If you've watched Restaurant Stakeout on TV, you know that Willie Degel prides himself on customer-focused service excellence and teaching that philosophy to other restaurant owners. Based on my experience, I'd say he has some work to do in his own restaurant.
Hubby and I enjoy nice meals and many nice restaurants, and jumped at the chance to eat at Uncle Jack's since it was down the street from our hotel, figuring it would have to be a great dining experience. To start, the service was slow. After being seated, it took some time for us to be greeted by our waiter. One waiter appeared with menus and water, introduced himself and another waiter (the captain) across the room, telling us the captain would be over momentarily to explain the menus and review specials, etc. We waited at least 10 minutes while the captain passed by several times attending to other tables and never did he speak to us. After about 20 mins the first waiter came back to take our order, and I told him that we'd not yet heard about the menu, specials etc. He told us what we needed to know and gave us another minute.
We ordered appetizers (shrimp cocktail and crab cakes) - hubby enjoyed his shrimp, and I pretty much hated my crab cakes. They were full of filler and many bites were only breadcrumbs, no crab. I ate them anyway, why I don't know.
For dinner I ordered a filet, medium. Hubby had the rib chop. When they arrived, mine was very underdone. Bloody. I sent it back once I finally flagged down the waiter to tell him about it. Meanwhile, hubby stopped eating his steak to wait for me. The waiter didn't ask how his was, or offer to remake his so it wouldn't go cold while mine was re-fired. When mine arrived again, it wasn't a fresh steak, but the one I'd had, just cooked again - I could tell because it was cut into, like I'd left it. I couldn't believe they did that. But when I cut into it again, it was still very rare in the middle. I sent it back again. Once again they didn't offer to do anything for hubby's meal, since his had been going cold while waiting for mine, then he finished his while mine was gone the second time. So he ate by himself, then I had to eat by myself when I finally got it. That doesn't make for a nice meal.
The manager brought my steak out the final time, with her apologies. Her words: "to be wrong once is okay but twice isn't". I don't entirely agree - to have it cooked incorrectly once isn't exactly okay. But whatever. She offered to remove my entree from the bill, but still not once did she ever inquire as to how my husband's meal was, or seem to notice that the fact we ate separately was an issue.
After our meals were cleared, we sat probably 15 minutes without being offered dessert menus, coffee, etc. I finally asked the captain of our waitstaff as he passed by, if I could see a dessert menu and he actually said... wait for it... "no". Huh!!?? He explained that we were receiving a complimentary dessert from the manager and it would be out shortly. Then walked away. Well, that's great, but if a customer asks to see a menu, we should be given a menu. We didn't know what our options were, what was coming to the table, there was no asking us about preferences or allergies. And to boot, the polite thing to do would be to have the manager or the waiter actually come and tell us that we were being offered dessert, not make us wait without any service or attention until we asked, to find that out. I had to ask another passing waiter a few minutes later for a dessert menu, so we could actually see what was offered.
When the complimentary dessert finally did arrive, it was nice - a medley of 3 or 4 of their desserts that they'd obviously put together on a plate just for us. It was nice, but the rudeness of the wait captain and how they handled it wasn't so good.
Overall the food was okay, but the service was lacking. I certainly wouldn't race to go back. There are equally good steakhouses in NYC and we've had better service in many of them. Willie Degel should put some cameras to work in his own restaurant and keep a closer eye on things. We expected more.
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