Monday, February 15, 2010

Uno. Dos. Tres. FAIL.

It's Saturday night. Some friends and I have coordinated a fun birthday evening in honor of a close friend of ours, dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse and dancing afterwards. What can go wrong, right?

I had previously called and made a reservation at the restaurant for 7:00pm, for 9 people. The birthday girl's husband also made the same call so we are absolutely sure we won't have to wait....because we are that hungry. You see, in order to properly prepare for a Brazilian steakhouse visit, one must pseudo starve himself/herself for most of the day prior to ensure ample meat consumption. It's in the carnivore handbook, I assure you.

We all start arriving prior to our 7pm reservation, as we should. Once I arrive, I check in with the hostess to let her know our party is present. There is one problem, however, and that would be the lack of hostess present to communicate this. Hmmmmmm, slightly odd, no? It is now approximately 7:15pm, there is a crowd accumulating in the lobby area to either put their name down or check in with the hostess just as I am attempting to do......but still, no hostess to be found. There is a rather large gentleman standing next to me who is growing significantly more frustrated with this situation as time passes, as he arrived before we did and also has a reservation. I must point out that it's just not good for business to keep a large, hungry male waiting. Every restaurant should know better.

A few minutes pass and finally, someone resembling an employee comes to the front to greet us. Yes, that's right. Almost a half hour without any communication from a restaurant employee. She asks how many are in the party and I tell her we have 9 for a reservation at 7pm (It is now 7:20 or so). She says something under her breath, albeit not in English, and then walks away again. At this point, I notice what I can only assume is their reservation book...but only because the large guy standing next to me keeps pointing at it furiously. I glance at the book and notice that our reservation is nowhere to be found in this book. So, to recap, a large group of people waiting hostess to help....manager is currently nonexistent....our party is waiting and has been for over a half hour at this point....and we have a reservation that was called in not once, but twice and hasn't even been documented. Fucking fantastic. Oh, did I mention we were all pretty hungry at this point????? But nevermind that.

Several minutes later, I see what we now have identified as the manager walking by with food. Not for us, though. Bitch. It's for a table that has already been seated. She is playing waitress while her hostess has permanently disappeared (should we notify the authorities of her abduction??), which isn't that uncommon for a restaurant manager. I will go out on a limb, though, and say that it is pretty abnormal for the cook to come out and attempt to play another language. I shit you not. This guy comes out of the kitchen and starts trying to talk to Spanish. Ok, maybe he is the bus boy, but the point is he has no idea what he is doing.

He starts talking to me in VERY broken English. I can somewhat gather that he was trying to tell me "3 more minutos....4 more minutos"....ok I get it. You can count. Fabulous. Now go clear off a table so we can fucking eat, thank you. Anywho, his wait quote keeps increasing every time he comes back. Finally, I decide that I've had enough and go into hungry bitch mode. I interrupt him with "ok sweetheart you've been saying 3 or 4 or 5 minutos for the past 20 minutes and now you're saying another 15? How about no! Let's do this. You tell me where you plan to seat us and I'll go check on the table myself"...which is precisely what I proceed to do. He points to the table and tries to explain they are getting up in 5 minutes. I decide to walk over while he's still talking to look at the table. The people are still eating and no bill has been placed on the table yet. Um, como se dice "5 minutes my ass" in Espanol? Really.

I come back to the counter and tell the cook/bus boy/makeshift manager/fuckwit that it will be at least another 15-20 minutes before the table even gets up so it would be in his best interests not to lie to me again. He walks away with a defeated look upon his face, as he should. Some of the individuals behind me are now giving me verbal kudos for what I have just done.

The phone is now ringing off the hook at the counter. Still no hostess. Still no manager, and no one else in sight to field these calls. I am hungry, pissed, and dumbfounded at the lack of organization and management in the restaurant, so I sort of maybe kind of make an executive decision to pick up the phone and then hang it up a few times. Ok, look....if the restaurant cannot handle the already full lobby of pissed off patrons, they clearly cannot handle potential ones either. Evidently, this action appeals to the masses and I am now getting high fives from total strangers. Cool, I guess. High fives are nice sometimes, but I'd prefer to be eating.

It is 7:50pm at this point. We have now been waiting for over an hour for a reservation we already have. Seriously. WTF!!! As a group, we decide that any food is better than waiting around for piss poor service, so the birthday girl's husband starts calling around to nearby establishments hoping to get one that will accommodate a party of 9 on short notice....and no, the McDonald's across the street is not what we are going for at this point. Sorry. He finds one....a nearby upscale-ish sushi/seafood buffet. SUCCESS!! We don't even bother letting anyone know we're leaving, because really...who would we tell but our new equally as irate acquaintances??

We leave and vow never to return to this particular establishment ever again. There is one problem with this, however. Another friend has already planned to celebrate his birthday here, albeit at another location, next month. Suffice to say, there are several of us that are secretly praying he changes the venue of said celebration so as to prevent Clusterfuck II: Return to Famishment City. Just saying.

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