She will share her insights into the dining experiences they have on the road from Los Angeles to Atlanta.
I can’t wait to see what she has to say, as always it will be entertaining. This one, on the other hand, is slightly negative. It is a shame that some restaurants do not know how to treat customers…
Let us know what you think in the comments below. We always welcome your thoughts on our content.
Restaurants on the Road
By Gini Koch
Despite swearing that she never leaves the Manse, Gini’s on the road a lot, and she’s sending us down and dirty restaurant reviews from her latest trip.
Saltgrass Steak House, Riverwalk, San Antonio, TX (https://www.saltgrass.com/)
Price: $$1/2 out of $$$$$
Rating: 1 star out of 5
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a restaurant screw the pooch this badly.” What I said over and over and over again, as this place kept on screwing that pooch as long and as hard as possible.
Saltgrass is a chain, part of the large Landry’s group of restaurant chains. There are a ton of these places, but I’d never heard of them before (they aren’t in Arizona or California). We tried this place based on a recommendation from another guest at our hotel as a great, decently priced place to have great steaks. I love steak, and therefore I love steakhouses. So I was looking forward to giving this a try.
At first, all seemed well. We were seated in the area we asked to be in – a trifle near to the bathrooms but since we’d specifically requested not to have to do stairs, this wasn’t a total negative.
We ordered – and I got a big glass of red wine in anticipation of a great meal – and we even discussed the frequent diner program with our waitress. And then we waited. And waited. And waited some more.
Thankfully, we’d asked for bread and butter. It arrived as did the salads. I ate the bread. And the salad. We watched others get fed – people seated before us and people seated after us, while we continued to wait. And no one came by to mention that our food was coming in, say, this century.
Finally, the main courses appeared. Only, mine was ice cold. Like super duper been sitting out for all the time I’ve been waiting for food cold. My mother-in-law’s food was hot. Mine was not.
So, I hailed our waitress – a hard task as she was both busy and avoiding us – explained the situation, and demanded new food. She called the manager over. I explained the situation. And then he asked me, “Do you want me to warm that up for you?”
I was almost too shocked to speak, but I managed. “No, I want a properly cooked meal, not something microwaved.”
He seemed shocked by this, but they took my icy plate away supposedly to make new food.
And then I waited, and waited, and waited.
I’ve worked in the restaurant industry, and I eat out a lot. And, there are a few things that are musts. IF someone complains about the food and especially if that complaint is valid, the new order MUST go to the head of the line. Period. And you, as the management, MUST apologize for the screwup, rather than trying to make this the diner’s fault.
But not at Saltgrass. Nope, they put my makeup order in just as if I’d just sat down. How do I know? My mother-in-law finished her food, slowly, and shoved the scraps we’d planned to bring back for her dog over to me so I wouldn’t faint from hunger, and my food never arrived.
I hailed the waitress and explained that I wasn’t going to be eating the nonexistent meal and that I expected to be comped.
The manager returned. And he and I had a LONG discussion, wherein he tried to, again, make this screwup my fault somehow and I refused to let him. I also mentioned that I was a restaurant critic. He had the nerve to say that he wouldn’t “insult” me by comping my meal. To which I replied that he’d damn well better comp my meal and that the insults were in how badly he and his staff had handled this screwup.
I also mentioned that the first thing offered when someone’s food is ice cold should not be to “warm it up”. And then he hammered in the final nail in the chain’s coffin. “But that’s company policy, that’s what we’re told to offer first.”
Let me explain something for those who possibly don’t eat out a lot and/or have no restaurant industry background. IF the FIRST THING you’ve ordered your management to offer if food comes out cold is to “warm it up” then a) this happens at your restaurants ALL THE TIME, and b) you don’t care at all, because c) MOST people are too embarrassed to complain, send the food back, or make a scene. Saltgrass may look nice, but in reality it’s a dump.
My bill arrived. They’d charged me for my mother-in-law’s meal and my wine. I hailed the waitress and explained that I’d only bought the wine because I was expecting to be eating a huge steak. I also mentioned that the manager SHOULD have comped the entire bill but at LEAST should have also comped the wine. She was smart enough to grab the ticket, take it back, and comp my wine. So I left her a tip.
Here’s my tip to you: Never, ever give Saltgrass (or, frankly, the Landry’s chains) your business. If you do, be prepared. It may not happen to you the first time or even the second, but if you play Russian Roulette with this chain, expect to have an expensive, disappointing, uncomfortable meal somewhere down the line.
This was the worst place we ate all the way across the country. They’ll never get my business again, and I will avoid all Landry’s restaurants in the future if I have any choice in the matter.
Definitely try: Somewhere, anywhere, else.