Downtown Aquarium Restaurant / Dangerous experience!
This experience was just bad from beginning to end. I am assistant organizer for a professional networking group, and we have dinner and brunch monthly at various venues in Denver. I have loved the Downtown Aquarium restaurant in the past because of its proximity to the giant tank, where you can gaze and daydream looking at all the cool fish, sharks, and yes even live scuba divers in the tank.
Well no more. The 'service' from wait staff there has become an absolute pathetic non-funny joke. TWICE now I have brought people there and been burned. This last time (Sunday evening), we had a group of about 12 people there and here are the horrors that 'Monster Breath MATTHEW' subjected us to:
1. Myself and a guest arrived at the table about 15 minutes later than everyone else. Mathew saw us arrive and came and went 2 or 3 more times without offering us anything to drink or greet us.
2. After finally taking our drink order (after I glared at him from across the room), Matthew took another 10 minutes to actually bring the drink tray, but then, alas, gratification denied, as he promptly walked away without handing them to us. (Oh yeah, he didn't bother to check my ID as the state requires him to for a liquor drink). 5 minutes later he comes by to finish the job, hands one of us a drink and walks off again. Sigh.
3. In the meantime, I realize the whole group is being made to wait about 45 minutes for any food, including the appetizer DESPITE the fact there are like 7 or 8 waiters and the place is half empty (bad sign, REALLY bad sign.)
4. He then brings the appetizer with no appetizer plates for the group of 12 people, then promptly leaves before we can ask for it. Another staff member comes up to check on things and makes some vague reference to a problem in the kitchen, and that it's 'not Matthew's fault' (whatever!). She brings the plates.
5. When the main entries come, Matthew got one order at the other side of the table completely wrong, and due to the long wait factor, the patron over there declines to have him bring the CORRECT dish.
6. Drinks on the table are consistently not refilled throughout the meal. Oh and the water I asked to Matthew for to accompany my meal - he never does bring it, so a friend grabs the water pitcher and glass off his serving tray and helps me out, lol.
7. While Matthew does manage to bring the separate checks correctly, we see that he has helped himself by including a MANDATORY 18 percent gratuity he DID NOT earn.
8. Oh yes, and top it all off, my friend got a whiff of Matthew's Bad Breath.
Okay now let me clarify a few things. This restaurant operation is a high-visibility stop, $20-30 entree item prices, waiters wearing ties, run by Landry's which is supposed to be a fine sea food dining organization. Therefore I think I'm quite safe in saying that Matthew's pathetic attempt at waitering is unacceptable to say the least, let alone charging us 18 per cent for his services.
I asked Matthew for the general manager's phone number at the end of the meal, and at first he -conveniently- said he was 'all out of pens' - yeah whatever, and the same helpful friend smiled demoniacally and handed Matthew the pen, lol. Then he stammered and said 'well, what will I write on?' And I helpfully suggested my receipt... Gee, no question about why I wanted this or soliciting if anything was wrong... sigh.
He writes out not his general manager's direct line, as asked, but the general phone number for the store (gee thanks) and 'Fred Tate'. I have left 'Fred' a VM and we'll see if he's really the GM or not... he better be if Matthew values his pathetic little retail half-life there...
This is the second time I have had a more-than pathetic dining experience there, the previous time almost a year ago with only 3 of us dining there, when I had to lay out the manager in front of our table (to the grins and applause from other disgusted patrons listening in admiringly). So much for giving people a second chance... no more.
WHY do some of these restaurants just insist on imploding when it comes to service, and maddeningly, one with such potential, high drawing power and visibility?!