You all know I rarely post negative reviews. Actually, have I EVER posted a negative review? I figure most of the time if you don’t have something nice to say don’t say anything at all. I figure the best bad review is to not offer repeat business. If someone asks me about a place I don’t like, I will be honest, but I have never really felt inclined to put a place on blast in a bad review.
However, I guess there is a first time for everything, and this place, well something needed to be said. My grandma’s birthday was a couple weeks ago, and this is where she wanted to go. A reservation was made in advance and they assured us a table would be available to us. We arrived on time, and things IMMEDIATELY went downhill, leading to this tweet.
We were led to our table, only to find it was a tiny folding table and folding chairs!!! I looked at my uncle and he looked at me, and I knew IMMEDIATELY that we were thinking the same thing, and that was “What the fuck?” It’s not that the whole restaurant was filled with tables and chairs like this. Actually, the restaurant had some lovely looking, much larger tables, with lazy susans, and some really nice comfortable looking black laquered chairs. I asked the hostess why we were being seated at this table, and she said because it was so busy, they had given our table away and now this was all that was available. I was floored! What is the point of making a reservation if you aren’t going to hold our table?! Isn’t that what a reservation is?! I mean I would have understood had we been late, but we were ON TIME! EARLY even!! Any other time, I would have immediately turned around and walked out, but it was my grandma’s birthday, and she wanted to stay.
We squeezed ourself into this miniscule table – keep in mind there are 6 of us, and it only got worse from there. Our server never greeted us, not even a stop by to say he was really busy, but would get to us, nothing. When he finally showed up 10 minutes after we were sitting, he just asked us if we were ready to order. I wasn’t even sure how all the food was going to fit on our tiny table since Chinese food is almost always served family style. We ordered and of course after a lengthy wait the food came out one plate at a time, because really, nothing else would have fit on this table. My aunt was thirsty so she asked for a glass of water from our server. He said okay and then never came back! The hostess came by 10 minutes later and said our water was coming. HUH?! I’m sorry, I say this as a former restaurant employee, but someone asks for water and you GET IT. It’s not like she was asking for mixed drinks from a busy bar, or something they had to get special. WATER! Were they were fusing the hydrogen and oxygen molecules on site? I mean really.
Finally a busser shows up with a round of water for the table, and my aunt discovers a fly in my uncle’s glass, and tries to take it from him before he drinks it. Now, I dont know if that was in there before they brought it, or if it flew in at the table, but when we called someone over to replace it, they should have done so right away. Again, no one ever came back with a fresh glass for him! Finally my grandmother calls the attention of the manager and he comes over and we tell him we are still waiting on a replacement water for my uncle and it’s been a good 15 minutes and no one will pay attention to us. And he gets angry….with US! He is practically yelling at us, that we HAVE to be patient because they are very busy tonight. WHAT?! At that point I snapped. I told him, NO, we do NOT have to be patient because you are understaffed and overbooked. If you can’t handle this many people, you shouldn’t have filled the tables. It’s not OUR responsibility to be patient, it’s your job to smoothly handle the business. He just walked away.
I mean, even if he had apologized, something to the extent of “I’m so sorry, we’re overbooked, and we’re doing our best, what can I get for you” I would have been mildly assuaged, but he was basically blaming us for the terrible service that they were providing! Let me say this, I have managed a couple different food service places now, and NEVER in my LIFE would I EVER say something like that to a guest. A profuse apology, yes. A free dessert for their trouble, yes. But never would I tell a guest they HAVE to be patient.
The food was mediocre at best. I’ve had better food from a strip mall Chinese place next to a laundromat on Crenshaw south of the 10. The fastest part of service for the night was them getting the check from us. Of course.
Note: Urban Spoon is listing this place as closed, I’m not sure how true that is, unless they’ve closed in the last two weeks? I’ll try to follow up to see. Regardless, it’s not like I’m recommending this place to you, so…
VIP Harbor Seafood
11701 Wilshire Blvd
West Los Angeles, CA 90025