Monday, February 11, 2008

Bad service at Black & Blue Steak & Crab Restaurant

Monday, February 11th, 2008 8:20pm

I made reservations for Sharon's birthday at Black & Blue in Williamsville. Michele, Pete and I were there for a nice evening dinner celebration for Sharon's birthday. We were seated promptly after our 8.15pm reservation. We started with a bottle of German Weber Riesling. Bread and butter was brought to our table before the wine arrived. After 10 minutes, the waiter returned with our bottle of Riesling (uncorked) only to have him place it on our table for him to return because he had to deliver another bottle of wine to the table behind us and to take orders at another table.

We ordered the grilled trout, special of the day - beef medallions with portabello mushrooms and grilled asparagus, lump Jonah crab and the 20oz porter house with lump crab with red wine demi-glaze served with a side of sweet potato dumplings.

Before our entrees arrived, a waitress simply leaned in to us to retrieve our salad forks (seeing that none of us were having salad) without a mere 'excuse me'. We thought that was rather rude and unrefined seeing that she simply reached across us to retrieve the forks. Our entrees arrived and the lump Jonah crab as well as crab on the porter house was fresh and delicious. The grilled trout served on a bed of lemon risotto topped with fried onions was not bad. The lemon risotto was rather bland but the grilled flavors of the trout somewhat compensated for the unflavored risotto. The beef medallions were decent - the side of asparagus was nicely grilled but the asparagus was rather old.

Service for the rest of the evening went down hill from here. The waitress who reached in for the fork came back to refill our water glasses clumsily hitting our plates loudly and appeared to be in a rush to just clear whatever she can while we were in the midst of eating. The waiter who took our orders stopped by very shortly to check on us and moved to the table next to us to "chat". The same goes with the waitress who came later to clear our plates. Michele who ordered the beef medallions had only managed to finish half her meal.

As the waitress was clearing all our plates, Michele requested that her unfinished portion be packed up. The three of us heard Michele's request loud and clear. Without asking or anything, the waitress simply stacked on our side plates onto Michele's unfinished portion and cleared our table leaving our water glasses behind. We were in utter shock!! If the waitress had not heard Michele's request, she should have inquired if the unfinished portion was to be packed up. Instead, she took it upon herself to just clear everything up. Again, the waitress cleared our table in such a fast and clumsy manner as if she was in a rush to get out of what she was doing.

We asked for our check, it came some time later and I left ZERO tip. I asked to speak to the Manager and relayed to him our bad experience. Before I was done complaining of our service, he interrupted me to go retrieve our check. He returned with our check and with our waiter. Now, I have the manager and waiter in front of me and I had to repeat my complaints. The manager had me fill out a comment card. As I was filling the card, our waitress stormed up to confront us. She claimed she did not hear Michele's request to pack up the unfinished portion of the meal. Offers from the manager, waiter and waitress to recook the unfinished portion of meal was made to which we declined. We were already on our way out the door and there was no point waiting for the chef to recook the discarded meal.

The waitress was unapologetic over her actions and was very confrontational about what had happened. Another shocker was that we felt the manager could have handled the communication portion of this bit with his serving staff instead of having us explaining again and again what had gone wrong. We were assured that our complaints will reach the management of Black & Blue, but I doubt that a small comment card coud have documented all that went wrong. I commented what I can on the few measly lines provided and hope that no one else will receive such bad experience as we did.

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