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What is the WORST dining experience you have ever had?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Without naming names, what is the worst restaurant dining experience that you've ever had?

My worst experience was at a restaurant that purported to be French fine dining.

When I walked into the establishment, the hostess greeted us while popping bubble gum. "Are youse here to eat?" she asked while popping her gum ... and yes, she actually said, "youse."

My friend who's from NYC replied, "No we're here to buy a car. What can you show us?"

Even though the restaurant was sparsely seated, it was fifteen minutes before we saw a menu. I ordered pan seared scallops in a beurre blanc sauce with grilled asparagus and rice pilaf.

The scallops were not pan seared. They arrived swimming in what looked like clarified butter but turned out to be margarine. They had no color and were rubbery from overcooking. The rice pilaf was undercooked and crunchy. The asparagus was overcooked and was dull green and mushy.

My meal was served 30 minutes before my friend's order arrived. I was finished long before she was even served. When her roast duck arrived, it was swimming in grease. The skin had no color and was soft and fat instead of being rich and crispy.

The server left a check on the table without offering us coffee or dessert.

I was not particularly surprised when the restaurant closed just one month later.
post #2 of 14
Tell me you did not pay. Please tell me you did not pay!!!!:mad:
post #3 of 14
Oh come on, we must name names! It is our duty to name names. Do you want others going in and having the same experience?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
I ate one scallop but it was rubbery and horrible. A beurre blanc sauce is also quite different from a pool of margarine. I tried a bite of rice pilaf. I wouldn't touch the asparagus.

My friend wouldn't eat her greasy undercooked duck.

The waitress was a wholesome farmgirl next door type of person. When we complained about the meal, her eyes welled with tears and her bottom lip trembled as though she had been personally responsible for this meal production.

When I wilted and began saying, "Well it wasn't THAT BAD," my friend kicked me under the table and asked to see a manager.

There was no manager on duty.

She asked to see the executive chef or kitchen manager. We were told that the executive chef only comes in for dinner service. A line cook was apparently in the kitchen but operating without direction or supervision.

Nobody appeared to be in charge of the restaurant and the server said she wasn't authorized to comp meals. Smelling trouble, the bubble gum popping hostess approached the table and told us that if we didn't pay, she'd call the police.

Not wanting trouble ... we paid and left as the hostess sneeringly said, "Have a nice day and don't let the door slam you in the butt on your way out." She then muttered something about $%&# worthless customers.

These last two comments really evoked my annoyance.

I was so irked that I told two friends about this experience. One friend was a member of the Red Hats Club, a group of retired women who wear red hats and enjoy dining out at nice restaurants. Another was part of a local dining club that also met at different area restaurants. Both groups crossed this place off their list of places to dine.

I also wrote a scathing letter to the executive chef. No reply was ever received ... and as previously indicated, the restaurant went out of business just one month later.

As far as naming this restaurant, I see no point in flogging a dead horse. The restaurant has now been out of business for several years. Sadly - other restaurants which have tried to open at this location have also failed.
post #5 of 14
David Drake - Rahway, NJ

Taken advantage of and pawned off 27$ glass of wine to me that was from a bottle that was sitting out, opened, and when served had 2 dozen fruit flies.

No apology, nothing comped.
post #6 of 14
To many to mention.. I believe some places are just practicing. It gives me satisfaction when I pass by later and they are closed for good. :lol:v:lol:
post #7 of 14

What's That??

I remember going to our local chain of drug store restaurants in Madison, Wisconsin during a snowstorm one winter about 100 years ago that was famous for it's chili.

There are usually not enough crackers for me that accompany a good bowl of piping hot chili. I received the requested extras and was crunching them up in the wrapper so as to not make a mess of the table. One particular set of crackers would not crunch. There was something green in the unopened bag. Dumb me, opened the wrapper to see what the heck it was. Baked inside of the cracker was peeking out a lovely wad of chewed green gum.

There was no way I could have put it there and since the package was now open, nothing I could do - like get my 15 minutes of fame on the news. HA.

I still won't eat soda crackers that come in a neat little wrapper; my appreciation of them is nil.
post #8 of 14
Wow. Seems like usually bad service attributes to a bad dining experience and not necessarily the food.

Like this one time at a darling Peruvian restaurant. . .I love Peruvian food and was excited to try this new restaurant out. The meat was tough and dry. . .only a few pieces on a gigantic mountain of cilantro rice. The rice was tasty, but everything else was not. When I'm not fed well, I get in a bad mood. . .but the owners were SO SWEET. . .even the cute grandmother showed us to the door!! I felt so guilty not liking the food there. . .

But this is about BAD dining experiences. SOOO.. . . One time my bf and I went to get Mediterranean take out a a fast-food type joint. The restaurant apparently switched owners but we didn't know. . .we ordered a few things off the menu and when the numbers rang up, the prices didn't match what was on the menu. They charged us $4-5 more per entree (from $13 to $18, etc). They said the menus we ordered off of weren't "their updated ones" and that they couldn't cancel the order because they had already started grilling the meat. . .so we grudgingly paid for our food. Total was $45. .. for a two plates of rice pilaf, tough meat, cold pita bread and a small wilted salad. We were VERY unhappy, needless to say!
"If it's spicy going in, it's gonna be spicy coming out!"
Cooking and Baking : Resources and Recipes
"If it's spicy going in, it's gonna be spicy coming out!"
Cooking and Baking : Resources and Recipes
post #9 of 14
As far as naming this restaurant, I see no point in flogging a dead horse. The restaurant has now been out of business for several years. Sadly - other restaurants which have tried to open at this location have also failed.[/QUOTE]

I had an experience that resembled this one with the restaurant later going out of business. We left after an hour and a half after receiving only appetizers. The straw that broke the camel's back was when the waiter came out, after we heard a large crash in the kitchen, and threw his hands up and said, 'Did you hear that? Those were your mushrooms!' as if he were delivering the punchline to a joke. We used the cell to make reservations elsewhere and while we were leaving the police were taping off the parking lot as something had just went down in the rear of the establishment. I think the only thing that would have topped it off would have been getting shot!:bounce::crazy:
post #10 of 14
Bad dining experiences: Let me count them:

1) Years ago at a McDonald's, I happened to turn the hamburger bun over to find a fly baked into an air bubble. They offered me a free coke. I ALWAYS turn my buns over to look before I eat!

2) A Greek restaurant: We had a coupon. The shrimp cocktail was unedible. It was not fully cooked, and hard to tear through the half cooked flesh. We complained. The waitress came back later and said the chef tried the shrimp, and then she kisses her finger tips and says "He says the shrimp are perfect!"

We ordered combination plates. They arrived full of water or juice of some sort. Everything was mushy and you could not tell where one thing ended and the next began. We couldn't eat it. We layed our coupon down, and the other half of the check. We exclaimed that "Guess we weren't as hungry as we thought". I didn't want trouble. Never know who you're really dealing with.

3) My favorite restaurant for many years, suddenly turned on me. Gave me my wifes well done gristly filet mignon, and gave her my medium rare. The only time she ever ate med. rare, and raved about how good it was. Restaurant was always kind of dark so she never saw the red, or she'd have refused to eat it. I asked for my steak to be redone. Waited 3/4 of an hour, and just paid and left. Restaurant burned down and is no more.

4) A Chinese place. Completely empty. The shrimp wasn't cooked at all. Sushi shrimp, and smelled like he had found it washed up on the shore.

5) Another place that used to treat us really well, suddenly turned on us. We always ordered wine off-list. The owner was pleased to see us drinking some of his special wines. One night the owner(s) weren't in, and the service was really lousy. Gristly steak (and it was an expensive steak house) and cold mashed potatoes.

6) Samurai type restaurant. 4 couples around the grill, none of which came with any of the other of us. We all had coupons, and the steaks were so gristly that people were putting the chewey pieces in the salad bowls. I don't think I got one bite of edible steak. They're out of business now too.

I'm getting tired of recalling all of these experiences. That's why I spent a lot of money to remodel my kitchen into a semi-professional configuration about 15 years ago. It cost a fortune, but I never have since sent any of the food back, never left a tip, and always got to eat as much as I wanted, cooked exactly like I wanted! The kitchen paid for itself many years ago by saving us the trouble of eating out. If I eat out at all anymore its usually when the company I work for is footing the bill. Funny, but when there's 8-14 people at a table, the food always is outstanding!

post #11 of 14
Not exactly a restaurant situation, but the worst dining I've ever had was on a Holland-America cruise ship, going up the Inland Passage. Five nights, and I didn't have a hot meal in the dining room one of them.

Of course, with H-A, nobody talks English, so you couldn't even figure out who to complain to.

Picture this: It's formal night (actually there were two). Women in beautiful gowns. Men at least in suits and ties, many in formalware. And if you ordered a soft drink they'd slap the can down on the table. I thought that showed a lot of class---about third grade.

All this was part and parcel of the whole trip, not just the food service. With the exception of our room steward, everybody on staff was surly, uncooperative, and, in at least one instance, dangerously apathetic.

If I ever cross a H-A gangway again, somebody needs to shoot me.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #12 of 14
Most of my bad dining experiences have been down to bad service.
One restaurant I went to, took them 15 minutes to serve us, then 15 minutes to bring the drinks, then 10 minutes to come take our order, the waitron acted as if they were doing us a favour serving us.

The food came, absolutely horrible, Veal Parmigianna, tasted like an old piece of Veal found on the floor, with some tasteless lumpy white sauce spooned over, and a bit of old parmesan cheese on top. Not to mention, I was sick the next day with a bad stomach.

The scary thing this was a very nice looking restaurant in a top shopping centre here, and whenever I walk past, the place is full, must be the location... and the lack of fussy eaters out there...
post #13 of 14
You kill me.

I took a quick break after getting open to read the forums.
Thanks for the laugh.
I can already feel the stress melting away.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
post #14 of 14
In the city of Springfield -- yes, that's the real name of the city, which keeps me from having to identify this hellhole -- my wife and I and her parents tried out a place that was advertising itself as the hot fine dining experience. It had been reviewed well, in an admittedly dubious local paper.

Now my mother-in-law is celiac, which is to say, she can't tolerate gluten at all. So she always asks about what's in things before she orders. She decides she'll maybe have the filet mignon with sauce Hollandaise (an odd thing to put with steak, instead of Bearnaise, but whatever). She asks: any wheat products in any of this? The waitron sighs, very put-upon, and goes back to ask chef.

She comes back 10 minutes later: yes, there's flour in the sauce, of course, because you can't make sauce Hollandaise without it. I can't resist. Why is there flour, I ask? It's just egg yolk and butter and lemon. She goes back to check, now clearly very angry.

15 minutes later -- she hasn't taken any other orders, incidentally -- she tells me that this sauce is always made with flour. She doesn't actually include the word "idiot", but it's clear that she thinks I am one, because I don't know what's in sauce Hollandaise (nor did she, let's note, because she had to ask). I considered going back there to show him how to make that sauce in 2 minutes in a skillet, but decided my wife would kill me, so I didn't.

We order, finally, and 30 minutes later our appetizers arrive. Things that should be pan-seared (my wife ordered scallops, for example) have been dropped in a deep-fryer, and they didn't even bother to drain them of semi-rancid grease. Almost an hour after this our main courses arrive. I'd ordered a plain steak, no sauce, and made something of a point about wanting it rare. She'd gone back to check on this, confirmed with me that no really, I wanted it rare, and gone off thinking I was crazy as well as stupid. What arrived was so well-done it was like leather, only thicker. It was also insanely over-salted.

My wife's salmon, on the other hand, was full of bones (not just pin-bones, either) and so under-salted that she had to add it, which she never does. My mother-in-law happily ate her wine-braised pork, which had no gluten in it, and then later that evening discovered that in fact it did have quite a bit -- and without getting graphic, I can say that she knows when she's been fed a lot of gluten. My father-in-law was perfectly satisfied with his pasta, but he has a naugahyde palate, so who knows?

The ladies insisted on dessert, and discovered that the chocolate used in that kitchen was something akin to Hershey's, only lower quality. The coffee had chunks -- not grounds, but chunks. I was taking no chances, and had a small Scotch, since I figured it comes out of a bottle -- but what came wasn't the Scotch I ordered. Not even close. I actually picked it up and went to the bartender, and he told me that the order placed wasn't the order I put in. But he was nice enough: he gave me a very large double of what I wanted (free) and apologized.

The evening closer was the bartender's remark to me over that big double: "I think you're probably the first guy I've seen in here with any clue what he's eating. Mostly it's really old folks, never been to a fancy restaurant, and they eat what's put in front of them. But I always get some pizza before I come to work."

For another side to fine dining, here's a link to my experience at Roan Kikunoi here in Kyoto.
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