Admittedly, few restaurants were open on Christmas and Thai sounded good, so we hoped to have a nice, flavorful meal for our holiday. The decor of the restaurant was very interesting, with grand entry doors and lots of golden things to give the illusion of Thailand. There was a deceptive genuineness about the staff because the young lady who waited on us was obviously Thai and could hardly understand English. Unfortunately, she was positively one of the worst restaurant servers I have encountered.
I've been to Asia, though not Thailand, but in every South Asian style restaurant, courteous and prompt service are compulsory expectations. What happened here? This place must have taken lessons from Congress in getting things done with promptness and grace.
To make a long story short, every bit of this experience at Thai Pavilion was laborious. We ordered appetizers, alcohol beverages, and main courses. The appetizers took almost 30 minutes to arrive, they were cold, and our drinks arrived even later--I almost went to the bar to see what the holdup was. The restaurant had nearly emptied, so I was flabbergasted at the utter lack of expediency. Finally, our beers arrived, but the server plunked down the bottles on the table, holding them by the bottle neck (drinks should be presented on a tray), and there were no glasses nor was there any offer of bringing a glass. She whisked away before we could ask, but when she returned, I asked for glasses. Ten minutes later, she plunked down the glasses and whisked off again. Now I knew this was not a genuine Thai restaurant because every Thai, Indian, and Chinese, restaurant, or even a decent Mexican or Italian or just plain American restaurant I've been to, the server offers to pour the beer into the glass. It's part of the experience that makes these establishments classy. Certainly the prices we were paying were too high for this terrible service. This was food court quality of service--and I've had MUCH better food at Thai restaurants in food courts.
Oh, and another thing, on the menu, there is a caveat that groups of FOUR or more are charged an 18 percent gratuity automatically. What?! Large groups I can understand, but I was prepared to do battle when the bill came. Fortunately, the charge was not there, but we did leave our server a small concessionary tip, simply because she was, at the very least, polite.
The food itself was decent, though not excellent. I would not return, personally, because there are so many great Thai food places in the Washington, DC, area. In the end, maybe the restaurant was on the "B" crew for Christmas. My attitude is, if you are going to open a restaurant on Christmas, then at least try to provide good service and good food, that way patrons will feel more generous and give better tips. Otherwise, just close the restaurant for Christmas and let the employees have a break and those of us who don't cook on the holiday will find a better place to eat.
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