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Tom Sietsema's Online Chat


lizziee
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Joe:

Your response begs the question:  What time was your reservation?  If you had a reservation at 6 or 6:30 and were notified that the restaurant had to have the table back in 90 minutes, you don't have a leg to stand on.  If, on the other hand, you had a reservation at 7:30 or 8:00 and/or were given no notice of a 90-minute time limit, then your position is righteous.

Tell us more about the circumstances so that we can make a better informed judgment here.

When I first called to make the reservation I asked for a time around 6:00 or 6:30 since my wife works in Ballston and get off from work around 5:30. I was told if we came that early we would have to be out in 90 minutes. When I asked for 7 or 7:30 on a Saturday night instead I was told that it would be five or six weeks before a Friday or Saturday would be available where we would not be limited to 90 minutes and could arrive later.

My problem was wanting to come early. It seems that ALL of his early reservations have 90 minute limits. I don't believe you can go to Ray's at 6 and stay longer than 90 minutes if you want to.

He and I also had a disagreement in that first phone call. Some of this isn't worth going into but what's important is that I asked for four consecutive Friday nights at 6 or 6:30 until I learned that he did not have any early times that did not have a time limit.

Joe:

Frankly, I'm shocked at your position here. You accepted the reservation knowing of the time limit. What gives you the right to complain about the restaurant under these circumstances. Please explain your position more thoroughly so that I can understand where you are coming from.

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Joe--

As comprehensive, thorough and thoughtful your response is, you do not take two things into consideration: one, you do not consider that Ray's has 45 seats while other restaurants with similar cuisine that you compare Ray's to typically seat 125-250; two, if the peak time slots with no time constraints are reserved one to two months in advance, how is that a result of my "policy" or something that I should be expected to be criticized for?

Everyone has a choice. I would never criticize anyone for their choice to frequent other establishments, or hesitate to encourage that rather than disappoint them with what I do.

--Michael

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Joe--

As comprehensive, thorough and thoughtful your response is, you do not take two things into consideration:  one, you do not consider that Ray's has 45 seats while other restaurants with similar cuisine that you compare Ray's to typically seat 125-250;  two, if the peak time slots with no time constraints are reserved one to two months in advance, how is that a result of my "policy" or something that I should be expected to be criticized for?

Everyone has a choice.  I would never criticize anyone for their choice to frequent other establishments, or hesitate to encourage that rather than disappoint them with what I do.

--Michael

I'll be damned if all this doesn't sound familiar.

"I'm going to Wichita

Far from the opera for evermore

I'm gonna work the straw

make the sweat drip out of every pore

And I'm bleeding, and I'm bleeding, and I'm bleeding

Right before the Lord"

WHITE STRIPES

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Joe--

As comprehensive, thorough and thoughtful your response is, you do not take two things into consideration:  one, you do not consider that Ray's has 45 seats while other restaurants with similar cuisine that you compare Ray's to typically seat 125-250;  two, if the peak time slots with no time constraints are reserved one to two months in advance, how is that a result of my "policy" or something that I should be expected to be criticized for?

Everyone has a choice.  I would never criticize anyone for their choice to frequent other establishments, or hesitate to encourage that rather than disappoint them with what I do.

--Michael

The problem, Michael, is that EVERY reservation you make for 6 or 6:30 is told that they must be out within 90 minutes. You prioritize those who come later and allow them to stay as long as they want. Why shouldn't SOME of the earlier tables be allowed to stay longer? You've established a two tiered system where early reservations mandate a time limit and later do not. But some people, such as myself, want to come early. Do you turn over a party of six or eight who come early in 90 minutes also? I cannot imagine going to your restuarant with five others and finishing our dinner in 90 minutes. A larger group, by definition, just takes longer. All I am suggesting is that by having EVERY earlier reservation limited to 90 minutes you create situations where some dinners do not like this type of restriction.

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Joe:

Your response begs the question:  What time was your reservation?  If you had a reservation at 6 or 6:30 and were notified that the restaurant had to have the table back in 90 minutes, you don't have a leg to stand on.  If, on the other hand, you had a reservation at 7:30 or 8:00 and/or were given no notice of a 90-minute time limit, then your position is righteous.

Tell us more about the circumstances so that we can make a better informed judgment here.

When I first called to make the reservation I asked for a time around 6:00 or 6:30 since my wife works in Ballston and get off from work around 5:30. I was told if we came that early we would have to be out in 90 minutes. When I asked for 7 or 7:30 on a Saturday night instead I was told that it would be five or six weeks before a Friday or Saturday would be available where we would not be limited to 90 minutes and could arrive later.

My problem was wanting to come early. It seems that ALL of his early reservations have 90 minute limits. I don't believe you can go to Ray's at 6 and stay longer than 90 minutes if you want to.

He and I also had a disagreement in that first phone call. Some of this isn't worth going into but what's important is that I asked for four consecutive Friday nights at 6 or 6:30 until I learned that he did not have any early times that did not have a time limit.

Joe:

Frankly, I'm shocked at your position here. You accepted the reservation knowing of the time limit. What gives you the right to complain about the restaurant under these circumstances. Please explain your position more thoroughly so that I can understand where you are coming from.

No, the dinner that we had was after waiting five or six weeks for a time that did NOT have a time limit. During this dinner there were two courses that were served within two minutes of the previous courses being removed. When I looked around the room I noticed that virtually EVERY table had their courses served almost immediately after the previous courses were removed. Further, there were quite a few empty tables since the average stay seemed to be relatively short. I am focusing on this because of the COST of the dinner. Again, it was $150. My wife and I would have ordered exactly the same things if we had come at 6 instead of 7. As it was we were still out in 75 minutes. But it was the IDEA that if we had come at 6 and were served so quickly, almost urging us to eat and leave, having spent this much I felt that it was intrusive to EXPECT us to be gone in 90 minutes. Maybe two hours, but not 90 minutes for $150. And, for me, it is the cost that is factoring into this. If the dinner was $75 or 85 or 95, fine. But not with $30 entrees, etc.

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Joe--

As comprehensive, thorough and thoughtful your response is, you do not take two things into consideration:  one, you do not consider that Ray's has 45 seats while other restaurants with similar cuisine that you compare Ray's to typically seat 125-250;  two, if the peak time slots with no time constraints are reserved one to two months in advance, how is that a result of my "policy" or something that I should be expected to be criticized for?

Everyone has a choice.  I would never criticize anyone for their choice to frequent other establishments, or hesitate to encourage that rather than disappoint them with what I do.

--Michael

The problem, Michael, is that EVERY reservation you make for 6 or 6:30 is told that they must be out within 90 minutes. You prioritize those who come later and allow them to stay as long as they want. Why shouldn't SOME of the earlier tables be allowed to stay longer? You've established a two tiered system where early reservations mandate a time limit and later do not. But some people, such as myself, want to come early. Do you turn over a party of six or eight who come early in 90 minutes also? I cannot imagine going to your restuarant with five others and finishing our dinner in 90 minutes. A larger group, by definition, just takes longer. All I am suggesting is that by having EVERY earlier reservation limited to 90 minutes you create situations where some dinners do not like this type of restriction.

I typically do not seat parties of larger than 4 before 8. They almost always prove to be disruptive of service and other guests' experience at earlier times.

Also, if a table tries to book at 6 and that table is not previously reserved for 7:30 I will acommodate that table with no limits (first come first served, remember?). That almost never happens. But no, I do not make every table available for seating at 6. I stagger seating.

I don't start driving in fourth gear, either, or brush my teeth after going to bed. I also do not board a rollercoaster while the train is still moving and full, of after it has left the platform. It would be nice if I could demand to ride twice, or even three times, in a row, though, and make others wait until I was done riding. Better yet, my own private roller coaster that no one else could ride.

Edited by landrumm2000 (log)
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Joe--

As comprehensive, thorough and thoughtful your response is, you do not take two things into consideration:  one, you do not consider that Ray's has 45 seats while other restaurants with similar cuisine that you compare Ray's to typically seat 125-250;  two, if the peak time slots with no time constraints are reserved one to two months in advance, how is that a result of my "policy" or something that I should be expected to be criticized for?

Everyone has a choice.  I would never criticize anyone for their choice to frequent other establishments, or hesitate to encourage that rather than disappoint them with what I do.

--Michael

The problem, Michael, is that EVERY reservation you make for 6 or 6:30 is told that they must be out within 90 minutes. You prioritize those who come later and allow them to stay as long as they want. Why shouldn't SOME of the earlier tables be allowed to stay longer? You've established a two tiered system where early reservations mandate a time limit and later do not. But some people, such as myself, want to come early. Do you turn over a party of six or eight who come early in 90 minutes also? I cannot imagine going to your restuarant with five others and finishing our dinner in 90 minutes. A larger group, by definition, just takes longer. All I am suggesting is that by having EVERY earlier reservation limited to 90 minutes you create situations where some dinners do not like this type of restriction.

I typically do not seat parties of larger than 4 before 8. They almost always prove to be disruptive of service and other guests' experience at earlier times.

Also, if a table tries to book at 6 and that table is not previously reserved for 7:30 I will acommodate that table with no limits (first come first served, remember?). That almost never happens. But no, I do not make every table available for seating at 6. I stagger seating.

I don't start driving in fourth gear, either, or brush my teeth after going to bed. I also do not board a rollercoaster while the train is still moving and full, of after it has left the platform. It would be nice if I could demand to ride twice, or even three times, in a row, though, and make others wait until I was done riding. Better yet, my own private roller coaster that no one else could ride.

"I typically do not seat parties of larger than 4 before 8. They almost always prove to be disruptive of service and other guests' experience at earlier times."

Michael, I don't know what to say. Your comment certainly speaks for itself. Again, I am sorry that I feel the way I do-I'm also sorry that you feel the way you do noting your comment above. Still, for the many, many on this board who have not been to Ray's you should go. The man makes the best steak in D. C. and possibly the best scallops, too. I sincerely respect the effort that has gone into creating this. No one reading my comments should fail to try Ray's at least once and making your own decision. Judged solely on the basis of food I honestly believe that Michael has set the bar awfully high. Perhaps one day he'll have a different type of operation serving the same food; I would jump at the chance to dine there as often as I could.

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I don't start driving in fourth gear, either, or brush my teeth after going to bed. I also do not board a rollercoaster while the train is still moving and full, of after it has left the platform. It would be nice if I could demand to ride twice, or even three times, in a row, though, and make others wait until I was done riding. Better yet, my own private roller coaster that no one else could ride.

Perfect.

My dad alway's told me, "My house my rules, you don't like it live somewhere else." I could point out the corollary here but your all smart people.

Oh yeah. Michael if I promise to get off in 90 minutes can I ride on the roller coaster too?

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Still, it's his restaurant and he's going to operate it the way he wants.  I suspect that because of his independent personality it is as good as it is.  But anyone that tells customers they will have to be out in 90 minutes, even when spending $150 for two people, has to expect they are going to be criticized.  For everyone that complains on a message board or a newspaper Chat there are many, many more who just don't return or call back because of such restrictive hours to take reservations.

I'm sure that if Michael was truly concerned that his business was going to be hurt by this policy, he wouldn't have done it. And why should he expect to be criticized for the 90 minutes deal?!! You knew about the 90 minutes up front, didn't you? If you or the other countless hordes out there who can't stand Ray's have a problem with that, then simply say, "Never mind. That won't work for me."

And as for all those "many, many more who just don't return or call back because of such restrictive hours to take reservations," who gives a rat's patootie? It's obviously not hurting the business. For chrissakes the guy's booked weeks in advance AND he's opening up a second branch in Maryland.

If you can't abide by the policies that you know up front, then Don't Fucking Go!

Edited by syzygy8 (log)
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The policy, which has been reasonably and clearly explained, only applies to you if you choose to eat there.

If you don't like it, don't go.

Methinks this is a waste of bandwidth, and I don't even know what bandwidth is.

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Or go at 9:30.

Look, you pay ten bucks less than Cap Grille for a bigger, more aged, better cooked, seasoned, sauced steak, PLUS better mash, PLUS spinach just as good or better. You pay probably 50% less markup on much much more interesting wine, in stems that are quite a bit less than 50% less good. The coffee's better. The apps are much better, and almost half the price. You've got the former number two at Citronelle cooking (for those who haven't been recently, a certain Mr. Hartzer is slinging the righteous chow). If you want to linger, Guajillo has a couple good after-dinner sipping tequilas or you can walk a block to Rhodeside or Cafe Asia and have a scotch (you want a walk after that kind of meal, anyway).

But it's a steak place. To me, eating a properly-aged, seasoned, and cooked steak is like eating a great cheese. It's not a dining experience, it's a singular appreciation of nature and craft. It's supremely geeky. I don't take people to Ray's when we want to chat.

Edit: Feel free to move this to the other thread.

Edited by jparrott (log)

Jake Parrott

Ledroit Brands, LLC

Bringing new and rare spirits to Washington DC.

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I love this thread.

Why is everyone getting so damn worked up over a damn restaurant.

Isn't that the point of this website?

A larger group, by definition, just takes longer.

? :blink:

I could point out the corollary here but your all smart people.

well, you're all smart people.

I wanna say something. I'm gonna put it out there; if you like it, you can take it, if you don't, send it right back. I want to be on you.

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I dunno. A swell little restaurant that's one of the hottest tickets in town with a clearly defined seating policy. I want to go back, and if the limit is 90 minutes, then so be it. I'll take it with deepest gratitude. We have, on rare occasion, spent more for a meal, but not for one as good.

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Still, it's his restaurant and he's going to operate it the way he wants.  I suspect that because of his independent personality it is as good as it is.  But anyone that tells customers they will have to be out in 90 minutes, even when spending $150 for two people, has to expect they are going to be criticized.  For everyone that complains on a message board or a newspaper Chat there are many, many more who just don't return or call back because of such restrictive hours to take reservations.

I'm sure that if Michael was truly concerned that his business was going to be hurt by this policy, he wouldn't have done it. And why should he expect to be criticized for the 90 minutes deal?!! You knew about the 90 minutes up front, didn't you? If you or the other countless hordes out there who can't stand Ray's have a problem with that, then simply say, "Never mind. That won't work for me."

And as for all those "many, many more who just don't return or call back because of such restrictive hours to take reservations," who gives a rat's patootie? It's obviously not hurting the business. For chrissakes the guy's booked weeks in advance AND he's opening up a second branch in Maryland.

If you can't abide by the policies that you know up front, then Don't Fucking Go!

Your post speaks for itself.

Edited by Joe H (log)
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So the earlier reservations have different rules than the later ones? :unsure: I have to agree with Joe - it would probably bug me to have a time limit on my dinner even if i finished within 90 minutes. It's as if the people with the 7PM reservations are more important somehow.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I think that if you call and reserve 6:00 pm before those evil people try to get the 7:30 slots, you don't get the 90 minute spiel.

At least I haven't...

But I book well in advance...

So the earlier reservations have different rules than the later ones?  :unsure:  I have to agree with Joe - it would probably bug me to have a time limit on my dinner even if i finished within 90 minutes.  It's as if the people with the 7PM reservations are more important somehow.

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Don't like Ray's policies? You could just go next door and get pho instead. If you do, I can guarantee you:

1. No one will care if you stay longer than 90 minutes

2. No need for reservations at all.

3. Much less with the arrogance.

4. Much fresher meat (dry aging? YUCK!!!!!)

5. You'll spend about a tenth of what you would have spent at Ray's.

6. The iced coffee is much better.

7. Your friends will think you're one of those "cultured" people.

Who needs Ray's?!!?!?

I wanna say something. I'm gonna put it out there; if you like it, you can take it, if you don't, send it right back. I want to be on you.

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