The Worst Service We've Had in NYC Restaurants This Year

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From The Absent-Minded Waiter
In Zachary Feldman's review of El Vez, he pointed to numerous issues with service that had a major impact on his meal. But this Battery Park City cantina isn't the only restaurant in New York suffering from hospitality problems. Fork in the Roaders eat out nearly nightly, and we see a lot of bad behavior. Here are the most egregious examples of bad service we've seen so far this year.

El Vez, 259 Vesey Street
Like the table mentioned in Feldman's review of El Vez, my party was set upon by our server while our host was still handing out menus. My party had requested and received patio seats with our reservation, but when we showed up, we were told the patio came with an additional 30 minute wait. Undeterred, we had a margarita at the bar until the table was ready. The hostess dropped us off and, before she'd walked away, our server came over and asked if we were ready to order. We told him we needed a minute since we'd just been seated, so he remained at our table, filling our water glasses, while we continued talking, our menus still untouched. Before he walked away, he said, with an impatient hand gesture, "So, are you ready now?" I'm not sure, do I have x-ray vision?

At the end of the meal, he asked us, "Anything else? Coffee? Dessert? A tequila shot for your server?" We laughed uncomfortably, and then he said, seriously and expectantly, "No, seriously. It's been an extremely long day." You're showing us too much behind the curtain, dude.

Jack's Wife Freda, 224 Lafayette Street
Against better judgement, my group decided to brave the Sunday brunch line at Jack's Wife Freda. I got there first, and there was a massive queue of people just waiting to put their names on the list. The hostess was clearly frazzled, but instead of dealing with the hordes, she was ignoring them completely. A group of her friends rocked up, saw the line, and said, "Oh, this seems like a bad day to try to attempt this," making it clear to everyone within earshot -- a dozen people or so -- that they'd just arrived. She stepped by the waiting parties, leaving them to languish, and had a lazy conversation, which ended when she declared, rather loudly, "No, no, it's okay, I'll just seat you now." Hosts -- it's you're prerogative to let your friends and VIPs skip the line, but do you have to be so obvious about it? We went elsewhere. I was afraid that I would yell at her if I had to talk to her. This is why people hate brunch.

Cascabel Taqueria, 1538 Second Avenue
Upon biting into a delivery order of chicken tacos from Cascabel Taqueria, we found ourselves cracking into the entire hilt of a drumstick bone chucked in with the braised meat and scallions, and we also discovered a few other smaller bones. Alerted to the issue and asked for a replacement order of carnitas, the restaurant's initial response was, "Can't you just remove the bones and eat it?" They eventually delivered the carnitas, but not until we'd sufficiently convinced them of the choking hazard.

Hamilton's Luncheonette, 51 Bank Street
The schmoozy, older host at Hamilton's Luncheonette hit on my mom and jokingly (but not jokingly) shamed us for not ordering enough.



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