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Bruce Burger

Marazul

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I had a frustrating experience when I called Marazul yesterday to make reservations for a party of 4 on Friday at 6pm. They don't take reservations except for parties of 8 or more!

I asked why and was first given BS about how this is their policy. When I asked why it's their policy, he said "We cater to large groups." He quickly realized this sounded bad and continued, "We want smaller parties too, but we don't take reservations for them." I mentioned that the recent Seattle Times review said "Reservations recommended" and he said "Unfortunately they didn't say what size groups can make reservations." I mentioned that very few hotel restaurants refuse to take reservations and their policy made it hard for people to plan on eating before a show at the Paramount; he had no real reply. (I realize that Marazul may technically not be a hotel restaurant, but it's close.)

Most surprisingly, when I asked for the manager so I could register my distaste for this policy, he said he was the manager!

I can tolerate policies like this at quirky, chef-owned places like Lark and Sitka & Spruce, though I don't like it there, either (and go less than I otherwise would). We frequent restaurant patrons need to complain before this consumer-unfriendly policy spreads.

In our case, since we're dining at 6pm, I suspect we'll be OK, but I've already got a bad feeling about Marazul's attitude.

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What is the logic behind a no reservation policy?

I dealt with this at Lark. I didn't mind it too much then but I normally don't like eating dinner at 5. Had I tried to get there at 7, fuggetaboutit.

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I hate making reservations, because I rarely know what I feel like eating until I'm hungry for the night's meal. So I like places that don't take them for small parties, because it means that I have as good a chance as anyone else to get a table. I realize that this means I'll usually have to wait a bit to get seated, but I expect it so it doesn't bother me. If the wait is too long, I'll go somewhere else.

I feel differently when I'm organizing a dinner for large group. It usually takes a lot of pre-planning to get a large party together; working with everyone's schedules means figuring out when and where we're going to eat is a must. At these times, a reservation is essential.

The "eight or more" policy you mention for Marazul does seem excessive though... most places seem to have minimum of six.

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A 'no reservations' policy almost automatically moves a restaurant to the bottom of my 'places to try' list. To me, the message is 'our time is worth more than our customers' time'. Fine enough, but as long as I don't agree with that assesment, I won't be going. Now with a child, my feelings on the subject are even stronger since waiting around with a kid is not an option and paying for extra babysitting time skews the value proposition even more.


Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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I might be in the minority, but I kind of like no-reservations policies, at least some of the time.

One time I made the mistake of going to Marco's Supper Club, which was completely empty but totally booked. The four of us were forced to sit at the bar, because they had no tables (only about 20 empty ones). We were there about an hour, ate and drank a fair amount, and during that time, almost nobody ever actually occupied any of said booked tables.

On a school night, which is the best time to actually go out to eat for an urban dweller, though perhaps not to be in a scene, or to be drinking, no-reservations policies rarely end up being a problem. The best time to go to Lark, or any popular restaurant, is on a Tuesday or Wednesday night. There are fewer commuters, fewer scenesters, and sometimes better food. I know the weekend is date night, but I find myself increasingly impatient with the waits (even with reservations) at the better places around town on Fridays and Saturdays.

No reservations policies on weekends when I go out on impulse often ends up meaning I get seated faster than if the same place took reservations. Many waiting-list-only places happily take a cell phone number and call, so I can go have a cocktail next door while waiting.

Anyway, for a place like Marazul, if it's still in that highly-crowded see-and-be-seen mode, I'd much rather avoid the whole fiasco of weekend dining.


Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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From their website

"Kick back and linger at a place where mahjong* and domino games are welcomed, and fresh-squeezed juice flows into classic cocktails and alcohol-free favorites."

Has anyone actually been here? Would they actually welcome MahJong players in their Rhum Bar or is that just a line?

We get together with friends for MahJong about once a month and would enjoy the occasional excursion for cocktails while we play :biggrin:

eta: So weird that this came up today, since it happens to be MahJong night here in the tropics of Ballard.


Edited by Eden (log)

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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Please let me know about the majohng! That sounds great though kind of a weird place to play it.

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Majong? If it is the Asian style majong, I'm in. If it is the other kind with the extravagant cheat sheet, I'll think about it.

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Went with some other eG'ers today- it is AWFUL!! Horrible bumbling service, food was either bland and tasteless or over spiced but single note spices vs good blends. shrimp ceviche looked old (I didn't taste it) and when we mentioned as such to a waitstaff she said "oh they make every day or so" :wacko: WTF??

It was obvious to any seeing person that we did not like our food but they didn't try to take care of that (or even one of the diners parking which I really thought they should have)

We didn't try the Rhum bar as it was lunch but I'd say if I ever had to go here again I would partake in many cocktails before eating the food again.

Oh, that's just my 2 cents of course! :laugh:

ugh.

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Oh wow. I missed a media event last week b/c I was sick, but there's another media dinner coming up that I've RSVPed for. I am hoping it was just an off night yesterday. My friend ate there when it first opened and he said the food was pretty good, and I usually trust his opinion.

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I was also there with Wendy for lunch and, as she said, it was not good. It reminded me of what a school lunchroom or hospital cafeteria would come up with if they tried to do Asian/Latin/Caribbean fusion. Yuck!

I had the Caribbean bento which came with the bay shrimp ceviche mentioned by LMF. It was a slightly bitter, gooey, bland concoction stuffed into an orange shell and looked and tasted like it had been sitting around for quite a while. The "jerK" chicken had no noticable spice at all--not even salt :blink: . The ceasar salad was over-dressed and ok, except it was wilted as if it had been dressed earlier in the day. The curry chicken was edible, but overly salty (I love salt) and tasted kind of like you'd expect a spice-packet curry to taste. There were also 3 tostones that might have been good if they'd been warm, but they were kind of chewy.

The best bite I had was a taste of LMF's churrasco steak from the Latin bento which came with a nice onion relish.

I was surprised that it was so bad as I'd read that it was pretty good and Nancy Leson gave it a pretty good review. Looking back at her review, I did order the one thing she suggested avoiding, but I wasn't wowed by any of the other food I tasted either.


Jan

Seattle, WA

"But there's tacos, Randy. You know how I feel about tacos. It's the only food shaped like a smile....A beef smile."

--Earl (Jason Lee), from "My Name is Earl", Episode: South of the Border Part Uno, Season 2

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I too was at lunch and it was craptacular. The service was laughable and totally clueless , on our way out I watched as a uniformed Pan-Pacific room service waitress was trying to help and just whirled around with two plates of food in her hands with no idea of where to go.

The menu

marazul2uc9.jpg

marazul3hi3.jpg

We started with these jerk pork potstickers, the filling was unremarkable and the skins were actively bad, doughy and chewy in a not at all pleasant way.

marazul4nb3.jpg

The Latin Bento Box, the tostones were tough and the multiplicity of salads was baffling. I tried to substitute for the scallop ceviche which was strangely enough the cheapest thing on the menu but not available as an option. The codfish croquettes were bland and boring. When someone says codfish croquettes to me and there is supposed to be some sort of latin influence I think bacalitos or croquetas de bacalao, but nope not these, just cod and potatoes and someone forgot the salt. The steak was good and quite tender.

marazul5gy6.jpg

The Caribbean Bento Box complete with bland un-jerked chicken.

marazul6cw4.jpg

Rocky


Edited by rockdoggydog (log)

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