Melissa’s Tough Love: What Happened to Good Service?

Since I’m one of those people that likes to find new places to eat and drink, I subscribe to sites like Rare Daily, Thrillist, Urban Daddy, etc. to help me along.

Sadly, they review these places so early on that it’s hard to get a feel of what the place is really like. For me, it’s more about the entire experience than the food alone. After my recent visit to Via dei Mille, I was not only disappointed in the sites that I so often count on, but the service at the restaurant as well.

I set up a dinner for a friends birthday and because she wanted to wear the Tadashi dress that she won at the silent auction when we attended the GMHC Fashion Forward Event (I got to play spokes model for Hanne Apparel that night), I thought we should go someplace a little dressy. That’s when I consulted New York Magazine, Thrillist and Rare Daily and found Via dei Mille.

Here’s where they went wrong… and right. I don’t want to be completely unfair.

First, it seemed like they weren’t ready for us. When I gave the party’s name, they checked the name off but looked around the restaurant to see where they should place us – and that’s when they pushed 3 tables for 2 together. A bit awkward for a party of 5.

Dinner was last Saturday and if you recall, it was cold and snowy. So when they seated us near the door, we kept feeling the chill. Plus, they were in the process setting up a larger table for a party so they kept coming in and out with chairs and a large piece of plywood to make a table larger. Probably something that could have been handled earlier in the night. We ended up asking to move before the rest of our party arrived. They resisted at first, but did move us slightly further in… tightly squeezed into a 4 seater.

The waiter was very accommodating – so he got lots of points.

The restaurant also got points for their delicious food. That was one thing that everyone agreed on. Even the dessert was great (Nutella crepes are always a wonderful way to end a meal). Oh, and the timing of the food was perfect. We weren’t rushed and it was a decent amount of time after the antipasti that the entrees were brought to us. And of course, they gave us plenty of time to make room for dessert.

They lost points for the loud music. I don’t understand why an Italian Restaurant where the chef credits his Grandmother for his creations would play club music so loud that I had to yell for everyone to hear me… and I’m loud. We asked more than 4 times for them to lower the music and our poor waiter finally just went behind the bar and lowered the volume himself. Bravo! I understand that the owners are from the nightclub scene, but this is a restaurant. No matter how loud you play your music, you are not going to steal customers from Cipriani.

Then the smoke started. They don’t allow smoking in the restaurant, but the guests (instead of going outside) smoked in the temporary entranceway that they put up for the winter, which let all the smoke in. Not so great when you’re trying to enjoy your meal.

The final straw was when we asked for our coats. They took our tickets and brought up every coat but mine. Which was fine if you overlooked it, but they looked at me as if I must be lying. “Yes, I MUST have left the house without a coat since it’s so balmy out!” I described the coat to the hostess and when she came back she stated without apology that it wasn’t there. I knew no one took it because I was one of the only people that didn’t show up in a full length fur, so I know my cute Miss Sixty Coat was not on the list of “must haves”. They did find it after the manager checked but still no apology. However, he made a point of telling me that I must have lost my ticket. Grrrr.

Will I go back? Do you need to even ask. They clearly don’t care about the service they provide. We were never rude or pushy or obnoxious – even though after a while, we could have been. I understand that every place has their ‘off’ nights, but when you take it out on me, I have issue.

Let’s see what my newsletters bring me next. I haven’t given up on them yet. After all, this is the first ‘not so great’ experience I’ve had by taking their advice.

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