My family dined here on 2/14/2014. I was looking for a more upscale place to eat on Valentines Day with my wife. Most of the usual places we go to in NJ were already booked. In addition, our two teenage sons wanted to join us for dinner. I used OpenTable to reserve the 7PM table for four. It was our first time eating at this restaurant.
This restaurant is located in a town strip mall and has plenty of parking available. We arrived to the restaurant at 7:05PM. The slight lateness was due to the road conditions after the many snow falls in the prior few days.
Upon entry into the restaurant, we witnessed an overly stressed front desk. They had several people waiting to be seated. Most of whom did not appear to have reservations. I observed three 2-top tables empty right next to the restaurant entry area, in front of the front desk. The rest of the restaurant appeared to be full of patrons with no empty tables, with the exception of the sushi bar seating.
The so called maitre d, murmured something to us and kept running around to and from the front desk. He eventually, asked us if we had reservations and upin hearing the affirmative ran to the upper of the two split-level areas of the dining room. He came back and told the four people who came in after us without reservations that will need to wait 10 minutes for a table. After that he had told us that a table is opening up in the upper section and it will be about a minute for us to be seated.
More people came in. Only one of them had reservations. The front area was now filled to the point that people seated at the tables immediately adjacent to the front desk had to contend with a constantly opening front door (letting very cold air in) and a bunch of people standing right on top of them.
The maitre d came back again and told us AGAIN the table is opening up and it will be a minute. Meanwhile he seated another set of four people at the sushi bar. They also had no reservations. We were never asked if wanted to sit at the bar.
One of ladies at the front desk asked us what name our reservations were under. She looked us up and confirmed that we had reservations. She had said it will be a few minutes for us to be seated. More people piled in.
The maitre d came back and said they are still working on a table in the upper area. The lady at the front desk had notified us that they double booked reservations. A second maitre d came over and had two of the 2-top table in front placed together so that we can be seated. We were finally seated 20 minutes after we arrived.
The first maitre d came over and told us what we already knew from the lady at the front desk - they double booked. To me it appeared that they do not review their reservation list in the normal course of business. OpenTable did not seem to be in synch with their on premise information, as it showed plenty of availability when I booked this place. The second maitre d came over and told us that he could not have us go to the upper area because 'those people had their reservations three days ago.' I had informed him that I placed my reservations a week ago. To which he did not even apologize, and just walked away after repeating what we already heard twice - they double booked.
Our waiter started out on a high note. He opened our byo beer while chatting us up to order the Peking Duck Rolls appetizer. We ordered that, having gone to Beijing in the summer, it gave us an opportunity to compare food quality. We also ordered two sushi rolls from the Specials menu for our first course.
I am not sure what makes this a 'French Thai' restaurant. Nothing on the Thai menu appeared to be a fusion of the two cuisines. You had your traditional Thai dishes alongside some of the non-Thai dishes (for example, rack of lamb, steaks, etc.).
The Peking Duck Rolls were nowhere near the quality we had in Beijing. But, for a local restaurant, they were OK. The texture was too dry. Maybe it could have used a bit more sauce to make it more moist. One of the sushi rolls - Crack Roll - was actually quite good. It was tuna and salmon on inside and outside. The roll was sprinkled with caramelized to crispy onions and the whole thing was on top of a tasty sauce. The other - Double Toro Roll - was just that - chopped Toro inside and sliced on the outside. It was fresh and well put together, but was otherwise nothing special.
For our main courses we ordered the beef terryaki, Bangkok duck, rack of lamb, and grilled ostrich. All of the proteins were cooked well and to our specifications. The accompanying non-protein on the plate were a hit and miss. The Bangkok duck had green peas that could have used a bit more cooking. The duck was described on the menu as being boneless. The dish came with slices of duck breast surrounding a duck leg with its bones fully intact. The other three dishes came with side ingredients that were over cooked.
Our waiter asked us if we were done. He did not even offer to show us the dessert menu. I guess he wanted us out, so he can seat some of the mob that was directly behind us in the fron of the restaurant.
We had asked to see the dessert menu. My wife and I had coffee. The boys ordered fried ice cream and a creme brule trio. The desserts were better than the main course dishes, but nothing spectacular.
Upon returning home, I noticed that OpenTable sent an email cancellation of our reservation at the restaurant. It was sent at 8:005PM - while we were already seated and having dinner!
In summary - the service at this place stinks (to be polite). We were blatantly misled by both maitre ds in a span of fifteen minutes. If they are not part of the ownership of this place, I would fire them both. This restaurant attempts to be an upper scale dining experience. It misses that goal on every count. The failures start with the management team. They do not know how to make everyone of their customers' experience special. They treated us like herd. The food, while has potential, is inconsistent. The sushi was the only highlight of what we had. The dining area could be welcoming, had the management team trained the staff how to take advantage of the real estate they have to work with.
A suggestion to the restaurant - hire a maitre d that knows how to run a successful restaurant; how to train the staff to treat all customers to make them feel special every time- no matter what; fix the reservation process so that you can actually anticipate the crowd and control it without impacting the dining patrons. Until you do that, this place is going to go down hill. That would be ashame, as it can be a decent place in Northern NJ it pretends to be.