Went on 23rd April. Ordered the 8 course tasting menu, and for an hour and a half, had a great meal. Then the chef comes out and tells us there's a private party coming in and they'll be moving a few tables around. No problem, we say. Then we sit and watch from our corner booth as EVERY table in the place is removed and taken through the bar into a back-room. We're the only diners left. Still pretty weird at a Michelin-star restaurant, but the food's good, and we don't want to cause a fuss...
Then, people start arriving. Typical LA scenesters, all of whom wanders past our table glaring at us contemptuously, wondering why we're daring to sit there at half-past nine. A DJ arrives and sets up massive speakers - and starts playing incredibly loud techno music. IN THE DINING ROOM! While the harried waiter was keeping up the embarrassing pretence of fine dining. It's very surreal being served sea-bass while a full-on party is taking place around you. Then a saxophonist starts playing. Meanwhile, the room's filling up.
At this point, we call the waiter over. Ask what's going on. He stutters - kind of aggressively - that he 'tried to call the hotel but they had no record of you staying there'. Umm.. that's kind of insane, since the place we were staying was the Beverly Hilton, and not the kind of place to lose track of its guests. Turns out this waiter called the concierge, thinking he'd made the booking - actually, I'd made the call myself. It didn't occur to this lobotomized moron to call the front desk and try and reach us.
Anyway, his grand plan had been to call us and explain there was a private party coming in at half-nine, and would we be okay with that?
Let's ignore the fact that my booking was made a week before, and the waiter had only tried calling THAT DAY (i.e. they'd accepted the booking after ours, in search of more money). Let's ignore the fact that they couldn't get through.
.. They still let my wife and I sit down at eight o'clock and order the 8-course tasting menu, and they were still happy to serve us at a meandering pace... until the party showed up. Unbelievable. They couldn't mention - when we came in - that the whole place was going to turn into a night-club half-way through our meal?
The best part: my wife and I bailed early. We really didn't want to finish our meal in the middle of someone's party. So they bring the cheque... and lo and behold, they haven't knocked off a cent. Even though we haven't finished the meal. Didn't even offer us free drinks. We - pretty reasonably, I should add - tried remonstrating with the chef, who gave us a lugubrious Gallic shrug. Which pretty much amounted to: "This party paid me lots of money, and now I have yours, so what are you going to do about it?"
I'm willing to concede that what happened to us was a rare, one-off kind of event. But honestly, do you REALLY want to go to a place that has that much contempt for their customers? The chef, it turned out, hadn't even been in the restaurant for half the night. When he did return, he spent most of his time flouncing around looking for praise from the customers rather than, y'know, cooking.
LA is full of great places to eat. Don't reward this greasy, unpleasant, money-grubbing egotist - go someplace else.
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