The OpenTable Blog

You Got (Dis)Served: 7 Signs You’re Receiving Bad Restaurant Service #hackdining

Signs you're receiving bad restaurant service

Alton Brown once said, “Good service can save a bad meal, but there is no level of food that can save bad service.” Oftentimes the errors can be glaring, but sometimes the slights to the guest are more subtle. So what are the signs you’re receiving bad restaurant service?

To find out, we spoke to front-of-house all-star William Washington. A managing partner at Farmers Fishers Bakers in Washington, D.C., he’s a veteran of The Source by Wolfgang Puck, Blue Duck Tavern, and the Inn at Little Washington. He clued us into seven common service slip-ups that can turn what should have been a great meal into an unforgettable disaster.

You’re not seated at the time of your reservation.

“After five minutes of waiting for your table, it’s okay to check in with the host to make sure you’re on their radar, but this doesn’t mean you should be complaining. If they’re 15 minutes behind schedule, it’s more than reasonable to ask for a manager. They should do something for you at that point – at the very least an apology, but maybe a drink, too. At 30 minutes you have a right to be infuriated and the restaurant should definitely do something for you.”

A staff member doesn’t acknowledge you when you’re seated.

“Someone should greet you within two to three minutes of you arriving at your table. Within five minutes, you should have a server getting your drink order and addressing any issues with the table or the experience. You don’t have the right to ask them to change the music necessarily, but if it’s a hot summer night and you’re sweating, you can ask them to check to see if air conditioning is working.”

You don’t have a drink in hand within 10 minutes.

“And it should only take that long for craft cocktails. Also, the sommelier should visit the table while you still have the wine list open – not after you’ve ordered.”

You’re not noshing on appetizers within 15 minutes.

“Unless it’s something convoluted. In that case, a server should tell you up front, ‘The shrimp soufflé takes extra time, so please be aware.’ If you only order mains, they should be to you within 20 minutes.”Continue Reading

Produce Playoff 2016 for No Kid Hungry: That’s a Wrap!

Produce Playoff 2016 for No Kid Hungry

This week, the culinary creatives at Betony partnered wth No Kid Hungry to hold the third annual Produce Playoff. After “drafting” their ingredients at the Union Square Greenmarket, some of the world’s finest chefs and beverage experts, including event founders Bryce Shuman and Eamon Rockey (Betony), Bo Bech (Geist), Daniel Burns (Luksus), Flynn McGarry (Eureka), Danielle-Innes (Cosme), Mina Pizzaro (Betony), Leo Robitshcek (The NoMad), Caleb Ganzer (Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels), and Dean Fuerth (Betony), gathered to craft dishes and drinks that showcased their picks in the most delicious ways. More than $75,000 was raised over the course of the evening.

If you missed it, photographer Simon Lewis was on hand to document the prep, the fun, the food, and the spirits. Check out the slideshow below.

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Dining Room, Oyster Bar + Institution: Inside Shaw’s Crab House

Dining Room, Oyster Bar & Institution: Inside Shaw's Crab House

“Either you’re an oyster bar guest or a dining room guest,” says John Gurgone, General Manager at Shaw’s Crab House.

Shaw’s is the 31-year-old Chicago institution known for its simply steamed seafood, and as John points out, the restaurant offers two distinctive but equally iconic experiences. On one hand, there’s the dining room: 330 seats, white tablecloths, 17 servers at a given time, reservations strongly recommended. This is where tourists come in after architectural tours and where locals gather for business lunches or to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries.

The oyster bar is a separate room entirely, with around 95 seats available exclusively for walk-ins — a mix of bar seats, high-tops, and casual wood tables. Oysters, predictably, are the main event: the centerpiece of the room is an oyster shucking station, where at any given time 12 varieties are served (six East Coast, six West Coast).

Otherwise, the menus are largely the same, but it’s the vibrant atmosphere that sets it apart: a live band plays jazz and blues music every Sunday through Thursday. Here’s how the two spaces work together. Continue Reading

Oil Have What He’s Drinking: 10 Stunning Oil-Accented Cocktails

There’s an age-old scientific truism that oil and water don’t mix. The same is true of oil and liquor. But that hasn’t stopped crafty bartenders from figuring out creative ways to incorporate a colorful cornucopia of oils into their cocktails. From fat-washing liquors to flambéing citrus rinds and beyond, here are 10 stunning oil-accented cocktails.

The Blanchard, Chicago, Illinois
This is not your same-old-same-old Old Fashioned. Head barman Arunas Bruzas mixes Old Forester Special Reserve Bourbon, vanilla and lavender fume, and aromatic bitters. To complete the creation, he fires up an orange peel. This releases the rind’s zesty oils while reinforcing the bourbon’s smoky elements. Make a reservation at The Blanchard.

Oil-Accented Cocktails

Mourad, San Francisco, California
The Umami + Mint had us at umami (no offense, mint). White tequila is shaken with lemon juice, agave, ‘cumber rounds, mint leaves, and a touch of toasted sesame oil to add the “fifth taste.” It’s served in a double rocks glass with a bewitching ribbon of cucumber that’s sure to inspire you to shoot an Instagram before you take a sip. Make a reservation at Mourad.

Oil-Accented Cocktails

Tarallucci e Vino, New York, New York
The Caprese salad, now in cocktail form – minus the mozzarella. Head bartender Akram Bouchette muddles together cherry tomatoes, basil, simple syrup, and lemon juice before adding olive oil and grappa. Shaken with ice and strained, the pinkish potable comes garnished with cherry tomatoes and viridian basil leaves. Make a reservation at Tarallucci e Vino.

Oil-Accented Cocktails

Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago, Illinois
Beverage director Julian Cox gives a tiki twisted nod to the cult film Friday with his Aloha Felicia cocktail. It changes seasonally, but currently features rum, coconut cream, pineapple, lime, Thai basil, and lemongrass essential oil. The results mash together the sensibilities of the West Indies and the Far East. Make a reservation at Three Dots and a Dash.

Oil-Accented Cocktails

Il Porcellino, Chicago, Illinois
Screech would surely approve. The Saved by the Basil is a complex cocktail sporting Manzanilla fino sherry, lemon juice, Dimmi (an Italian aperitif infused with licorice, rhubarb, vanilla, ginseng, and more), strawberry, dehydrated orange, and a house-made cordial enriched with basil essential oil. Make a reservation at Il Porcellino.

Oil-Accented CocktailsContinue Reading