Friday, 12 May 2006

Udupi Cafe – You Can Taste the Apathy

I want to be able to recommend the Udupi Cafe – but I can’t.

The first time we ate there, I was coming down with some sort of headcold so, that one’s my fault. The second time was with a whole bunch of people who loved it. Everyone else raved about their dishes and I got the distinct feeling I ordered poorly. So, maybe I’ll take that one as well.

But tonight – it’s all on them.

We got there early – 6:30-ish and were immediately seated. Maybe 3 or 4 other parties throughout the restaurant. After our water glasses were filled, we waited. And waited. And waited. No acknowledgment from the staff we were even there. Let alone ready to order. Plenty of staff standing about talking to each other.

As we debated whether or not to leave, I caught the eye of the Water Glass Filler and asked – more frustrated than I should have let on:

“Do we have a waiter?”

He didn’t hear me.

“Can some one take our order?”

Five minutes later, the person who seated us and handed us our menus was there with a notebook in hand. He was also quite unfamiliar with the menu – at points giving us the “I don’t think we have that” look.

While we were pondering if in fact our food would return, we timed the attentiveness of the staff to the other patrons. Another young couple was seated behind us and Jen started the timer.

10 minutes, then 15 minutes, then 20 minutes without anyone acknowledging they were there – ready to order or otherwise.

I again caught they eye of Water Glass Filler and asked him if it’s normal to wait this long for service.

He didn’t understand the question, so I told him the table behind us had waited more than 20 minutes for service.

“It’s really busy tonight.”

Yes, the couple left shortly there after. Unserved.

A quick search shows I’m not the only one, back in February, Shree declared:

“Tasteless Food, Pathetic Attitude , Dirty rest room”

The food tasted fresh and I didn’t checkout the rest room, but tonight the apathy was palpable.

I suspect the lack of service has something to do the federal indictment of the owner on aiding, abetting, and harboring illegal immigrants earlier this year (Google cache).

Amazing that 90 days after reopening, they’re acting like they’d rather not be.