Quite often, I can be almost too optimistic when it comes to dining experiences. I wave off inconveniences that would definitely have other diners reducing tips, taking their problems to the manager or worse, giving an ugly review on Yelp. But for me, if the food was incredible, I could overlook almost anything.
The times they are a-changin’.
Maybe it’s because I am older and tired of putting a positive spin on things, maybe it’s because I’ve been doing this for too long and I’ve become jaded, or maybe it’s because I’m perimenopausal and just about everything pisses me off. All I know is I’m not going to see the glass as half-full anymore. The glass is not only half-empty, there are lipstick stains on the rim and there’s a fly in the water doing the backstroke.
The proverbial straw that broke this camel happened only this past weekend at Oxlot 9. John and I had plans to attend his nephew’s 4th birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s in Covington. Since I knew we’d be hungry for real food at some point, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to try one of the many, well-reviewed restaurants on the Northshore. We made reservations at noon thinking we’d have plenty of time to eat before the party at 2:30pm.
We arrived at Oxlot 9, located on the corner of E. Boston and N. New Hampshire streets, and were immediately seated at a two-top near the kitchen. While debating our menu options, our waiter came over to take our appetizer and drink order. Since we were headed to a children’s party, we figured coffee would do nicely, especially since we would also be driving back across the lake. Brewed from beans by the hyper-local Abita Roasting Co., the coffee was served in a sturdy, stainless steel French press and was fresh and hot. It came with a side of whole milk, but no sugar and there was nothing on our table or the surrounding tables. We asked our waiter for some sugar and though he said “of course!” we didn’t get any until we were forced to ask another waiter.
Our appetizers came out rather quickly. John’s fried frog legs with hot sauce butter were tasty, but oddly tough and overcooked. They were served with a buttermilk dressing for dipping and sweet, pickled spears of celery. My plate was a boiled shrimp salad with thin slices of bell pepper, mixed greens, tomato and Green Goddess dressing. Both dishes (even the tough frogs legs) were gobbled in a snap and we anxiously awaited our entrees.
We waited … and waited … and waited.
After about a half-hour, our waiter came to refill our ice water and said “Your chicken biscuit and fish tacos will be right out!” to which I replied “We didn’t order a chicken biscuit and fish tacos.” He stopped mid-pour and gave me a blank stare for a moment. “Oh right, right, that’s my mistake.” he laughed. I repeated our actual order and he said he was just confused and of course our order went in correctly.
Not five minutes later, he comes back to the table and says that the kitchen messed up our order. “Well actually,” he confided “the order was prepared, but they didn’t know what table to send it out to.” And I told him that doesn’t sound like the kitchen’s fault. He just looked at me and laughed, and then proceeded to tell John that because of their error, they’ve upgraded the roast beef on his poutine dish to steak and rushed off.
So, we waited. And waited …
After another 30 minutes had passed, our patience had worn thin. It had now been a solid hour since our appetizers were finished and to add insult to injury, we saw diners who were seated after we were, finishing their meals and leaving. Not to mention, John and I saw both of our plates go out to other tables again, and again, and again.
Finally, John gets our waiter’s attention and tells him if our entrees don’t arrive in 10 minutes, we’re not only leaving, we’re not paying them one thin dime. In less than 5 minutes, our dishes magically appear. John’s “upgrade” involved thin slices of steak that were overcooked and burnt on the edges and my “Steak & Eggs” only included one, tiny poached egg, a knuckle’s worth of filet mignon (that was cooked perfectly, thank goodness) two haricot verts, two half carrots and a huge pile of potato hash. We also had a side of their house-smoked bacon which, I admit, was smoky, salty and perfectly chewy. While everything tasted alright, we had such a bad taste in our mouth due to the long wait and endless excuses. For a $75 meal, we expected a whole lot more.
And for those naysayers who complain that I should’ve talked to management, the chef and owner Jeffrey Hansell was standing less than 5 feet away from our table for the last hour of our debacle and did nothing. We were also late for John’s nephew’s birthday party and neither of us had the energy or the patience to deal with it.
Unfortunately, this experience is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the pathetically sad meals I’ve had lately. While I am fully prepared to report on all of my depressing adventures, I promise to throw in a great one here and there. Regardless, I’m still depressed that lately, the bad have outnumbered the good.