Posted: 12/12/2004 in None

No Nectar Next Time, Thank You Very Much …

Baby-J loves hosting dinner parties. She’s all about the fine dining with good friends. However, so it seems, something always goes wrong. Tonight, a lot of things went wrong.

A little under a month ago, Baby-J started rounding up her people for a nice “X’mas” dinner as she’ll be away for the holiday season. She chose Nectar Restaurant as the location. And that’s pretty much where things started going wrong.

To begin with, the restaurant lost our reservation. Baby-J was not impressed. What made matters worse, was that the manager didn’t even bother to apologize. Luckily, our intended reservation was early enough so that the place hadn’t gotten too busy yet, so they had a table available to us. However, the managers didn’t even try so much as to makes our stay as comfortable as possible, let alone make up for the blunder of losing our reservation.

I must say, the place is very much the typical yuppie-posh, swank affair that plagues this city. The name of the restaurant is barely visible, leaving some members of our party driving up and down the street, passing the location several times and still not finding it. The decor is rather nice, I must say. I did like it.

My only complaint … this spot is puny. We were sitting nearly back-to-back to the table behind us – between the two tables was supposed to be the walkway. As you can imagine, we were asked to shift about in our chairs in order to make way for the staff to serve. But, I didn’t particularly enjoy being barked at by an, “Excuse me!” like I was the one being rude.

So we sit … and we sit … still sitting … No one bothered to take our drink order. When they finally noticed, it still took them nearly 20 minutes to get our drinks out to us. And even at that, the drinks were prepared horribly. Last I checked, one shouldn’t have to chew one’s mojito.

We had to ask for our menus. Need I say more?

It was explained to us that each course we order is served in separate forms. By that, each dish served with the course having been prepared in at least two different methods. Some would be warm, some cold. The theme is sometimes an east-meets-west. This was an interesting touch, and gives the likes of myself that opportunity to dabble in a bit of variety.

“Let me start by saying that we don’t have any specials …” our waiter said. That’s not so much a problem. But what is problem is when he goes on to tell you how much of what is on the menu is not available. “I’m sorry, but we’re out of the soup. We’ve run out, sorry …” Dude, it’s just after 7 PM, and you have about 5 parties seated. And you’re out of soup?

Presentation is a huge factor, especially with the clientele they aim for. Frankly, I’ve found in this city, people are willing to go great lengths to secure reservations to restaurants that have unique decor and excellent presentation of mediocre food. This restaurant has taken on the Japanese-style approach and serves all of their courses on wooden table pieces. By presentation value, it’s very acceptable.

The problem here was, a lack of foresight. Some in our party ordered the westcoast oysters for their appetizers. The oysters were poorly shucked, as shell chips were found throughout the half-shell and making the oysters difficult to enjoy. Moreover, the dish was served just the oysters on half-shell, on a little wooden table piece that had a vent-like pattern. This makes for a lot of dripping of the oyster juices, sauces and the like right down to the table, staining the tablecloth. There goes your presentation value.

Also, with these table pieces, it elevated the dishes by up to a couple of inches. This makes it difficult to eat your meal. Now, given that you’re already in close quarters with your tables mates, you’re in for a tough time to eat comfortably.

As per the food … Most everyone was relatively pleased with their entrées. However, I found that, at least with my own, the meal was served a little cold. I can’t complain too much about the cuisine itself. The menu was varied, offering quite a selection of choices. Once again, the presentation was fairly good, and I do find I like having each course prepared using various methods.

What didn’t go over well with me, was the manner in with it was served. I still find it annoys me that the ladies of our party was not served first. Furthermore, they served the wrong dishes to the wrong people both for the appetizer and entrée portions of the meal. Lastly, on more than one occasion, the server would hand you the dish. It’s understandable if the server has other dishes to manage and/or is off-balance, yes. But as a server, to hand the last dish in your hands to your patron is simply wrong.

I suppose we cannot put too much fault on our waiter. He was a very friendly fellow, whom would periodically check with me to see if everything was going well. Of course, I didn’t air my grievances because it’s not my place, as I’m not the host. However, the shortcomings of the rest of the staff, starting with and including management, was inexcusable.

In fact, as we had plenty of time between courses … *wink wink* … I was watching the manager. He went out of his way to avoid us. It almost seemed like he was upset that we imposed a large dinner party on him. All in all, Baby-J found him to be quite lacking, and rather rude.

So … no Nectar next time, thank you very much …

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