I reserved a table for two at Char on 5/17/13 for 7:45. Char called me early Saturday afternoon to confirm. Arrived early to sit at the bar for a drink before dinner. The restaurant and bar was very hip and very trendy. I was greeted by three "Stepford Wives" disguised as hostesses. No smiles, no friendly hello. Hostess told me that someone would come for me in the bar when my table was ready. Got a seat at the bar fairly quickly. The drinks seemed watered down. At 7:55 I went back to the hostess area and inquired about my table. The hostess told me that they were running a little behind and that people were not getting up from their tables. I returned to the bar. At 8:15 I once again returned to the hostess area and got the same response. Returned to the bar which by this time had about 80 to 100 people standing in and around it. It appeared that no one was being seated. At 8:30 I went back to the hostess area and inquired once again about my reservation. I received the same uninterested, non-urgent, I really don't care that you have been waiting 45 minutes past your reservation time response. I advised the hostess that I was leaving and I thought their whole operation was unprofessional and not customer oriented. The hostess responded with "Ok." I've been to Morton’s, Ruth's Chris, Old Homestead, Keene's, Del Frisco, American Cut, Smith and Wollensky Capital Grille; all world class steakhouses that wrote the book on customer service. Char would be best advised to take a lesson. Won’t be going back.
For the past eight years my wife and I have traveled to Princeton on the first weekend in December to have dinner and kick off the Christmas season. For the past four years we have eaten at The Ferry House. The Ferry House had become one of our favorite restaurants. We have recommended it to almost everyone we know. This past Friday (12/2) we arrived at the restaurant at 7:55 for our 8 o'clock reservation. About a minute after we arrived another couple came into the restaurant and requested a table and advised the hostess that they did not have a reservation. The hostess advised us that our table would be ready shortly. The restaurant was busy, but not overly crowded. As we walked to our table I observed about four tables open. The hostess lead us to the back of the restaurant to a table that had been squeezed in between a wall and the back of another diners chair. Our table was about 5 feet away from the servers station, kitchen and bathrooms. The placement was awkward and uncomfortable. Before we took our coats off and sat down the hostess asked us if we wanted bottled water or tap water! At this point I knew that this was not going to be the dining experience that we had come to expect and looked forward to. As we sat down I observed the couple who had come in after us, without a reservation, being seated at a table for two in the middle of the restaurant; a prime table. A short time later our waiter came to the table and gave us the menu. He also asked us what kind of water we wanted. He opened our bottle of wine (BYO) and went to retrieve wine glasses. He came back with the wine glasses and told us about the specials. He left while we looked over the menu. I observed him attending to three other tables. While we waited about ten minutes for him to return and take our order, we were invaded by about five fruit flies flying around our bottle of wine and our wine glasses! When our waiter finally came back to take our order he asked us if we needed more time to look over the menu! We placed our order. My wife ordered a wild mushroom tart which was excellent. I ordered a smoked duck quesadilla which was flavorful, but lukewarm. My wife had the filet mignon which she enjoyed and I ordered a NY Strip which was a special. The Strip was the most disappointing cut of meat I have eaten in a very long time. The steak was nothing but grizzle and fat. A total DISAPPOINTMENT!! There are many great restaurants in Princeton. The Ferry House used to be one of them.