We went here the other evening for dinner and walked away with that "aha that's why we don't come here often!" response. Â For starters, the waitress and manager were very friendly and attentive. Â The place was rather empty and they definitely took time to make sure everyone felt welcomed and taken care of. Â The building's unique character is highlighted--making the atmosphere interesting and authentic. Â We loved our food. Â The stuffed burgers are terrific and the calamari was perfect. Â
So, why the three stars? Â Both our appetizer and our meal took 30 minutes to come to our table. Â These items are fried and grilled so why the wait? Â We were kindly informed that our calamari had been burnt the first time but please, give me one reason why it would take 30 minutes to prepare a burger or hot wings.
I will return here for the food, the atmosphere and the service but the wait? Â PLEASE FIX THIS! Â I'm not sure if this issue is in the kitchen or on the floor but it really puts a damper on the entire dining experience.
Admittedly, I have never "yelped" about anything on here before, so I completely understand about anyone's reservations about accepting my opinions on much of anything. That said, my dinner was so god-awful at the The Lobby this week, I felt compelled to create a profile to write about it.
First off, we had made a reservation for a group at 8:30PM. When we arrived, we were told by the hostess "Um I'm pretty sure that reservation was made for 6:30". We refuted, and she seemed somewhat annoyed that we were even there to dine in the first place. We waited while they took their time setting up a table.
Drinks were ordered with no issues, however, our waitress was clearly overworked, exhausted, and unhappy due to a lack of servers in the restaurant on a busy night. Â We made several attempts to order food, but were brushed off because she was too busy running around the place trying to take care of all the tables. Water glasses went empty repeatedly. Eventually they just brought some carafes of water over, which seemed to solve the problem.
I questioned her about a possible substitution for the mashed potatoes which came with my chicken. They were offering "onion mashers" which didn't sound remarkably appealing to me, so i asked if they could swap them for the other mashed potato offering they had on the menu. I was told that there were no substitutions, but I could have my meal delivered with no mashed potatoes and order a side of the other mashed potatoes for an additional $4. I did so reluctantly.
We finally got our order in, and anxiously awaited for our food to arrive.
Most had ordered individual salads or appetizers to start, however, when the appetizers arrived, they had plated any duplicate appetizers together on the same plate. Not knowing this was the case, some were eating other people's food, plates were delivered to the wrong people, wrong ends of the table, etc, which resulted in mass chaos. The appetizers... eh. Personally I though the deep fried blue cheese balls were creative, but they were just greasy and lacked enough of the blueberry preserve to cut through the richness in any way whatsoever.
Dinner service was absolutely terrible. Our server disappeared at some point, and a new team of a man and a woman arrived to tell us they had to relieve our server so she could get some rest, which is fine, except clearly neither of the new servers were ever told who had ordered what, resulting in the same confusion as the first course. I received my chicken with the mashed potatoes I had asked to be omitted, there was supposed to be some kind of spinach, which clearly was omitted, and the chicken was covered with a gravy that was so salty it made the entire dish almost inedible. The additional side of mashed potatoes arrived and were dry, lukewarm, had a handful of shredded cheese thrown on top, and were slathered in a similarly inedible salty, smokey, gravy. It looked like something I would have received at a dingy, low-class diner. My fiancee had ordered a Caesar salad with steak, cooked medium rare. Easy enough, right? The salad first arrived with no steak, and was sent back, then came back completely undressed, the steak cooked to a hockey-puck-like-well-done temperature. She bit the bullet on the steak, but explained that the salad was undressed. The male server stated, "I'm pretty sure it's on there" (This was one of several salads that arrived undressed). She re-insisted that it was not "on there", and he agreed to bring over a side of "Caesar" dressing. I intentionally put Caesar in quotes, as the dressing that arrived was what I can only assume to be straight mayo with some kind of garlic seasoning in it.
I could go on about the other entrees as well, but instead will assure you that they were all equally terrible. One entree was forgotten altogether, and they attempted to bring this out after everyone else had pretty much completed their meal. My friend who had ordered the entree asked twice about the status of her food, and was told by the male server "it will be here in a few minutes, lady". They were cordial enough to remove this from the bill, fortunately, as what did eventually arrive tasted like Lipton instant noodles with the same tough, hockey-puck like steak on top.
That night I felt like I was watching an episode of "Mystery Diners" or "Restaurant Stakeout" unfold in front of me in live action. I assure you that Willie Degel of Uncle Jack's Steakhouse would have had some choice things to say about both the food and the service at The Lobby. Overall, I haven't had worse food or service at a restaurant of this "caliber" in my life. The food at The Lobby is more reminiscent of something you would get from from a bad chain restaurant, like Bennigan's. A close friend who also attended this meal had planned a meeting at The Lobby with several board members of his organization, and actually moved the meeting afterwards for fear that the experience might embarrass him. Awful.