The "Terrible" & "Poor" reviews & even a recent "Excellent" review (note "double check your bill" comment) generally accurately reflected our own experience at this fine dining establishment earlier this week.
The food generally tasted very good & I really enjoyed the eggplant but the night ended on a note more sour than the delicious tomato sauce; I believed our server who told us the tomato sauce was made from scratch in the kitchen but the dubious way the owner conducted himself to us & the negative comments on this site has reduced this restaurant's credibility in our eyes.
There was only 1 other table during our dinner & I couldn't help wonder why the restaurant was so deserted, even as neighboring & other dining establishments in the city were regularly crowded. The restaurant, as noted by others, was very romantic & the 1 server for the night was friendly & patient with us. The "manager" chatting up the 4 other patrons that night turned out to be the owner & seemed charming to those diners (as another reviewer also noted).
Then when we received the bill, we noticed that everything was written down by hand & new orders were simply scrawled on any empty space in the original order form so it was difficult to read & calculate. After we agreed to the amount, a printed receipt was given that didn't itemize the orders (just a lump sum amount), which was slightly annoying. Up to this point, our impression was that the clock turned back in time a bit as the food was traditional in taste & preparation (as we were led to believe), as was the cash register & general atmosphere, which we generally liked & didn't mind up to this point.
Then my sister, who has eaten here on more than 1 occasion, apologized to the server that she forgot to present a coupon from Amazon. The server was gracious & tried to help but didn't have the authority & deferred to the owner, which was when "all hell broke loose."
To sum it up, the so-called owner, the same person who charmed the other table for 1 hour, refused to honor the coupon unless we agreed to a 20% tip for only the 4 of us!!! He gave us a lot of trouble, such as telling us we were late in presenting the coupon & the credit card was already swiped (which of course could be easily reversed); he also stated that it was restaurant policy for 20% tip but when asked to read the policy in writing, he could not produce it. All of this seemed like a smokescreen that still didn't justify the 20% "automatic" tip, which we learned later when the owner told us the 20% tip was charged because people with coupons tipped poorly (he said something like those people only paid $ 2 in tips for a $ 20 bill).
I haven't seen my sister angry in a very long time as his statements were very offensive; FYI the tip we paid already on the credit card was 17% (on the high-end) before my sister remembered the coupon. This cowardly owner then told us "the owner" was not there when we asked to speak with him. As another reviewer pointed out, my sister also reminded him "the customer is always right" & I concurred in this case.
At the end of it all, he honored the coupon & paid us back the discount in cash after a high-pitched vocal match where my sister insisted on paying 17%, not 20%, tip on the bill because of the good service of our server & that decision was ours to make (not the restaurant, especially as no policy was presented to the customer upon ordering). She promised not to be returning any longer to the owner & afterwards our server apologized repeatedly & asked us to return again upon leaving.
It was quite unbelievable that an owner could behave so poorly over a coupon that I'm sure he posted himself on Amazon to attract customers. I somehow am also skeptical if our nice server from Bulgaria will receive the full amount of our tip to her.
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