Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Can Can's Horrible Service; or Why A Great Wine List Can't Make Up For An Empty Glass

wine2 As a former waitress, I am simultaneously the most forgiving and the most demanding of customers. I understand the vagaries of bartenders, cooks, and busboys, and will make every allowance when the service gets a little rocky. I am ruthless however, when I think my server is incompetent or lazy--or both. I still can't punish a server financially--15% is the most insulting amount I'll leave (I could be wrong you know, about the laziness or incompetance, even though I'm probably not). I once strode out of a British restaurant, leaving only the change from my bill, after being simutaneously ignored and sneered at by my waiter for the duration of my stay. And I've felt guilty about it ever since even though a British waiter doesn't even expect more than that. He probably would have been even more contemptuous of me for over-tipping. But I digress. The service at Can Can is truly horrible--agonizingly slow with no apologies. Nevertheless, I'm convinced it isn't actually the waitstaff's fault. Somehow, I think the management has put into place a particularly inept system for getting food and drinks to the table. There seemed to be a whole lot of waiters and waitresses rushing around, so it couldn't be overloaded sections--our waitress was friendly and polite, if a bit distracted. The physical space is large--do they have too far to go from bar to kitchen and to table? I'm not sure. Perhaps it's some sort of communication breakdown between the three sections of the restaurant. I'm not the only one who's experienced bad service; it seems to be a universal complaint. Hopefully, these are growing pains. I really do like the staff and the vibe and above all, the food. My husband was less taken with the crowd of customers, but then he has a fear of pink shirts and khakis. I'm generally too busy drinking and eating in restaurants to notice the other people around me. My recommendation is qualified, obvously, but I plan a repeat visit in a few months and I'll let you know what I think. Oh, and by the way, the wine list really is pretty fabulous--as far as French wines go, that is.


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