Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sayonara Sorellina

What do you do when you go out for a celebratory birthday dinner and you are treated to the WORST possible dining experience you have EVER had???

Unfortunately for my family and I, it happened to us last night. It was mom's birthday and we took her to, what used to be, her favorite restaurant, Sorellina in downtown Boston. Things fell apart quite quickly when we arrived at our table. There were 12 of us and we were seated at a long table, 6 on one side and 6 on the other. This was really no problem, as it was the only way the restaurant could accommodate a large party, but I ended up on one end of the table, my mom at the other. At times I felt like I wasn't even with celebrating with her.

The young waiter took our drink order, served us the drinks then proceeded to take our order for dinner. Being on the end of the table, My Guy and I were the last to place our order. As My guy was ordering, he asked the waiter if he could order a special appetizer, as is, but without the meat. He was swiftly told,"No, the chef will not change a special." My Guy then told him that the chef did, in fact, accommodate him on this request the last time we were there. He was flatly told, "No" again. So he proceeded to place his order. Sorellina is a very high-end restaurant that offers the diner several course selections. After My Guy ordered his appetizer, he ordered a pasta course and was about to move on to his main course when the waiter snapped the menu out of his hand, quickly. My Guy told him, "I'm not done ordering yet." to which the waiter apologized, and he completed his order. I sort of giggled and said to the waiter, "Are you in a hurry?". He laughed and answered, "no.."

This was all before 7:30 pm. Slowly during the next few hours the appetizers were served. Around 9:25, (no kidding) our dinners arrived, but everyone was having a good time, laughing and drinking. I should have known that things were going to come to a bad conclusion and quickly when the young waiter asked my brother-in-law and my brother, who were the only ones drinking mixed drinks "are either of you driving?" They had had 2 drinks each at that point, and we were as perplexed as they were. So at 9:25, when the dinners were served, everyone was served, EXCEPT My Guy. No one said a word to us so I asked the waiter where his dinner was to which he responded, "It's coming."

I waited at least 10 minutes with my untouched dinner sitting in front of me, until I brought the waiter over, told him how unacceptable it was to serve an entire table except one, and told them to take muymeal away and to bring it back when his dinner was ready. By this time, everyone at the table was just about finished with their dinners so my sister got up to complain to the manager. Her complaints were basically ignored. Now I began to fume. Not once during the 20 more minutes we waited for the dinner to arrive, did the manager come over to the table to inquire about the situation or apologize. By now I had lost my appetite. When the dinner did finally arrive, I curtly told them to take it away, that they had ruined my evening, and that I no longer wanted my dinner. The waiter replied, "why?" Already pissed, I raised my voice (uncharacteristically) and said, "Take it away, now!"

We left there no too long after that debacle, vowing NEVER to return, and rightly so. I felt terrible that I had let the restaurant's inadequacy ruin my mom's birthday celebration. I called her this morning to apologize for letting my temper get the best of me. She proceeded to tell me that it wasn't my fault. I then found out that the waiter had screwed up both her and my sister's orders on the other end of the table, and was just as unapologetic. She said it was the worst experience she had ever had at Sorellina, which she used to love, but would never return.

When a corporate chain decides that their customers comfort is of no importance to them, what is one left to do? I guess we will spend our money at restaurants where service and quality are important and where customer satisfaction matters.

Sayonara Sorellina. You blew it big time.


Jim said...

Wow . . . that IS bad. We went to a high-end place for our anniversary a couple of weeks ago and, thankfully, it lived up to its billing --- food, service, everything. Nothing worse than paying top-dollar for a lousy experience . . . AND getting attitude from them, to boot.

Stick with Woodman's in Essex, or The Clam Box in Ipswich ;-) . . .


Anonymous said...

Oooooooh, Candy. I would not had as much restraint as you, especially for such a special ocassion. I usually give the waitstaff the benefit of the doubt, because most of the time their service depends on the accuracy and speed of the kitchen, but for the waiter to be unapologetic is uncalled for.

I suspect he loathed waiting on such a large group because he couldn't take as many other tables to earn tips at during that time, but I'm sure the tip was added to the check for such a large group, so what did he have to complain about.

I'm a letter writer, and if I experienced what you experienced, I would find out who the big cheese is in that restaurant company and write them a letter, and at the bottom of the letter type 'cc: Zagats Editor/Restaurant Reviewer' and send Zagats a copy of the letter.

That ought to get their attention.

I'm furious just reading this post - makes me wanna step in on your behalf and rip that restuarant manager and waiter two new assholes.

The Dental Maven said...

What in the hell has happened to my Boston??? Goodness! The Mavens last trip to beantown included dinner at No. 9 Park. Food was great, but wait staff took themselves way too seriously. Hate that. Sorry about your Moms Birthday, Girl.

The Dental Maven said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wigsf said...

There must be something in the water over there. Too much residual caffeine after that whole tea party fiasco. One of the worst restaurant experiences I've ever had was outside Boston in Salem. It was also a large dining party. I guess you Massachusetians (is that even a word) have a hard time serving large groups.

BeckEye said...

That sucks. But I like Madtexter's suggestion! You should totally fire off an angry letter and send it to Zagat's. Or at the very least, your local paper's food editor.

Heff said...

Awwwp !!! Candace got PISSED !

Hey, it happens.

Write a letter to the owner, unless he doesn't give a damn either.

SkylersDad said...

Beck and Mad are right. It makes no difference to them if you never show again, they will still put butts in the seats. But if you let them know, and let your local food critic know, then maybe someone will feel the pain.

Scope said...


You can find all the names you are looking for @ THIS LINK.

Be informative, not angry. As management, you know that you would like to be informed of your staff behaving badly.

RW said...

Having a similar experience once in some ways I left the waiter a tip of 5 cents, on the table, and stood by the door watching until he picked it up, at which point he looked at me furiously, and I winked and nodded and left. I go into a restaurant as a 20% tipper, people should not mess with me.

Scott Oglesby said...

What horrible service! There is nothing worse. Too bad it wasn’t a national chain or they’d be bribing you to shut up right about now. You’re doing the one, best thing you can do and letting the people in Mass know not to go there.