Mickey's Mind

Monday, September 04, 2006

And the winners are...Ruth's Chris and Waffle House!

This weekend, I had some of the worst possible dining experiences! I am a food snob and restaurant junkie and I have really high standards for certain places. I expect a certain of level of service at McDonald's that I would not expect from 3 Forks.

Anyway, on Saturday night, a friend and decided to dine at the Fox Sports Grill. Located at the Shops at Legacy Village, I had passed by it while on my way to dine at Cru (limited wine list, by the way) and thought it may be worth checking out sometime. Well, was I in for a surprise. My friend and I were carded at the door, which is not a big deal to me. Texas is big on carding in places that serve alcohol. I can remember being in Chicago during St. Patrick's day weekend and never once being asked for ID at any bar I went to.

We asked if we could sit outside. The hostess, instead of grabbing 2 menu's and seating us at the table, advised us we could sit outside if "we could find a table." As a former hostess myself, that did not sit well with me. We made our way through the restaurant in an attempt to find the patio (she didn't even tell us how to get to it). We noticed there was half eaten food on a lot of tables. After finding the door for the patio (it looked like a fire exit-just a door leading outside), we were greeted to tables filled with ashtrays and plates of half eaten food.

We found a moderately clean table (just a few empty glasses) and decided to see if the tables would be cleaned soon. A couple came in a few minutes behind us and had to sit on the railing, since the tables were filthy. I went and found a waiter and asked if we could get a table clean. He said a busboy will be out shortly. Sure enough, a busboy did come out- he only cleaned one table, which the couple got before me and my friend. Did I mention that while we were sitting outside, 2 waiters came out but never once asked if we wanted anything to drink?

At this point I was fed up. I went to the hostess and said that this was my first experience and I was not at all impressed. She offered some lame excuse about it being the restaurant's first football weekend and they were really busy. A sports bar in Texas busy during football season? Perish the thought! I asked for her manager.

We were greeted by a young man ( I say young man because he never gave his name or a business card) who couldn't have been much older than me. He apologized for the experience and agreed to buy the first round of drinks. I ordered a Cosmo, my friend, a Top Shelf margarita (they were paying after all).

We finally got a clean table and our drinks. We had to ask for menu's. And napkins. We ordered chips w/ salsa and queso. Here is the weird part: The food and drinks are great! The margarita (even on the rocks) was excellent and the queso (although a little cold) was very smooth. The salsa had a kick to it without being too hot. The service was just HORRIBLE!

Same friend and I dined at the Original Pancake House on Sunday. Totally worth the 30 minute wait. Great pancakes and coffee that would give Starbucks a run for its money. The service at this place wasn't bad but it wasn't very good either. The waitress wasn't very friendly and I had to ask another waitress for a cup of coffee. She brought the creamer half full. I asked for Splenda for my iced tea and she hands me saucer full of Equal covered in syrup. Needless to say, her tip reflected her attitude.

So why are Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and Wafflehouse declared the winners? On the surface, they seem to have nothing in common. Ruth's is were the money dines. Waffle House caters to your truck stop and hungover crowd. Although the setup is totally different, Ruth's Chris and Waffle House offer excellent customer service. Both the waitstaff anticipates the customer's need, whether it be another glass of wine or more butter for your toast. The waitstaff at both places are friendly and make it a point to check on their customers. These two restaurant's rate high on my Best Places to dine. A Prime chophouse and place that serves waffles at 4 in the morning. Gotta love it!

So will I go back to Old Pancake House? Absolutely! The waitress was a one time incident, so I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Fox Sports Grill? That remains to be seen. If they can't handle an opening weekend for college football, OU-Texas is going to kick their butts.