susancinsf's Profile

Title Last Reply

Retire where?

I decided to take the tests under my spot.com that someone mentioned earlier in this thread: anyway, of the top twelve options I got back, 11 were in Oregon! :-) (including Portland, Salem, Eugene, Ashland and several small towns I'v never heard of). Portland would be high on my list for food, walking, and bikes, definitely.

about 9 hours ago
susancinsf in Not About Food

Organic Fresno [Hwy 99]

Just ran across this report that Organic Fresno is closing next week:

http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/new...

Oct 20, 2014
susancinsf in California

Retire where?

no, I don't think so (to Santa Rosa or Windsor): I just did a quick search and the cheapest thing I could find was $175K: for a vacant lot. The cheapest condo I could find was over $200K. and i have a feeling those aren't in the areas where you can walk to shops, etc. (there are a lot of suburban areas and not a lot of public transit, plus traffic can be remarkably bad in the Santa Rosa corridor.)

I have been considering Paso Robles for my own retirement in the not-as-distant-as-it used -to-be future, and I am not sure it fits either, largely due to rising housing prices. honestly, my dream location (Big Island of Hawaii) would be cheaper for housing, assuming one doesn't want to be on the beach....sadly for me, Volcano (HI) has a nice farmer's market, but it is a 40 or so minute drive to the nearest decent grocery store....(I may do it anyway).

Oct 20, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

my point in reflecting on how time might change their perspective was quite simple: they may not realize how uncomfortable waiting can be until it becomes uncomfortable for them (which would likely be as they age). I know that I didn't realize what it really meant to be in a wheelchair until I was confined to one for several months, even though I thought I was quite empathetic to the needs, issues and concerns faced by the disabled prior to my time in a chair.

If that is 'existence proceeds essence' reasoning, whatever. It doesn't change my point, and my opinion, that there are many, many people in this world who really don't understand things that they don't experience personally. This applies particularly to the young for the obvious reason that the young have had fewer experiences than the old.

Oct 20, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

looking for a place in central valley tat sells portuguese blood sausage

Have you checked Wolfsen's in Gustine?

Oct 20, 2014
susancinsf in California

Hayes Valley Seriesously [San Francisco]

I could swear that a critical Giants game was on the TV in the bar at Absinthe when I walked by relatively recently during the regular season (the game was going poorly and I was trying to ignore it, so I could be confused about that)...so you might want to call Absinthe and ask (although if so, grabbing a seat in the bar might be quite difficult especially pre-opera).

Bar Jules might also be a possibility (?).

Go Giants!

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

Good for you, and yeah, I've seen customers like that. My own former MIL was like that. Going out to breakfast or any meal with her was unpleasant.

But it isn't a comparable situation. This isn't a one on one with a difficult customer:This is an opinion forum for discussion.

and the statement wasn't, 'Frankly, if you complain we don't want you'. The statement was 'and if you can do it better we don't want you. '

Sets the bar sort of low, don't you think?: "We aren't proud enough of our food to offer it to those who know good food and know how to make it. And we certainly wouldn't want those who know how to cook to feel welcome in our establishment".

But the poster probably didn't mean it that way, I know. It was just an overly sensitive reaction, probably based on years of trying to deal with difficult customers.

It appears to me that some posters on this thread equate discussion and expressing one's opinion in a thread in a forum devoted to discussion as a affront or a complaint. It isn't. This is a forum designed for these discussions. It is a pity that if restaurant owners, managers and staff are going to participate in these discussion that they don't use them as an opportunity to learn from and educate potential customers (for example, I am hoping that the restaurant in question reads my posts and takes a moment to consider and evaluate whether the waiting options are comfortable if customers do have a wait. If they are, great, and if they aren't perhaps they will be motivated to at least consider some possible changes or work-arounds).

But unfortunately, even in a more or less anonymous forum, it seems that any discussion that is critical is a complaint, and therefore something to react against rather than to consider.

Oct 19, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

my point was about the physical aspects of aging and how they influence my lack of comfort in waiting. And I still don't get how any amount of change as you describe applies to that context, sorry. (and by the way, being a person who cares about sustainability in a severely drought stricken community: I have absolutely no grass on my yard. So, no need to yell at the kids about stepping on it :-)).

The point I was trying to make was not a philosophical or existential one. It was simply this: waiting for a table is harder when one has physical disabilities. Those disabilities tend to increase with age (although obviously, they aren't only associated with age). Many of these places that say the wait 'rarely is more than twenty minutes' don't get that even that long of a wait can be uncomfortable. and in my experience very few establishments actually offer the option of leaving a cell phone and going elsewhere (at least in my neck of the woods). part of my dislike of waiting reflects the circumstances under which restaurants (some of which claim it is all about customer experience and service) expect me as a customer to wait.

Oct 19, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

"And frankly, if you can cook a better breakfast at home, we prefer that you do so."

Ok then.

Gotta say, sounds a bit grumpy and unwelcoming for a place that prides itself on customer service, and on its food.

Oct 19, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

what would that mean in this context?

Oct 19, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

There are many more than do than don't, you've given only a few examples, but I can give many more examples that do. In SF my take on the cultural norm is that for dinner reservations are in fact the norm, and at many places for dim sum, brunch, breakfast and lunch as well.

but even at Nopalito you can call and put your name on a list and get a time to come down so you don't have to stand around and wait (hopefully since they are very specific about the process on their website they manage the process better than the place I mention in a post above...). and both it and Swan offer takeout, so if one wants to sample their crab louie there are ways to get the food without waiting.

Oct 19, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

Well, where I actually live (in a small town), there is *no* place worth waiting more than ten minutes with *or* without a reservation...because the caliber of cooking isn't that high (and the few places where it is high are all family owned lunch and breakfast places that almost always have an empty table reservation or not, so no need to wait...)

But that was my point about SF: I can think of several places where a reservation is very tough to get, but they *do* take reservations. I am having a hard time thinking of any place in SF that doesn't take reservations that would be a 'must dine' experience, except perhaps the Tadich Grill if one wants an old SF vibe (one must choose carefully there to get very good food, IMO.). And of the places that take reservations there are lots that are the type of place I like to spend money. Since I can't think of any, I certainly wouldn't say there are 'a number' of very good places in SF with no reservations. Makes me wonder if the practice of not taking reservations becomes a culture of not taking reservations once a few places are able to do it (I am not convinced that most customers prefer the 'no reservations' model but it is possible that the restaurant's bottom line does better with 'no reservations' model, at least in some markets.... )

Then again, last time I was in Sydney (almost fifteen years ago) I didn't make reservations and didn't need them, because every place I went had no wait, and often were half empty, and we dined well. (for the most part: finding a decent burger was like pulling teeth even though I've had great ones with the lot in Cairns and elsewhere.)....Perhaps I need to go back and see what is new. :-))

Oct 18, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

I agree that it isn't binary, but to me, the key is that when I am putting out significant $$$ that I want to spend my money for good service in comfort, and good food. I just don't get how 'not being old' translates to 'must listen to loud rock in buzzing restaurants just to get the best food in town after having stood around waiting for a table'...In my experience, you don't *need* to go to those types of places to get great food, and if you do want loud music and a buzz, a lot of those places take reservations anyway! The last time I ate at a restaurant with lots of buzz and loud music was probably at Duende in Oakland, but while they do reserve a fair number of tables for walk ins, they do take reservations and we did have one. If I had wanted decent (it wasn't great) and very loud jazz, we could have sat in the bar without a wait. But I went for the food, which was good but not worth the pain to my ears. IMO, and YMMV to use those internet terms you mention (and if I just wanted jazz, I think there are better places to listen to it. Yoshi's Oakland for starters. But that is obviously just my opinion).

An example from my hometown of SF: Per Open Table, places where I can make a reservation for two right now (just after three pm) and dine tonight (a Saturday night), (in other words, I can do it all online relatively spontaneously without even the hassle of calling) include Kin Khao, The Fly Trap, Coi (not that it excites, me, but some people like it), Perbacco, Radish (highly rated on OT and I've never heard of it; is it any good?), Aziza, Piqueos...just to name a few of many. Couldn't get into La Ciccia tonight (although I suppose I might if I called, as I used to be a regular there when I lived in the City), but that's ok, making a reservation well in advance to get my La Ciccia fix is pretty much a given when I come back into town now that I live a few hours drive away...

So speaking of FOMO, what exactly is this thing I am missing out on by wanting to make a reservation?

Oct 18, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

I don't take it as a personal affront if the business chooses to follow a certain model. I just choose not to dine there if it interferes with how I like to dine.

I am not sure why someone would think that expressing my opinion on this forum means that I take something as a personal affront. I am not saying someone else is wrong for preferring not to make a reservation; I am trying to express what is right for me and why I don't 'get' the business model if it is justified on the grounds that customers prefer it. I am a customer, and I don't prefer it.

That said, I am not sure why anyone would call me 'old' or 'impatient' just because I express my opinion that when I get dressed up and am ready to go out on the town and spend good money (I mean, we aren't talking about take out places or lunch counters here, are we?) that I'd like to know a nice table is waiting for me without me waiting for it. Just my choice. Have fun at the place that follows a different model, if that is your choice.

Oct 18, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

one more comment on this thread: several of the posters on this thread have referred to the gap between those who like no reservations policies vs those who want a reservation as being an age related issue. It seems the young are more spontaneous than the old and therefore just like to go out on a whim, and if reservations are taken that somehow detracts from that spontaneity because apparently one can't go to a popular spot and just take one's chances if others have thought ahead and made a reservation (but I guess waiting in line if reservations aren't taken is part of the sport?)...

Two thoughts about that:

first, CH must be full of old fogeys like me, because there are a seemingly infinite number of posts on all the boards of towns and cities with great food (SF, NY, Paris, Tokyo, Portland just to name a few) asking the locals to critique their itineraries so they can line up their reservations well in advance!

second, yes, age probably plays a factor in a different way: at my age part of the misery of having to wait is that there often isn't a comfortable place to do so. At a small place the wait may be outside on the sidewalk, where my choices are to sit on the curb (not an option with my bad knees; unless the restaurant is willing to pull me up once I manage to sit down that low) or to stand around or in a line (possible, but still not completely comfortable). At a larger place, there may be an option to sit or stand at a bar...which may or may not have seating, but is often noisy and not somewhere I can converse easily. If I wanted to shout while having a beer or a drink, I'd go to a baseball game instead, but what I want generally is a quiet night out with my husband....

So yeah, maybe that makes me old. The comforting aspect of this generation gap is that someday all those posters that see it as a generation gap issue will be my age and older (one hopes they make it at least this far, since I am really not all that old...). I suspect they might view the issue differently then.

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

"We don't need to take reservations to fill our tables because we cook your meals to order, so we don't require an advance count of which foods to prepare. "

Not sure I understand this... I was thinking more of the *amounts* to order, not the 'which' part... so I guess you are saying that you always assume every table will be filled in doing your ordering....if they are, more power to you; otherwise I don't see how you wouldn't be wasting food (or freezing it, in which case how can you say it is all made fresh to order?)

I suppose if you do order too much food just to be sure you have enough it does some credence to your claim that is about customer service and not the bottom line.

OTOH, you must make a nice chunk on the bloody marys in the bar, whether you push them or not, and I have to admit, I still don't get how could all your tables be always filled all the time if you could seat 26 people even at 3 different tables? Perhaps the other folks who tried to come that day and had to wait longer than usual because of three large groups (26 divided by three still makes for big groups) weren't as happy as you think.

But that's ok, don't try to explain it to me. I do get this: while I do see breakfast as being different than dinner, I still think that if this is all about customer service, clearly you are catering to a different customer than me.

Even (or perhaps especially) at breakfast I am not going to wait more than ten minutes for a table even for good food.

Actually, the following classic (to me) CH post points out that customers are somewhat polarized about going out to breakfast. I'd bet that group of 26 included more than a few who weren't happy about the group's idea to go to a place without reservations even if it turned out ok in the end. Unlike jlafler, I do enjoy going out to breakfast now and then, but NOT with a group, and certainly NOT if I have to wait. I can make a pretty darn good huevos rancheros (my favorite breakfast) at home (better than I've found at any restaurant in my town despite its high Latino population and high number of Mexican restaurants per capita..) and I can enjoy them without a wait on my back patio, with 'my' hummingbirds for company...

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/678121

Oct 18, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

yes, I agree it is about table utilization. and particularly at a breakfast place, it may make a lot of sense. However, I am not sure how they can accurately measure potential customers who are turned off and don't show up because reservations aren't allowed (unless they are constantly jammed, and if they are constantly jammed, they perhaps are stretching the truth when they say they have seated a group of 26 without a reservation.....)

Besides, it seems a tad disingenuous to say that the reason to not have reservations is so that the poor customers who don't have a reservation don't have to look at an empty (reserved) table while they wait. What about the poor customer who knows in advance they want to dine and calls for a (nonexistent reservation)? How would good customer service dictate that you care about one and not the other?

As you say, it is about turning tables, which is all about bottom line, (and not about doing what the customers prefer).

Oct 15, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

"very few customers are unwilling/unable to wait the 15 to 30 minutes for a table."...

well, ok, but then they are your customers (who know they don't have a reservation when they show up. If they really cared about waiting, they'd have been much more likely to go somewhere that takes reservations in the first place. Have you ever tried to figure out how many *potential* customers you lose because they know (or learn the hard way) that you don't take reservations? How do you know they wouldn't fill those empty tables you imagine your customers would see as they wait?

OTOH, breakfast. yeah. In my experience people don't expect reservations as much at breakfast as at dinner (and usually the meal is quicker and thus turnover faster). People seem to be more willing to wait at breakfast (although I usually am not, although perhaps that is because I rarely find truly outstanding food at a breakfast place. )

Your system presumably works for you, (perhaps because your food really is memorable?) but nothing you've said tells me anything about whether or not reservations would or would not work equally well.

Only thing I am sure of is that i would NEVER even DREAM of going to a restaurant with a group as large as 26 without a reservation. Sounds like a potential nightmare in the making to me. Indeed, it would distract from my enjoyment of a meal just to see a large party like that seated without a reservation while I was dining: I'd be worried that the restaurant couldn't handle such a crowd and that my food and service would suffer (at least with a reservation they'd be expected and the place could adjust food supplies, staff and seating accordingly). Or unless you are such a huge place that a party of 26 wouldn't make a dent...but if saw 26 at breakfast without a reservation at a place I wanted to eat? shudder. I'd run quickly in the other direction. To each his own.

Oct 15, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

Near Convention Center Denver, a place a variety of tastes will love...

Los Chingones definitely would, I don't know their reservation policy but I believe they take them, and no idea how late they are open, but we were there about eight thirty-or so on a weeknight, IIRC. Sugarmill actually has food in addition to desserts (I think) and also is open fairly late. A dessert place, and a good one, more than a bakery. We were five and fit, not sure about ten (it is small). With Aussies in the crowd, Mexican food would definitely be a fit...

Oct 15, 2014
susancinsf in Mountain States

Near Convention Center Denver, a place a variety of tastes will love...

See my other two posts about Denver. Los Chingones isn't too far (but not really walking distance) and I'd consider it; most Mexican places are fairly good for gluten free but you'd have to check the menu.

The Kitchen, where I did eat and reported on in another thread, was excellent and a good bet for vegetarians but may be more upscale than you are looking for, but a friend ate at their affiliated more casual pub/restaurant, Next Door Union Station, and had very good things to stay. However, it isn't really close to the convenion center, although I think you can take the free tram that runs down 16th street and get most of the way there, check out their route.

I didn't see much in the immediate vicinity of the convention center that looked all that interesting (chain central), so I'd consider looking at options in the Larimer district/area (again, you can take the tram down 16th street to get to 16th and Larimer, that puts you in the middle of a number of places).

Oct 14, 2014
susancinsf in Mountain States

A "special" dinner in SFBA -- your thoughts much appreciated

I don't consider Firefly to be a 'special dinner type of place. More like a better than average neighborhood place, keeping in mind that the neighborhood (Noe Valley) isn't the greatest food 'hood in the City (though it does have some places that shine, including Bacco (granted, I haven't been there in a long, long time) around the corner from Firefly, and of course La Ciccia.

A "special" dinner in SFBA -- your thoughts much appreciated

I've enjoyed all the food and drink I've had at Zuni (even though I was prepared not to like it the first time I went, thanks to mixed reports from friends), and I've never had that chicken. (in perhaps four visits). Though I guess I should do something about that and order it sometime.

My favorite items on the menu are the oysters, salads, bloody mary, and the espresso granita, which is worth a visit just itself. Anyone who would call that particular dessert just 'ok' dislikes coffee (or else didn't taste it), imho.

Sugarmill, Denver

You are more than welcome. Please report when you go, to up the board traffic if nothing else...Los Chingones looked like the type of place that would get attention in San Francisco....

Oct 12, 2014
susancinsf in Mountain States

Sugarmill, Denver

As I mentioned in another post, I didn't do a lot of dining out on my recent trip to Denver, but a group of us did hit the Sugarmill fairly late one night, to celebrate a co-workers birthday with dessert and a drink. Sitting at the counter and watching the pastry chefs in action was truly a treat, as was my passionfruit cream cake. Definitely worth seeking out (and it was a bit tricky to find, even with the address in our GPS, mostly due to almost non-exsistent signage and troublesome parking).

By the way, I can't find any CH reports on Los Chingones next door, possibly (?) owned by the same folks (at least there is a connecting door and we got the impression they were related), but it was packed, the food we saw looked delicious (when we entered it by mistake and put our name on a list to wait for a table before we realized Sugarmill was on the other side of the wall) and my group (I was the only non-native speaker of Spanish among us) was drawn to it by the irreverance of the name. I regretted not getting back there to check it out. Any thoughts in case I make it back to Denver anytime soon?

Oct 12, 2014
susancinsf in Mountain States

Chef's Table or Private Room in Denver

Not sure how big your group is, but last week I was in Denver and was part of a work related group of nine that ate at The Kitchen on 16th near Larimer. They put us in an area that I would describe as a mezzanine between the main dining room and a back dining room, and it was also the area where the cooking line was located (although I didn't see any chairs to sit at a counter to watch the line). We were the only table in that room. It was almost ideal: not exactly a private room, but it was definitely seperated from other diners, and the entire table was able to converse, sometimes a bit loudly (thanks to a combo of a bit of alcohol and the fact that we were plotting how to take over our little corner of the work-a-day world :-))

The food was very good, particular the gougeres to start (not to be missed, IMO, yum!), my oysters (yes, in Denver, they were from BC but they were truly fresh and sweet), and the special, which was a whole grilled mackerel. I wasn't thrilled with the gelato I got for dessert (although those that got prepared desserts loved them), and the service was responsive if a bit slow for my taste (in fairness, this was not entirely their fault, our group straggled in, sort of a herding cats type of situation). They cheerfully and expertly split the bill into seperate checks. I'd go back for a group dinner in a heartbeat. The rest of the group commented that they thought it was an excellent choice as well (I often pick the restaurants for these types of groups but can't take the credit this time: one of my friends in the group got a tip from another colleague who is a Denver resident.)

Note that seafood was among the highlights: I didn't do a lot of eating out at Chow-worthy places in Denver (there was this small thing called the NLDS/baseball, and I ended up at Yard House brewpub a lot because it was just about the only place I could find downtown that actually showed those games, and game time and my free meal time happily converged.) Baseball season clearly is over in Denver. That said, based on what I saw while I was there: it really isn't a steakhouse type of town. Maybe it was at some point, but not any more, at least in my experience.

As for Yard House in Denver it is a chain (I've eaten at the one in Orange County, but the one in Denver is better), but their lamb burger and a local IPA, and excellent Bartender Cody made it worth a stop when the Giants (SF, we are talking baseball here) are on the screen...

Oct 12, 2014
susancinsf in Mountain States

Children in fine dining restaurants? Watch this video

I thought the African-American boy was a true CH: he was quieter than some of the others, but he seemed to get the concept, and he was critical and not afraid to express his own opinion. He called the caviar dish 'dry' but said that the ravioli was very good even though most of the others echoed the pronunciation of one girl that it looked like (and tasted like) 'soap', (my take was that the girl thought it looked like soap and then rejected it without really tasting, although I suppose it is possible the dish had cilantro and several of the kids had that cilantro-tastes-bad gene). Anyway, back to the African-American kid: he closely examined and I think sniffed the fish before eating, and when it came to the most popular savory course (the steak) he ate with his hands to be able to mop up the sauce with a piece of the meat! :-)....Not to mention that he was the one who clinked his glass to propose the first toast....

I also sort of enjoyed the fact that while the other blonde boy (the one with short hair) may not have enjoyed much of the meal, when he found something he did like (the madeleines) he dug in with enthusiasm, pronouncing them 'awesome' and taking perhaps more than his share.. :-)

Both children illustrate my definition of a CH: one who has an opinion about food and will express it, even if it differs from the norm at the table....

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

"the restauranteur has to ensure that guests are cared for at a much higher level...": which I suspect is precisely the issue in the situation I described above. The hostess lied to her boss (when she said we called her a bitch), perhaps because she was very stressed (could have been work reasons, personal reasons, or a combo) and yet, he felt he 'had to have her back'. Well sure. She was probably reasonably good at her job (most of the time) and he couldn't afford to lose her, given that this was in a small resort town and off season (I strongly suspect it isn't easy to find truly good servers in that environment). Instead: he lost six diners eager to spend lots on food and drink (at it was 7:30 pm, so that hardly seems like an off time), who happen to be six persons who would otherwise be back.

Of course, with entrees in the high twenties to low thirties, I wouldn't call the place I referred to in my post a 'low or mid-priced restaurant', even in a resort area. Indeed, I think that the no-reservations policy is particularly problematic at a higher end place: not what I expect in the way of customer service when one is dropping a significant chunk of cash: service should be very nice, and I would like the option to linger just a bit over dessert and coffee....

Oct 11, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food
1

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

This thread prompts me to relay a recent experience: we were in a small but very tourist oriented town that we visit perhaps every two years or so, with a group of six friends. Most of our eating was at our shared vacation rental, with each couple taking turns cooking. That served us very well, as we all love food, have some very good cooks in the group, and good ingredients (locally caught fish, decent produce, nice gelatos for dessert from a local gelato shop, etc. ) were available.

On our last night, however, we wanted to enjoy a nice evening out on the town's waterfront. There was a new (and thus hot, this is a very small town) restaurant that interested the six of us. I stopped in a day or two before to inquire about a reservation and was told they only take them for groups of 8 or more. However, the hostess assured me that if we called 45 or so minutes before we wanted to dine, they'd put us on the list, tell us how long the wait would be, (if any) and we could then walk over at our leisure to be seated when our name came up (the restaurant was at most a ten minute walk from our vacation rental). Since the evening in question was a weeknight and it was after prime tourist season (ie post labor day in a seaside town), this seemed like a reasoanable compromise.

So, day in question we did just that and made our call. Despite trying to leave our name just in case, we were assured by the young lady who answered the phone that at least a third of the restaurant was empty and that it wasn't necessary to leave a name, that we should just come 'whenever' and we'd be seated right away.

Ok, so we walk down there and discover that yes, about a third of the restaurant was indeed empty. However, the empty tables were either on the edge of the outdoor patio (one section of the patio had heat lamps but they weren't portable and they weren't anywhere near the empty tables) or inside. Oddly, the hostess informed us that (for some unknown reason I still don't understand) that they were only seating outdoors (and other than the few tables on the edge of the patio, all of the empty tables that would seat six were indoors). She offered to seat us at one of two tables outdoors, but again, in an area with no heat lamps at all. This was a problem for us because the temperatures were in the high fifties (in other words, it was too cool to be comfortable outside, especially since we didn't have sweaters or jackets and were not anticipating dining outside).

AND the wind was picking up. It was getting colder by the minute. The fog was coming in. We pointed out that it was too cold to eat outside and asked for one of the (at least five) empty indoor tables. We were told they couldn't seat us indoors, only outdoors (this part I still don't get, though I don't get much of what happened).

We pointed out that when we called and asked to have our name on the list and were told it wasn't necesary, that at no time was it ever mentioned that we'd need to dine outdoors (we could have at least brought sweaters if we'd known!). We pointed to an empty table for six in the corner of the dining room and asked if we could be seated there. The hostess told us that it wasn't possible. When I asked why not since the table was empty (remember, tbey won't take reservations for groups of six, so it wasn't reserved: it wouldn't seat more than six, and other than one party of two, we were the only party waiting for a table at that point), hostess responded by saying she would go in the back and check, but she was sure it would take at least twenty minutes to set up the table for us, and that she didn't think we could be seated indoors. Again, she told us that if we wanted to dine we really should sit outdoors. We responded: 'please go check, it really is too cold to eat outside'.

Hostess disappears, we wait, we never see her again. She went in the back and didn't come out. (and hadn't put our name down anywhere).

After about five minutes of waiting and no sign of hostess or any sign of movement on the part of wait staff to set up one of the empty tables for six inside we see someone else at the hostess stand, so we go to inquire as to the status of our seating.

Turns out it was the manager: he asked if our name was on the list (again, still only one or two small parties of two waiting for tables at this point), listened to me explain what had happened. Then said, 'oh I know you: you were the one who called my hostess ugly names.' Huh? Turns out, (he tells us) the hostess had gone into the back, burst into tears, and had told him that a party 'including a really scruffy guy with long hair' had been very rude and that one of the women in the party had called her a bitch, and that since he had concluded that was our party, he didn't have an indoor table for us.

I hope I don't have to explain to my sister and fellow Chowhounds that the 'b word' was never used....and of course the two guys in the group with long-ish hair who were described by the manager as 'scruffy' were dressed in the same resort wear that everyone wears in that town and that you can buy at every second shop on the waterfront....but when we protested that that there was a misunderstanding and that wasn't what happened, (my guess is that the hostess was overwhelmed and not having a good day to begin with, lost it, and then told a story that would explain her loosing it) he told us that 'XXX (hostess) was good at what she does and I have her back.' I had to ask three times, 'are you saying you won't seat us?' before he answered me with a yes (the first two times I asked that yes or no question he simply repeated the statement 'XXX is good at what she does and I have her back.'

Well, we had a very nice dinner with gracious service at the not-so-new-and-therefore-not-so-hot restaurant down the street, in a warm and cozy dining room. As for the new and (in theory only, actually it was cold :-)) hot place that wouldn't seat us: I predict that if we go back next year they will be taking reservations for groups smaller than eight. Not that I am ever inclined to go back. How this policy helped their bottom line is beyond me. When the policy is managed that poorly, it makes me wonder how much thought went into it in the first place.

Oct 11, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

Kapnos in DC - Report

Frankly, based on my one experience, it isn't the sort of place I'd ever pick for a big annivesary. You will be dining in very close proximity to others, and it will be quite noisy, (assuming it is still as popular as it was when I visited a year ago), regardless of the night of the week. IMO it is a place for groups or to dine alone at the counter to watch the kitchen activity, NOT a place for intimate, romantic reflection on and celebration of many years together.

That said, since I am not a DC resident and all of my (fairly frequent) dining experiences there are either for business with a group, or alone, I am probably not the best person to advise on alternatives. Of the places I've tried, Vidalia probably comes closest to the type of place I'd want for a big anniversary, but perhaps other hounds with more breadth of knowledge can also chime in.

Dim sum question- not a place but what to try

In addition to the comments you've received, the answer also depends on the place: some dim sum spots are known for certain types of items, so check the posts on places you are interested in: some do best with fried items, others with dumplings, etc. As for varity and different tastes: that is a big part of the point: IMO a good dim sum experience should have options for different palates including both sweet and savory. And most are inexpensive enough, with plates small enough, that if someone else wants to try chicken feet there is no reason not to get them for those that are interested.