Sambuca Dallas Uptown / Stay away
On Saturday, April 2, 2011, husband and I spruced up to attend a friend’s birthday party dinner at Sambuca's restaurant. When we arrived, my friend and some other guests had begun gathering inside the restaurants entrance. He advised us there would probably be an extensive wait as they were unable to locate the reservation request he confirmed a week prior. That should have been our cue to egress the havoc that lie ahead. After what seemed like an hour, twelve of my friend’s guests, including my husband and I, were seated leaving the other nine attendees lingering up front. Upon taking our seats, several of us noticed the table adjacent to ours was empty and large enough to accommodate the other guests. We encouraged my friend to inquire with the hostess if the remaining guest could be seated there. Moments later my friend returned accompanied by a tall women sporting a long ponytail, arrogantly trotting in front of him (I later learned she was Jayme Spurgeon, the restaurants general manager). She began counting the empty seats and mumbled to my friend that she wasn’t at liberty to seat the remaining guest alongside our table as she still had not located his reservation (He initially informed her that he phoned Sambuca’s a week prior and spoke with an employee by the name of Andrea who took his credit card information and secured his party’s reservations). “Did you speak with Andrea”, he asked as she ogled him with a repulsion that consternated those observing their conversation. Reluctantly, she permitted the hostess to seat the remaining party. Little did we know, my friend’s festive occasion would be short lived. Immediately after the second half of our party was seated, the waiter took our drink request and returned shortly to acquire the request for appetizers. After analyzing their extensive selection of appetizers, the waiter suggested the Seafood Martini, I agreed to try it. Once our appetizers were served the waiter obtained each person’s meal request. After sampling the Seafood Martini, I explained to the waiter that the taste differed from what he described and reluctantly requested to return it, he agreed to comp it from our bill. Soon after, our dinner was served. Once everyone had finished eating, the hostess brought a birthday cake to the table. My friend’s mother lit the candles as his guest’s song happy birthday. During conversation with the other guests, I learned that Sambuca’s charged a whooping $35 to deliver the outside cake to the table. To make matters worse, their staff didn’t trouble themselves with offering to light the cake or gather around to join along in chanting happy birthday. Wow! Without regard to have requested our bill, the waiter presented our table with a bill that combined the entire group’s charges on one receipt. My friend stated that the bill would need to be separated by person(s). This was the onset of the most humiliating and debasing dining experiences one could ever fathom. The waiter brought our attention to the fine print on the menu that stated; $3 entrée split fee. We do not split checks on parties of 8 or more. 18% gratuity added for parties of 8 or more. My friend patiently explained to the waiter that he was not made aware of this when he phoned in the reservation and based on the extensive wait (fifty eight minutes to be exact) for seating felt his party, he felt the restaurant should at least accommodate his guests splitting the bill into four parts. The waiter reluctantly approached the fire breathing GM and we watched afar as he explained the details of our request and she nods her head in disagreement. Storming to our table, Jayme loudly stated, “As my waiter has advised, we do not separate checks for large parties! If you can not work out something amongst yourselves then I am willing to permit one person within your group to leave the restaurant to locate an ATM.” At that moment, I felt as though I was back in third grade adhering to my teacher using an amplifier to instruct her students on putting away their lunch trays and to correctly form a line to return to class. This was unbelievable. Was separating our bill that hard? I didn’t personally know half the people in our group and definitely didn’t want to be slammed with paying anyone’s bill outside my husband and myself. A couple of people out of our group decided to approach Jayme in efforts to privately resolve the matter. They returned to inform us that she was not willing to split the bill and irately advised the mediators that she was phoning the police to let them handle it! WTH! Where was all of this coming from? A woman who sat adjacent from our table took notice of all the commotion and approached our table to brief us their party included approximately twelve guest and the restaurant gave no pushback when requested to split their checks. I could not believe what I was hearing. What had we done to make Jayme so angry? A gentleman who ID himself as Cesar Levano seemed to have observed all the hurly-burly and came over and explained that although he sympathized with us, he could not over ride Jayme as she was in charge that night. Come on dude, stand up for what’s right here. Assured the police would rectify the matter, a couple of us waited outside for them to arrive. Once on scene they initially spoke with Jayme and then took our story. Once we explained to the police officer that there our party consists of 21 people most of which were in pairs and all we wanted was separate checks. The officer then pulled Jayme aside. His attempts to convenience her to simply separate our bill and send us on our way were unsuccessful. The officer recommended that we seize the opportunity to send someone to the ATM, gave my friend his card and left. Once back in the restaurant, my friend’s mother in law had already proceeded to pay the almost $600 tab! Upon analyzing the invoice we noticed the waiter did not remove the $10.50 Seafood Martini I returned and erroneously charged for 2 additional $10 cocktails! Unbelievable! My husband and I collectively consumed a total of $92 in food and drinks that was mediocre at its best. We despised not only having to part with that much money for a restaurant that only thought so little of their customers but presented such an atrocious dining experience and substandard food headed by a very aloof and snobbish general manager. In this economy, dining out is truly a luxury, a privilege denied to many. I refuse to patronize an establishment as Sambuca’s. Perhaps the owners of Sambuca’s restaurant should consider enrolling Jayme the GM in the University of Pappadeaux. Those folks have both customer service and gratifying food down to a science. That probably won’t happen since all the Pappa’s management staff hold degrees.