Thursday, November 27, 2008

Café Select, I Wish I Could Rate You

I am entering into a new decade of my life. To celebrate, I decided to have some close friends and family get together for dinner out so I didn’t have to worry about cleaning my house. I have been meaning to try out Café Select for some time now, and unfortunately, it was not meant to be for this evening. I did, however, want to blog briefly about the service in this situation, and see if anyone else out there had thoughts on whether it is worth trying again in the future.

Calling in on Monday morning, I knew it would be a bit of a challenge to find a table for the upcoming Friday for 8-10 people, but I still figured it was worth a try. I left a voice message early Monday and waited to hear back. No response Monday, no response Tuesday, and by Wednesday evening I was getting panicky, so I called them back myself when the dinner rush should have been mostly through. I spoke with a young woman who told me she thought they could swing it around 7:30, and I was very excited. She added that they include gratuity in the bill for groups that large (no problem), and that they impose a $25 minimum charge on the weekends because “otherwise you can get big groups in that all drink water.” Um, last time I checked you were free to drink whatever you wanted at a restaurant. I understand the idea, but was just a bit put off by being told that. I had no idea if anyone in my group might be on a budget, and I generally assume that menu pricing covers costs as necessary. I was told that she needed to confirm the availability with her manager and would call me back that evening. As I am sure you can guess given my frustration, I did not get a call back. I called them Thursday morning and left the standard “no one called me back, I am disappointed, if I cannot be accommodated at this point it is going to put me in a very difficult position to find another place” message. I called back again Thursday around five - after still hearing nothing - only to be told by the manager that they were fully booked and had been for weeks.

I do take a certain portion of the blame, knowing that even calling on a Monday is a bit late for this size group on a Friday night, but I do expect that if a restaurant has a message saying to leave your reservation request, that you will get your call returned promptly. The manager did offer to help call around to find another place after I mentioned I was high and dry for my birthday, but I was so ticked off that I declined. To add insult to injury, after I spent majority of the next morning thinking of alternate locations and finally booking one. I got a call from a woman at Café Select confirming my reservation.

Now I ask you: Have you been to Café Select before? Did you experience such difficulties? Is it worth me getting over this and trying again?


  1. I have been to Cafe Select before and it is not great the service you will receive is almost as good as the phone service you received... not worth trying.

  2. We have ventured to Cafe Select before, and it wasn't overly memorable. Although the food was good, we were the only table in the place (it's really tight in there), and they sat another couple at the table right next to us! It was like suddenly dining in a group of four.

    Their southside partner that closed a couple months ago also tarnished my view of Cafe Select in general. We frequented the place about once a month for a few months (location, location) and the service was generally slow and they were always out of a bunch of things on their menu.

    In short, you're not missing too much.

  3. Cafe Select has been on my radar -- a friend of a friend is part of the "management team" -- but I haven't ventured in yet. A group of us were close to holding a holiday gathering there, but decided on another venue. I spoke to Lauren, I believe, who was incredibly accommodating, efficient and thoughtful. I go to La Esquina pretty often, which is across the street, and keep reminding myself that I need to try out Cafe! It's a very new spot and I can imagine there are some policy kinks to be worked out, but I've worked in restaurants for years and what you experienced was ridiculous! What a mess of miscommunication on their part.

  4. i find it's hit and miss. used to be very very good, but has consistently gone downhill over the last few years. plus, after having 10+ fantastic experiences at culina over the last year or so - i've no desire to darken cafe select's door again.

  5. They have the best escargot in town, even if the service isn't fantastic, it's worth it for these