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lizziee

Tom Sietsema's Online Chat

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Have you all read that stuff about Zaytinya and the server? Interesting stuff going on behind the scenes

The thing that impressed me -- I figured all along that no one was making fun of the cancer survivor -- was that the manager realizef floor staff playing grabass on the floor is always a bad idea. Annoying and unprofessional at best and, when the room is otherwise empty, it can be paranoia inducing. Regardless of the initial complaint, it will be a better restaurant for being a little more disciplined about things. I hope managers are posting this above time clocks and near changing rooms throughout the metro area.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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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, you obviously have not been reading closely enough. The earlier reservations do not have different rules than the later ones. It's just that the later reservations fill up much, much further in advance than the earlier ones, especially on a Friday or Saturday evening. Getting an "unrestricted" 6:00 reservation on a Friday might be 6-8 weeks outs. The prime reservations are all filled up before then making the 90-minute limit for a 6:00 slot de regieur. Michael explained this several post up-thread.

Damn this his hard to type after several glasses of wine and a lobster burger at Citronelle.

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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.

Damn straight it does! If you got fucked over because you were booted out at 91 minutes and weren't told about it, I'd be standing by your side with a freakin' scimitar if I had to. But if you know the policy beforehand and can't abide by it, then don't go. It's that plain and simple. And if Michael goes out of business because you and the "many, many more" don't show up, then I think he'll begin to realize pretty quickly that his policy isn't working and he'll make some changes. Any attentive businessman would.

If Michael decides to boot my ass out at 91 minutes, I'll b e expecting it. And I'll be happy to walk out of there with my styrofoam container wondering when I should try to make my next reservation.

May I suggest that instead of Ray's you start hanging out at Murky Coffee? I hear they've got the best service in the galaxy. I bet you'll be treated like a king!


Edited by syzygy8 (log)

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:biggrin::biggrin: cant stop laughing after this post. :biggrin:

Corduroy

General Manager

1122 Ninth Street, NW

Washington DC 20001

www.corduroydc.com

202 589 0699

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Have you all read that stuff about Zaytinya and the server? Interesting stuff going on behind the scenes

The thing that impressed me -- I figured all along that no one was making fun of the cancer survivor -- was that the manager realizef floor staff playing grabass on the floor is always a bad idea. Annoying and unprofessional at best and, when the room is otherwise empty, it can be paranoia inducing. Regardless of the initial complaint, it will be a better restaurant for being a little more disciplined about things. I hope managers are posting this above time clocks and near changing rooms throughout the metro area.

There's always been an issue at Zaytinya due to the layout - I hate sitting at those few tables because you're looking straight down 60' of service corridor. When people are being presented a view of the service/kitchen interaction in a non-open kitchen environment, the staff is left without a place to resolve confusion and the diner doesn't get as nice of a setting to dine in as they would have had in any other area of the restaurant.

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Heather, you obviously have not been reading closely enough.  The earlier reservations do not have different rules than the later ones.  It's just that the later reservations fill up much, much further in advance than the earlier ones, especially on a Friday or Saturday evening.  Getting an "unrestricted" 6:00 reservation on a Friday might be 6-8 weeks outs.  The prime reservations are all filled up before then making the 90-minute limit for a 6:00 slot de regieur.  Michael explained this several post up-thread.

Ahhhhh, OK. The point must have been made too subtlely for me to comprehend. :wink: That makes more sense.
Damn this his hard to type after several glasses of wine and a lobster burger at Citronelle.

I appreciate the heroic effort. :biggrin:


Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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May I suggest that instead of Ray's you start hanging out at Murky Coffee?  I hear they've got the best service in the galaxy.  I bet you'll be treated like a king!

I'd like my eGullet without extra snark, please.


Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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May I suggest that instead of Ray's you start hanging out at Murky Coffee?  I hear they've got the best service in the galaxy.  I bet you'll be treated like a king!

I'd like my eGullet without extra snark, please.

oooh oooh OOOOH!

If you don't want yours, I'll take it. I LOVE snark!!!!!!

:laugh:


If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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May I suggest that instead of Ray's you start hanging out at Murky Coffee?  I hear they've got the best service in the galaxy.  I bet you'll be treated like a king!

I'd like my eGullet without extra snark, please.

oooh oooh OOOOH!

If you don't want yours, I'll take it. I LOVE snark!!!!!!

:laugh:

Wait until Peanut's 12.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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MMMMM...Snark. It's kind of like the Mini Burger, it's everywhere but only some people do it really well.

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Fairfax, Va.: Tom, This may seem like an unusual question, but I am hopeful that you can provide an answer. Our family moved to the DC area about six months ago and our youngest daughter, 14, recently started 'dating' a nice boy whose father we learned is a chef at a local restaurant. Not sure about his first name, but the last name is Bubin. Are you familiar with him and the restaurant where he works?

Tom Sietsema: (Is this a joke?)

Yes, I've heard of Jeff Bubin, whose multiple restaurants -- Bistro Bis on the Hill, Vidalia downtown -- have made Washington a more interesting city in which to dine.

In other words, your daughter is dating the son of a rock star, culinarily speaking.

'course, your daughter is about to disown you, practically speaking.


Edited by babka (log)

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Mua ha ha, can't wait to tell Da Boss what his young'un has been up to :cool:


Resident Twizzlebum

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Was there any discussion of the Ray's the Steaks reservation system today?

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Was there any discussion of the Ray's the Steaks reservation system today?

I must have sent in 6 page-long messages, but oddly he chose not to post any of them. :hmmm:


If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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Was there any discussion of the Ray's the Steaks reservation system today?

Shockingly, not a word about Ray's this week. However, last week there was the following mention that I sort of assumed was about Ray's due to the "taking a beating in this forum" line:

Alexandria, Va.: Absolutely Ridiculous! That is my sentiment while I was having drinks and dinner with some girlfriends the other night at a local restaurant, one that seems to be taking a beating in this forum, when all of the sudden the lady next to our table threw up all over the table. Sorry folks, to those enjoying lunch at the moment. What was amazing to me was the fact that the couple got up, and walked away as nothing happened, and we also overheard the lady say that she had been feeling queezy for about 5 minutes. The Bartender followed to find out if everything was ok, and the gentleman replied that ''my date may have had 1 drink too many,'' and he walked away as if nothing happened. Common practice Tom? Am i missing something, such as an apology to the other diners whose meal was just ruined. The bartender bought us a round and had the table physically removed from the bar.

Tom Sietsema: It was bad form for the drunken customers not to apologize to those around them. But bravo to the bar tender who responded with concern (asking after the health of the guest) and grace (doling out free drinks to nearby customers).


Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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Ray's has no bar, or tender. My uninformed guess is the puker was at Tallula.


"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

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My uninformed guess is the puker was at Tallula.

Stretch would be correct. My sources said it was not pretty!

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From Tom's chat on 4/6/05:

"If they are allergic to playtex gloves, they should have other type gloves for them to use"

Playtex gloves???

:wacko::shock::blink:


"What, after all, is more seductive than the prospect of sinning in libraries?"

Michael Dirda, An Open Book

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My uninformed guess is the puker was at Tallula.

Stretch would be correct. My sources said it was not pretty!

That's interesting, because I have heard from the locals who frequent another trendy bar in that neighborhood -- ok it's Harry's Tap Room -- that the folks who live near Tallula are expressing the same unhappiness that led to the revocation of Whitey's liquor license, i.e. rowdy in the street clientele, throwing up on people's lawns, etc. Did the lady who got sick in this case imbibe too much, or was it just the flu?


Oh, J[esus]. You may be omnipotent, but you are SO naive!

- From the South Park Mexican Starring Frog from South Sri Lanka episode

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From Tom's chat on 4/6/05:

"If they are allergic to playtex gloves, they should have other type gloves for them to use"

Playtex gloves???

:wacko:  :shock:  :blink:

Yes, Playtex makes gloves, and they have nothing to do with feminine hygiene. It would have been more accurate for him to say "If they are allergic to latex gloves..." Since all Playtex gloves are latex, but not all latex gloves are Playtex.

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My uninformed guess is the puker was at Tallula.

Stretch would be correct. My sources said it was not pretty!

Did the lady who got sick in this case imbibe too much, or was it just the flu?

According to people around them (and the server), the couple wasn't drinking extravagently. At one point the woman told her partner that she didn't feel well, but remained seated...five minutes later, all over the table. Then they got up, collected their things and left without apologizing to the people around them or trying to clean up after themselves. VERY nice. :hmmm:

As for the neighborhood relations, the staff is doing daily trash pick up in the neighborhood and there are signs posted all over the restaurant asking patrons to respect the neighbors (if you read between the lines, that would include not throwing trash in lawns, throwing up on the sidewalks or idling your car with the high beams on in someone's driveway waiting for a parking space to open up at 11PM).

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Thanks MelGold. Hate to see Tallula be forced out of business because of the behavior of -- I assume -- a minority of its clientele


Oh, J[esus]. You may be omnipotent, but you are SO naive!

- From the South Park Mexican Starring Frog from South Sri Lanka episode

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I am getting so tired of this chat. Per the Colorado kitchen comment, I was there Sunday AM with 4 people. We entered the resturant at 11:10 to find many tables free but were nicely told by the very young hostess that they were understaffed. She sat us as soon as possible and told everyone else the same thing.

I saw this poster berate this girl and almost got up to smack him in the face. WHY ARE PEOPLE SUCH A**holes these days?

Foggy Bottom, Washington, D.C.: Tom:

I submitted this lengthy post to the chat late last week and it didn't make it, so I decided to try again. My cousin, his wife and their 10-year old from NJ were visiting my husband and me two weeks ago. We are all real foodies and always take each other to great places when visiting one another. After spending Saturday among the masses on the Mall, I promised the group authentic DC breakfast experience away from the tourists on Sunday morning at Colorado Kitchen. I had heard of chef Gillian Flynn’s outstanding food and impeccable reputation in this chat and from friends, so I thought it would be a great experience. Too bad we never got inside.

Colorado Kitchen opens at 11 a.m. for breakfast, and we arrived at 11:10. Four groups of four or less people each were waiting outside when we arrived. My husband put our name on the list, indicating we were a party of five. It was a gorgeous day, and we were happy to stand outside chatting in the sunshine while waiting for a table. Within 20 minutes, all four of the groups ahead of us had been seated. By this time, several other groups ranging in size from two to four people arrived and were also waiting outside. When the first of the groups arriving after us was seated, my husband went inside to check our status. The hostess assured him she had not forgotten us, and that there was a five-top with food on the table already, so it shouldn’t be long. Several other parties were called between 11:40 and 11:50. My husband again went inside. The hostess nodded to indicate she knew we were still waiting. He saw the five-top was still seated and that the parties of two, three and four arriving after us that had been seated in various configurations at the two-tops, including two pairs of two-tops with people so newly seated that their menus were still open. He then asked about other seating options in the restaurant. She told him there was only one five-top in the restaurant. He suggested we could squeeze into the booths. The hostess seemed surprised at the suggestion that a fifth person could squeeze in, in spite of the fact that already seated at one of the tables were four adults and a baby in an ample baby seat. She agreed to let us squeeze in if the booth opened up first. By 12:15 (more than an hour after our arrival), we’d had enough. We decided even if a table became available immediately, we did not want to give our business to Colorado Kitchen. By this time, more parties of four or less arriving after us had been seated. My husband went inside, but had to wait for the hostess because she deliberately avoided him for a few minutes. When he finally got to speak to her to say we were leaving, she seemed surprised, and informed him that the five-top had not turned, and it was out of her hands. He in turn asked her why she hadn’t been willing to push together two of the two-tops to accommodate our group. She initially seemed shocked at the idea, then fell back on an illegal fire hazard defense, indicating that she was strictly forbidden from doing so. She repeated this line again and again. We noted that this was a very young woman working in perhaps her first restaurant gig. We wondered if she hadn’t been told “this table seats five”, and it never occurred to her that she should think outside that construct. She finally asked if he wanted to speak to someone in the kitchen (it may have been Gillian). He declined, explaining that Colorado Kitchen had wasted enough of his morning, and we left.

Tom, I know that Sunday morning breakfast is a leisurely meal, and I do not begrudge any patron wanting to sip their coffee and read the newspaper. But isn’t it absurd for a restaurant to be unwilling to simply push two small tables together to accommodate a group slightly larger than usual when the ideal table doesn’t open when expected (we were five, not 12 after all)? Many restaurants have their entire business models built around two-tops that allow for maximum flexibility (Jaleo and every good deli in the world come to mind). In most cases, fire codes restrict maximum seating, not seating configurations (save seats that would protrude into lanes of egress). Even if the outwardly absurd explanation is correct, isn’t it appropriate for Colorado Kitchen to have a policy of warning any party larger than four persons that their ability to accommodate such parties is limited, and the wait might be in excess of what one might expect? I know I will never return to Colorado Kitchen, and I will tell others I know that a restaurant with such poor customer service does not deserve their money either.

Because I hate to be so critical, let me say we decided on the fly to go to Raku in Dupont Circle instead. It was 12:30 and time for lunch after all. I know you prefer the one in Bethesda, but I must say the food, service and patio atmosphere were nearly flawless. The waiter was so attentive, and got the 10-year-old’s food out very fast while the adults relaxed with drinks and edamame. It was exactly what we needed. Kudos also to Five Guys in Chinatown and Zaytina (who incidentally, also had a wait, but who set expectations such that our time at the bar was spent relaxing with drinks and good conversation, and not with constant concern that the restaurant was totally unaware of our desire to give them our hard-earned money) for two other stellar meals during the weekend.

Thanks for the avenue for venting my frustration. Keep up the great work!

Tom Sietsema: I wonder if Colorado Kitchen cares to respond? (I agree: a sign warning large parties about long waits or some such would be helpful.)

_______________________

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Also big congrats to our dear friend Don with this wonderful mention! Viva la Society of debate and discussion!

Washington, DC: What are your views on "blog" food sites? Do you think some of the posters are getting a little carried away with their views/oppinions? Just from experience they seem very one-sided.

Tom Sietsema: It really depends on who is doing the blogging.

Speaking of online food discussions, Don Rockwell, a former egullet host, has just launched a fun one: DonRockwell.com. Don is a fine writer, has good taste and eats out almost as much as I do. If you care about food in Washington, his is a site to monitor.

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