Wow! This is certainly an interesting thread! There is no question that Splendido gets things correct the great majority of the time, so it does surprise me to see such a negative review. However, the one thing that makes no sense is the repeated use of the term 'trendy'. Does anyone else view Splendido as 'trendy'? I think of it more as the place I would take my mother-in-law, if she were to visit me. Or, anyone else that I felt required the evening to flow smoothly. Perhaps if I was entertaining Hugh Johnson. The food is great, the wine list is very interesting and I'm not sure that I've ever noticed a mistake in the service.
Sorry for the delay, Maximilien. A 'Chef de Rang' (or Captain) is a waiter, but one that stays in his section - ensuring that service is flowing correctly at all times and all of his guests are enjoying the experience. The key is that a new staff member aspiring to reach this senior level must first work through two levels of support staff positions and prove his understanding of the menu, the guests and the service systems. This way, if you have a question about the evening or food, the Chef de Rang/Captain will almost always be able to answer it (without any BS). Also, it really limits the chance of mistakes being made or something important to you being missed(like a food allergy or time constraint or special payment arrangements).
Personally, I much prefer to be served by 'specialists' who know their product and how it relates to my evening.
Thank you for your candid comment, JamieK. I believe the lack of education and structured certification is at the core of all the problems discussed here. With a hard earned professional certification comes more pride in your work and a higher level of service all around. It may break that ugly cycle of inexperienced staff being taken in with the promise of training - no training of any substance given - abuse from management for mistakes due to lack of training - and, ultimately, a lousy guest experience from a server that no longer cares.
I have consistently read on this site and heard in conversations with frequent diners that the service in Toronto is deplorable. I can not understand - why does everyone think it is so bad?
On the other hand, speaking to serious industry professionals, I am told that the dining culture in Toronto would never tolerate the structured service that is utilized in all ambitious restaurant in Europe and everywhere else I've witnessed. This service that involves: -a host/Maitre d' to greet you, seat you and offer aperitifs -then, a captain/chef de rang to take your food order and guide you through the evening -then, a sommelier to look after your wine -then, support staff to prep your table and bring your food You could add to this a specialist for your cheese, dessert, and coffee/tea, but that is flexible. Seems quite simple but, by all accounts, far too removed from the 'one waiter as your service friend' concept.
I don't actually understand either side of this arguement. Can someone please enlighten me?