Monday, November 12, 2012

WineStyles, Bothell, WA – VERY Disappointed

I recently purchased a Groupon offer. (I had scheduled the day off from work following the fantastic Jimmy Buffett concert and I wanted to continue the party…)

The Groupon offer was for WineStyles in Bothell and included a four-course prix fixe lunch for two for $20.00. How could I miss with lunch for two for $20.00? Well, I missed big time when going to WineStyles.

Mike and I arrived around 1:00pm on a Wednesday afternoon and there was just one other couple seated in the dining area. We took a table next to them. Soon enough our waiter came and he gave us special Groupon menus that explained the offer which included a salmon spread/cracker appetizer, bread, two chocolates, and entrée for each of us. We scanned the menu and noticed that House Wine was listed for $5.00 per glass. We attempted to order the house white or chardonnay and were advised that WineStyles does not offer house wine. ?? We ended up each getting a Pinot Grigio that we presumed was served as a house wine offering.

The salmon spread/cracker appetizer was delivered and our waiter enthusiastically explained that it was FRESH salmon. But he had no other information about the spread – which, by the way, was about two tablespoons of spread served with about 10 crackers – OUCH at $8.00 on the regular menu.

Unfortunately, our waiter did not bring water to our table and we had no silverware or napkins. Chef Anne appeared in the dining room and brought bread with olive oil/balsamic vinegar and she encouraged us to use our bread plates. We still had no silverware or napkins.

A third party of two sat at another table and they were served water. And then our waiter also provided water to the first party of two that were sitting next to us. We never received water.

We selected a chopped salad and an Italian baguette for our entrees and soon enough they were delivered to our table. And we received rollups – silverware rolled in a napkin. Yeah! The food was nothing special and the sandwich was small with a side salad in a monkey dish. Wow. Do you know how small a monkey dish is? And $8.00 for half a sandwich?

With our entrees, Mike ordered another glass of white wine and I asked to try a red. Our waiter brought me a Montepulciano de Aburzzo – but the bottle didn’t have a full portion so he apologized and offered to serve me another ½ glass of another red wine when I was done with that. And he followed through with a totally different ½ glass of red wine. Geez. Why would he offer any wine when he didn’t even have a full glass available?

Midway through our entrees our waiter placed our guest check on our table. What? We were still eating! Our waiter was a bit flustered as he dealt with two wine salesmen who dropped off wine and seemed to totally forget that he still had three tables eating lunch.

We saw Chef Anne walk through the dining area with a tray of chocolates. Hmmm…could those be for us? I finally called Chef Anne to our table and asked if we could please get our “desserts.” She happily brought us two of the fresh chocolates, but totally missed the opportunity to describe for us what the chocolates were! I could not believe that a chef did not want to brag about her dessert – and educate her guests.

We finally opened the guest check holder and were SHOCKED by the paper on top of the check that was all about the TIP. It explained that if we didn’t add the tip manually on this piece of “homemade” paper, they wouldn’t be able to add it to our credit card. HUH? It was quite abrasive to see that “notice” before we had even see the total of the check.

Seque to my next annoying point. We had four glasses of wine with lunch and they were each rung up at $7.99. Really? We asked for house wine. If our waiter was serving us wine priced differently, he should have told us. Our check came to $31.96. We added a $6.00 tip (on the TIP paper) which brought the total to $37.96. AND THEN tax was added on top of that (meaning our tip was taxed!), bringing the total to $41.00.

We are beyond unsatisfied. We spent $61.00 on a mediocre meal with horrendous service. HUGE THUMBS DOWN ON WINESTYLES IN BOTHELL.


jennifer rose said...

Um, if you were so upset with the service, as you should be, why did you even bother to tip?

Tancho said...

Man, you could have had a nice lunch somewhere else for $42 bucks. Guess the old saying goes, you get what you pay for, except for this time.
Too bad that they foisted their special menu when using the discount system, which assures that they make up for the discount, except that they lost a customer since I am sure you will never go back and tell other people how poor the place was.
Having been in the periphery of the hospitality business, I am amazed at how little thought is give by some owners about this kind of treatment and the kind of impact it has on future business.....

Mike Nickell and Cynthia Johnson said...

Hi Jennifer Rose - I had the same thought, but I felt bad for the server.

Hello Tancho! I'm learning that sometimes the companies that use Groupon are struggling for the coupons we get in the mail (here in the U.S.)... and they are not always the best businesses to chose from. On the other hand, yesterday we ate at Applebees (who honors Veterans and offers a complementary meal for all vets on Veterans Day - yeah, Mike the Marine) and the service and food were wonderful.

Steve Cotton said...

You have provided another good example of why I do not patronize businesses that issue coupons. With the exception of Pietro's.

Mike Nickell and Cynthia Johnson said...

Hi Steve! The funny thing is that I've already planned our next Groupon adventure - cooking lessons at Al Boccalino, an authentic Italian restaurant in Pioneer Square with owner/chef/friend and former manager of mine, Luigi DeNunzio! Stay tuned for should be good.