so were quite happy to sit with a glass of wine for a while first.
The reservation for 6 never turned up. But we did watch the staff turn away customers by telling the next ones to arrive without reservation it would be an hours wait for a table , then an hour and ten minutes, then an hour and twenty mins and so on. People were only seated when they pushed it by pointing out how few tables had people sitting at them and how many empty tables there were.
Firstly, this place sells wine. They have a good selection and some interesting finds.
Secondly they serve food. Unusual combinations, that do work, and the chef tries a few things that you would not necessarily pair together. We had to wait 30 mins before they would give us the menu, but they did serve wine and some nibbles to us while we waited, though we had to wait quite some time before we got our bottle of wine.
Staff seemed too easily distracted with another task for another customer, rather than completing one task first before moving on to the next.
We actually had a lovely meal at this place, albeit it had a 'fawlty towers' feel to it. The service was erratic and the staff behaved as if the restaurant had just opened. In fact it has been open for 13 years - so really think the owner should spruce up the service - the menu was not extensive and the wine list interesting but not overly complicated so there really was not too much for the staff to worry about.
Apparently the kitchen is very small, and this will explain the reason why you are told there will be a long wait, or the staff try to get rid of customers by telling them it will be a long wait for food.
The cost of the food is not cheap - a little too overpriced when you have to wait so long for it - I don't mind waiting for good food, but having to wait longer than what would be considered acceptable is not acceptable, regardless how good the chef is, being that slow is no excuse.
Saying that, the food was good - it was cooked to order and was cooked well, was tasty, unusual combinations - so to solve the problem, either extend the kitchen into part of the restaurant where they had tables but clearly were not using, get some more kitchen staff to assist, learn time management or move to bigger premises.
The one peculiar aspect was using the restrooms, you had to request the key from the staff. You go out the back of the restaurant area into a corridor and the restroom is at the end of the corridor - as far as I could see there was only one restroom for both male and females.
Our waitress was a young girl, she was attentive and picked up on it being our anniversary and bought out a desert for us for free - it was thoughtful and a nice touch.
The only thing we could not manage was to get our heads around the fact they had been open for 13 years. The way the staff was behaving was like you see in a restaurant that had only been open for a week or two. I think if they managed to get that sorted and a bigger kitchen space, as they clearly had a good chef when we were there , then this place would be well worth a visit. It was a surprise find for a 'just walk off the street'.
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