Normally I’m pretty sanguine about my restaurant experiences. If they’re good, they’re good but I’m not gushy. If they’re lousy, I gripe a bit with Jodi. Today I’m going one step further and blogging my thoughts, since it was just so unexpected.
Let’s start with the good: They sent us a $20 gift certificate as an enticement to come in. They probably dropped them from the sky as an advertisement, so it wasn’t a personal invitation, per se. I forget when or how we got it.. In any case, a $20 headstart on a nice dinner is always appreciated. Even though the place is not so far from our house (about 2 miles, maybe), we’d never been there before and having the GC was a key factor in our deciding to try it last night. Score for the Bluwater marketing folks.
The location was great, right down on Lake Washington in Leschi. We got a window table with a great view of the water, Bellevue on the other side of the lake, and mountains behind. Yesterday the weather was spectacular (at least into the upper 70s, I’m told by Jodi it may even have been into the mid 80s! — and sunny and gorgeous).
Even the food was great. Great selection on the menu, and what we ordered in the end was wonderful.
So, why the blog post that is very clearly going to skew negative? Because we were very disappointed with the experience. Because it was *SOOOOO Slow* and we consistently felt like we were being ignored.
We arrived for our reservation at 6:30pm and didn’t get done until 9:30+ pm! Seriously. And all we had were bread/salads, entrees, and dessert. Nothing special. Just after each course, we sat waiting at our table for 20+ minutes for the waitress to notice and come back to clear our dishes and move us to the next stage. I’m not quite sure what it was about our table or our meal, but we watched as other patrons came and left — for instance, the table right next to us (also our waitress) turned over twice starting after we arrived and ending before we finished. More than twice as fast, and both parties seemed to have eaten full meals from my vantage point. It made even LESS sense for our waitress to continue to be so slow as the restaurant cleared out (we were there early, and we were among the last out).
We weren’t in a significant hurry, thank goodness (no specific plans after dinner), so we kept ourselves occupied by talking as we waited and tried not to let the delay bother us too much. But eventually it just got to be too much.
Sounds pretty tame, right? Why even write the blog post, Evan…? Well, let me give you a specific example of how the service went last night that should strike you as pretty awful.
Timeline – we’ve just finished our dinner. Probably it’s about 8:00 by this time (90 minutes to order and eat). We wait about 15 minutes before our waitress comes by and delivers the dessert menu. It’s about 10 minutes before she comes back to take our dessert order. Another 10 minutes before it arrives. Perhaps 15 minutes to eat it. Then it gets fun. We’re now done with the dessert, very obviously. By this point we’re both so tired that I’m beginning to slump in my seat, tired and impatient with the slow service and just waiting for the bill.
So our waitress speeds by in a rush to somewhere and, in passing, asks “If (I) was tired“? To which I replied, dryly, “Very“. No reaction, and she sped on. We didn’t see her for another 15-20 minutes. And only then because I finally got up and asked another staff member if we were ever going to get our check. Seems like the waitress, or someone else on staff should have been more attentive to our timing and our progress!
So, in conclusion, let me say that the Bluwater Bistro in Leschi was really great. On paper. The gift certificate, the location, the menu. All great. But the service, at least for us and at least last night, was abysmal. Before the dinner started, I was pretty sure we’d go again since it was so great (location, menu). But after the dinner, I’m not at all sure we’ll be back, Which is a shame, after all the great work the marketing folks did to get us in the door.