Jack's Bistro Complaint - Retro Feel, Good Food, and Poor General Manager

Review by tjsaprilia on 2010-01-31
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND -- I went to Jack's tonight for the first time. We (party of 2) arrived early (5:30) trying to beat the crowd that we were told would surely be there for dinner. Food was Great, see notes after my brief rant.

First impressions are very important and ours was less than good. From all the reading I have done on this restaurant we have heard that the best seats in the house were the booths in the bar area, so that it was we requested before being told the pretentious and assuming general manager [snip - no names please] that she would not seat us in the booths because we were only a party of 2, it was restaurant week, and important customers might be coming in. POOR FORM: If you don't want to give a table come up with a better excuse then MIGHT. When we left 2 of the 3 filled booths had, you guessed it, parties of 2! "Oh, I guess I could have given you a booth, sorry" she said on our way out.

Enough of the rant. The food was excellent! I had the Garlic Shrimp and a Caesar and my +1 had a stake. The waitress made a Great recommendation on the wine and all in all it was a great meal. If you do go here, and you should, you must ask for Becky to wait on you as she is fabulous. And you MUST have one of the coveted Booths, don't take any excuses!
Comments:8 Replies - Latest reply on 2010-02-03
Posted by Skye on 2010-01-31:
Great review. Glad you had good food, good company and a good time, even if it wasn't in one the, "coveted" booths. I like that.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-31:
Why does where you sit have anything to do with the service or the food? is that booth going to make that steak taste better?
Posted by Ytropious on 2010-01-31:
True that, also how do you know they were parties of 2? Maybe they were waiting for others to show up or somewhere at the bar or bathroom? If the place was busy they'd have to be crazy to give a large person table to 2 people.
Posted by Starlord on 2010-02-01:
It is common in the industry to reserve booths for parties of four or more, especially on nights they expect large crowds. I am happy the food and service were to your liking, but I must disagree on your contention that you should take up a booth.
Posted by tjsaprilia on 2010-02-02:
First let me touch on each of your questions:

Why does where you sit have anything to do with the service or food?
It does not. Where you sit and the reception you receive on the way into a fine dining establishment has a lot to do with the whole dining experience. If you have a good seat you WILL have a different experience then if you are stuck in a corner. I am not a typical foodie, I am one that must have nice atmostphear as well as good food.

How did I know they were parties of 2?
From where I was sitting I saw them seated and serviced. They were not waiting for anyone and there was no one in the rest room. Additionally the comment by the GM as we were leaving would have put any doubt to rest.

What the place busy?
As I said in my review, we arrived at 5:30, 30 min after they opened, and there were only 4 people in the entire place.

As for industry practices, I have been in the "industry" as a reviewer, patron, and consultant for years. I am familiar with the reasons that a GM would not want to give a 4 top to a party of 2, however the way it was executed showed a general lack of experience and tact. This GM needs to work hard, maybe even roll playing, to come up with a presentation that does not harm the patron's first impression of the restaurant. I know other reviewers that would have turn and walked out not even giving the food a chance to shine.

I was very clear that the Food was excellent and the Service Staff (Becky) was wonderful.

When dinning one must enjoy the entire experience. And when you are spending well over $100 for a meal everything better be perfect. If it is not you are better off going to the local dinner that offers a Wonderful Meal at $20 for a party of two with NO atmosphere and an expectation of poor service.
Posted by Slimjim on 2010-02-02:
Poster makes a good follow up and I believe he/she has a point. They could have given them a booth, just like they did to LATER 2 party arrivals. I don't know what makes these 3 booths so special, but the patron did request one and let's be honest, these 3 booths couldn't possibly be the only 4 seat tables in the joint. The risk of running out by the time the poster was finish was practically nil at that time of day.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-02-02:
If the booths were for 'important' guests, then how does the OP know that the ones sitting there were not the important guests?
Posted by tjsaprilia on 2010-02-03:
LadyScot, If they were Important Guests, the GM would not have made the final comment as we were leaving. As I wrote in the original post "Oh, I guess I could have given you a booth, sorry". If they were Important Guests, then she would not have made this comment as she would have felt that her decision was just.

Your Name:
(displayed with your comment)
Your E-mail:

Your Experience/Advice:
Check spelling

By clicking submit you agree that you have read and accept the Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.

Note: All comments are reviewed by a moderator before being published. Please be sure to read our guidelines before commenting.