‘Restaurant Reviews’

Restaurant failures don’t need to happen

KOYA’S (My First)

55 DEGREES (The longest)  prediction

33rd St. BISTRO on K St.  (Too small, bad restaurant design)

SPIN BURGER (That’s What you call a Burger)

MELTING POT (Roseville)

SWEET WATER

CORNER BAR (Not long enough to remember)

CLARK’S CORNER (?????No ideal yet!)

CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN (Downtown) (wrong type of restaurant at that location)

CALIFORNIA CAFE (This one was a long one)

TABLE 260 (???)  (Talked to the owner he not have clue)

FOG MOUNTAIN (Nothing different about the menu, just like everyone else’s)

These are some of the Restaurant I have predicted would fail in a predicted period of time.

Who couldn’t tell that these and many other restaurants would not fail.  If not, I did, I saw things in the operation to show future signs of failure.  I have met and and talked to some of these owners, and offered to help, but like many Restaurant Owners and Managements  they refuse the offer.  I have found that most restauranteurs are afraid of a few things. One, They don’t have the knowledge to open a restaurant. Two, That they don’t want anyone to know their problems or what’s happening in the restaurant. Three, They refuse to ask for help. Four, They hired the wrong people  (untrained or think they are professional waiter or other positions) and are afraid to fire them. Five, they don’t understanding the meaning of hospitality. “Do they have the right person or a person right now” that’s what they should be asking themselves

YOU’VE GOTTA TO BE KIDDING!

Is BIBA’S expensive and overrated ?

PUTAH CREEK CAFE: 3 Star or country cafe it’s still the same

PUTAH CREEK CAFE

#1 Main Street

Winters, California  95694

530 795 2682

www.putahcreekcafe.com

Mon-Fri 6:00- 2:30

Sat-Sun 6:00-3:00

Thurs-Sat 5:00-9:00

19 % Tip

Winters is a small farming community, west of Davis. You would expect a home-style reception at the restaurant and that’s what customers get. I also experienced attentiveness, care, listening, and remembering the customer wants and needs by the waitresses, bussers, and hostesses. This restaurant puts out good breakfasts, wonderful service, and is highly recommended. Putah Creek Cafe also serves lunch and dinner, which I still want to try.

Riverside Clubhouse, some training,would help

Riverside Clubhouse

2633 Riverside Blvd.

916-448-9988

Lunch and Dinner

Monday through Fridays

10% tip

I believe service is just as important as food to the success of a restaurant. ( According to “Five Star Service,” a hospitality-management guide, renowned chefs Danny Myers, a 2005 James Beard Foundation  awardee;  Joyce Goldstein, a Bay Area restauranteur; and Wolfgang Puck put more stock into service and food.)  Thus, the tip rating in this review, as with my earlier reviews, is based on service I received during my two visits to the restaurant, not on quality of the food.  Readers can assume that all of the restaurants I review served top-quality food.

Through the decor — especially the design of the curving bar —  and the ambience at Riverside Clubhouse are chic and urbane, the service is embarrassing. The servers lack the etiquette, style and training necessary for serving business clientele.

The day before my lunch engagement, I made a reservations for two. The table was next to the bussing station, so my guess and I were more tuned-in to the clanking of glasses and silverware than we were two business conversation. To add insult to injury, more–desirable tables remained available throughout our meal. For dinner, we arrived without a reservation, and the hostess gave us a more pleasant table.

Waterboy, Where good things can happen

The Waterboy

2000 Capitol Ave.

916-498-9891

Lunch and Dinner

Tuesday through Friday

13% Tip

Chef Rick Mahan at The Waterboy Restaurant in midtown Sacramento creates some of the most innovative and good tasting-dishes in Sacramento area. Unfortunately, the service does not  due justice to his creativity.

My impressions is that a good portion of the service staff is loyal to Rick and has been with the restaurant since its opening. They seem too comfortable in their surroundings and have picked up some sloppy habits. I observed a busser putting his fingers into clean glassware as he was setting the table. And just after I was seated for recent lunch, a busser pour water out of the side of the pitcher and placed the glass down with such force that a good amount of water splashed onto the table. My guest were startled, and I had to mop up the mess with my napkin. In addition, the  condensation from the pitcher dripped onto my lap. After my second shower for the day, my guess and I proceeded to enjoy lunch. However, as our  water glasses emptied, we were afraid to ask for more risk a third shower.

If clothes makes the man, what do shorts do!

Il  Fornaio

400 Capitol Mall

916-446-4100

lunch and dinner

Monday to Friday

dinners only, Saturday & Sunday

10%  Tip Lunch

15%  Tip Dinner

Il Fornaio can take you to in elegant Mediterranean fantasy world for your quick coffee breaks with its majestic high ceilings, beautiful cherry-stained booths and marble floors. However my fantasy was brought to a harsh reality when I saw employees dressed in tattered shirts and shorts setting the tables for the upcoming lunch service. Although the restaurant does not officially open until lunchtime, the preparation is visible to customers grabbing their coffee from the panetteria. The reputation of this restaurant as a haven for business clientele would be reinforced if the employees showed their pride by always being dressed for service when they are in dining room.

Il Fornaio is unpredictable and somewhat lax. Woe to the patrons who see their servers sitting down chanting with a regular customer and ignoring her other tables. During a recent lunch my guest and I were victims of such a waitress, who gave us the impression she did not care about her tip. She took our order delivered the food, but showed no interest in taking extra steps to make sure our lunch was pleasant experience.

Rio City Café, Mistakes that are made when you’re not trained

Rio City Café

1110 Front St.

916-442-8226

riocitycafé.com

lunch and dinner

Monday thru Friday

7% Tip (Lunch)

14% Tip (Dinner)

As a business host during my two recent  visits to Rio City Café, I was embarrassed for my female guests. Most of the service staff did not know the fundamentals of good service. They generally approached the men first, whether it was to ask for and deliver beverages from the bar or to serve entrées  an other courses.  Although time has changed for the roles of men and women, as for as I know, and rules of etiquette have not changed –women get served first.

At lunch, I felt as if I was at a greasy spoon. The hostess greeted us in front of the restaurant, methodically led us to the table, flopped the menus down, turn away and left. She did not wait for us to sit and we felt rushed, as if the table would be needed in a few minutes. The hostess set our party of two at a table set for four which we appreciated. However, she did not remove the extra place settings, nor did anyone else.

Chops, Training its what its all about.

Chops

1117  11th St.

916-447-8900

lunch and dinner

Monday through Friday

15%  Tip

Everyone knows a bad table when they see it.  A trained host/hostess  would seat customers there only if no other tables were available, and then would apologize and assign the best waiter to those customers. We were surprised that, on Friday evening a hostess at Chops tried to pawn onto us a small table adjacent to the kitchen door, especially since we had reservations. We were accommodated after promptly asking to be moved and were slightly amused when we saw several other parties of two also declined that table.

Our dinner waiter tried hard to mitigate the unfortunate beginning, but the service was awkward at times. He recited the specials as if trying to memorize the text from a  hymnal.  We did prefer hearing about, rather than reading, the dinner selections, since the menu were dirty and stained. Although the pace of the service was appropriate for dinner  hour,  condiments were slow to arrive, often being placed on the table halfway through the course.

Bistro 33 Midtown, The difference between good training and bad training

Bistro 33 Midtown

1020 16th St.

916-233-3633

bistro 33.com

lunch and dinner

Monday through Friday

13% Tip

It is interesting that there are difference  interpretation of good service among the professionals in the restaurant and hospitality industry in Northern California. After meeting and being associated with restaurant owners and managers, I have found that often, but not always my idea of good service is very different from theirs.

I know, through experience, that many owners and managers think that training dining room staff means teaching servers about the product used in the kitchen, the menu  items, and the restaurant computer system. Many do not take the time to ensure their staff also practice the basics skill of being good waiters and waitresses. These skills include taking a genuine wine interest in the restaurant of basic etiquette, and  “reading” the customer to ensure these  service provided is the service the customer expects or requires.

Based on my experience at 33 bistro Midtown, I have found it could be a fine destinations for a quick and generally tasty meal and a trendy and attractive environment. However, if you and your guest (s) care for attentive and informative service, you may be disappointed.

Charlie Trotter’s What your Restaurant should strive For!

Charlie Trotter’s

816 West Armitage Ave.

Chicago, Ill

773-248-6228

charlietrotter.com

Dinner only

Tue thru Sat

+20% Tip

How food is brought from the kitchen is just as important as the food brought to the dinning room.  As stated in the Edmund Lawler book “Lessons in Service from Charlie Trotter,” Charlie Trotter’s is built on four fundamental pillars: food, wine, ambience and service.  The chef professes that even the mostexquisite food can’t make up for lackluster service.

That’s why I was excited when my business afforded me a recent trip to Chicago to experience the service and see if the restaurant lives up to its reputation of providing the ultimate dining experience.  I made reservations for dinner two months in advance and was fortunate ti get an evening in the kitchen.  My guests and I were greeted by the valet, who led us up the steps to front door.  In the foyer, several staff members extended their welcome, addressed each of us as sir or madam, took our coats and escorted us to the kitchen table.  We entered chef Trotter’s house and knew we were special guests for the evening.