We were staying at the Ritz Carlton Villas and they recommended it. Front of house manager was curt on the phone when I made the reservation, couldn't wait to hang up on me. All I said was 3 people, and the time we'd like to come and he was ready to hang up....just wanted to add we like to not be seated in the middle of the room....we was basically like-whatever CLICK. When I saw him in person he was dismissive and rushed, the restaurant was empty at this point. He seated us in a booth, which was great. We ordered an expensive bottle of wine, as we were celebrating my birthday late, because I was sick as a dog. It was fantastic. Escargot appetizer came out burnt , or a little too much time under the salamander-the smoking burnt butter made me cough uncontrollably (and it wasnt' even mine, my husband ordered it) and it would have taken 10 minutes for it to be cool enough to eat...I like piping hot food, but it's a fine line between ON FIRE and hot. When we mentioned it, very politely, apologetically almost... waitress seemed perplexed...'well, this have never happened before I'm not sure what to do, it's so rare that anything is sent back' She sent Mr. Charm over to ask 'what seems to be the problem here?' Great way to start a conversation with any customer, not! We didn't have a 'problem' but now that you mention it.....I guess we do! Seems he has to approve that it be sent back and we are worthy of the extra work, and above all confirm we are not liars. Reluctantly indulged us. Again, dismissive and while you're still talking, making pleasant conversation, he knocks on the table as if to say, you are done talking now and walks away with some cheesy, you folks enjoy, and a fake smile. We noticed he hung out the bar most of the rest of the night, by the way. The waitress was pleasant and efficient until I asked about the odd choice of music (grateful dead?who I used to follow and like) in such a nice, expensive restaurant. It just seemed weird, unless there was some hidden bong hit action going on...which actually would explain everything....She stated in a sarcastic way 'Welcome to Russells!' as if Jerry Garcia himself owned the place and we were just a huge disappointment to them as diners. Then, as predicted,she sent Mr. Happy pants over again to discuss our 'problem' with the music. By now the place was hopping and mostly with older folks and if they could have heard the music they would likely have found it distasteful, or at the worst, it could have induced an unpleasant flashback for someone. It almost did for me! And I mentioned that in a joking way, but alas it was too late. We were tagged as 'difficult'. We were almost done at this point and felt like assh**es for even mentioning the music. I've regretted it ever since. We were very apologetic and polite the entire time, but we were at the point of no return. She then ignored us (we were invisible/dead to her now, too complainy I guess) and we waited 20 minutes for our dessert, then another 15 for our check. It was easily a $250 meal, and I tipped her the normal 20% anyway.
The food was fantastic, other than the charred escargot, which came out very nice the 2nd time around. No worries. Everyone makes a mistake once in a while (except at Russells, apparently) We are frequent diners out as well as very good home cooks. The Beranise was even better than mine! They were sweetly accomodating to our 8 year old daughter and her dolls. We really did connect with and like the waitress, until the music thing came up.
I have such mixed feelings about this place. I doubt we'd go back because that Manager dude is just awful. Get some customer service skills or go work at the DMV. Someone so full of themselves should not be trying to make a living serving others with disdain.
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