Monday, March 14, 2011

No Go For Brio

Before I step up on my soapbox I want to say that I don't normally like to bash restaurants.  I am not  a critic and I not really interested in being one just yet.  If you want restaurant reviews there are plenty of local blogs who do a great job with that.  Although this week indulge me if you will, its time for me to get my soapbox, I will be right back.

Ok as I am firmly planted on my soapbox I want to share with you one of the worst dining experiences I have ever had in my life.  Yes my life, ok well that may be a little dramatic but as you will see this was truly a horrible dining experience in my opinion.

What is your expectations when you plan on spending between 70 to 100 dollars for dinner?  Well depending on how fancy you are maybe that is like going to McDonalds, but for me it is a pretty big chunk of change for dinner out.  Especially when I know I can spend half and cook the same meal at home.  When I go out to dinner I expect a certain level of attentiveness and individuality.  What I mean is that I would think that the server for my table would treat me like a guest at their home.  This was not the case tonight.

brio /ˈbrio/sostantivo maschile
  1. liveliness, verve;
    essere pieno di ~
    to be full of bounce o go  
 So we decided to head down to the Newport on the Levee to have a nice relaxing dinner at Brio.  It wasn't my choice but I have always heard good things about this place so I said ok.  I have been there once before but I believe that was some years ago.  When I walked in we were seated very promptly which I expected being it was after 7pm on a Sunday night.  The first thing I noticed was that the menu was way to big physically.  I didn't know whether to read it or fan myself with it like a large palm leaf.   I noticed also that the place was very loud and that wait staff seemed to have trouble holding on to plates and glasses because they dropped quite a few of them while I was there.  So at this point I pretty much felt like I was at an Olive Garden not fancy dancy Brio.

Introducing are buddy Ron entering stage left, the guy who would single handily ruin our dining experience for night.  From the start he didn't even introduce himself to us or even make us feel welcomed.  He really made us feel like cattle that he wanted to feed and send us on our way.  His posture and body language didn't indicate that he really cared about our dinner at all..  Which stinks because with being the in the business I love to reward great service with a good tip and normally a mention to the manager on my way out.  By the way I know his name was Ron because it was listed on the check..wink wink.

So we ordered some wine and that was brought to the table along with some water.  Then we ordered our first and second courses which was  two salads and two main courses.  Now I am not going to break down the food piece by piece because it was average but not horrible and it is not the reason for this rant.  Chain restaurant food is well... "it is what it is."

So as we waited for our salads I looked around the dining room an noticed that the staff really didn't move to much vigor or "liveliness" as the name Brio would indicate although I was hungry and I could see Ron with my salad in his right hand but there was a problem.  The problem was that Ron's left hand didn't have the other salad we ordered.  He dropped off the first salad and walked away.  Well maybe Ron couldn't carry two salads at a time so we waited and waited ...... yeah the other salad didn't make its way to the table.  So as I looked at my Fazoli's style Caesar salad I noticed someone was heading our way and it wasn't Ron.  Only after a few bites of my wanna be Caesar salad there is another server running out our dinners.  In aggravation I explained to this innocent server that we were short one salad and that I wasn't ready for my dinner yet.  The poor guy I know felt ambushed but he gave us the option to have the dinners taken back and kept warm but I just told him to take the Caesar salad.  He apologized and that was nice to hear, but unfortunately the damage had been done.  As for Ron yeah no where to be found and again not showing that liveliness in which the name Brio would indicate.  Actually according to the Brio website this is what they have to say when it comes to service and quality:

Our goal is to be the "Best Italian" restaurant company in America. We are a quality driven company, not a quantity one. Our number one focus is the Guest Experience. Consistently high quality food, superior service, good value and a unique atmosphere all contribute to our Guests' satisfaction. We differentiate ourselves by offering classically prepared food items from original regional recipes using the highest quality, freshest ingredients.
So back to the situation at hand, after letting the innocent server know about our predicament  I saw him tell the manager.  After a few minutes she came to the table.  She offered her apologizes and took our salads off of our bill and offered us the free dessert.  I hate the free dessert, the free dessert doesn't fix anything and never will, so stop offering it please as a way to fix your lack of trained employees.  Be creative or at least have the waiter apologize to us for the lack aptitude and attention to detail.  Which after all that we never got from our buddy Ron.  Not only that but when Ron came to the table to offer us dessert he never offered it to me.  Finally we did order one Creme Brulee for dessert and wouldn't you know they didn't have anymore left.  At this point I couldn't get to the door quick enough so I could bid farewell and good riddance.

I would say if you have to have chain Italian food just go to the Olive Garden.


Anonymous said...

Did Ron have glassesand maybe early 40's? If so we had the same type service....i wasnt impressed at all by the food.

kamharper said...

As I was scrolling down Twitter this morning I read this before I got to your tweet. "A complaint or negative review is a gift. The customer is TELLING you how to fulfill their needs."

Ken said...

Yes Anonymous we are talking about the same individual.

Bill said...

Ken, I had almost the same Horrible experience at the Rookwood in Mt. Adams. Service was the worst I have ever had.
I put my knife and fork on the plate after finishing a course and the server picked them up and put them back on the dirty table and when I asked why he did that, he said the silver ware was not dirty.
It was a complete joke.