Saturday, January 06, 2007

Out of Maple Syrup? Try Honey! (or, More from the Grill Art Cafe)

In my recent 100th post, I cited the Grill Art Cafe as my surefire choice for the Worst Restaurant of 2006. It looks like I am not alone! Check out these reviews from Eric's Hampden Links, Baltimore City Search, and Yelp.com (there's a Yelp.com?). Apparently, the service is endemically, epidemically bad, with the proprietors occasionally substituting one ingredient for another, very different one (No, they'll never figure out this honey on their French toast isn't maple syrup!), making you wait for many, many minutes (30 to 45 is not uncommon in these bad reviews), and yelling at you when you walk out after not paying for food that was never given to you, probably not even ordered (two people had this problem).

It would not be so strange if one or two people had this experience, or if the restaurant had an off-night. But I've read at least five different reviews spanning three different years on three different websites all saying the same thing! And my own post makes it six reviews on four websites. Oh my word, this place needs to shape up or go away, if it has not already closed down.

UPDATE: Nope, it's not closed down. In fact, two friends of mine had brunch there on Sunday. It was a better experience than any of those mentioned above, but I got the impression it was about average.

UPDATE 2: It's 2009, and apparently they are still pissing off at least some customers. Maybe they're trying to shape up, I don't know, since they're still above 75% on Urbanspoon.

Grill Art Café on Urbanspoon

9 comments:

Zenchick said...

I had my worst-ever dining experience there. 2004. Waited FORTY-FIVE minutes for butter for my bread (and had to ask FIVE times). Food took hours. When we politely told the owner about this, we were met with a blank stare. I grew up in restaurants (my dad was in the biz, and I've served myself)--I took that blank stare to mean, "I don't care. Don't come back."
So I haven't.
Sorry you had that experience...but not at all surprised.
Surprised they're still open, actually.

Baltmore Snacker said...

From the sound of things, I actually had a much better experience than everybody else, which is sucky because I had a very bad experience.

danielle said...

I live in Hampden and I've never gone in there as it doesn't look very inviting. As you've confirmed my sidewalk impression, I'll stick to Golden West Cafe and other locations.

Baltmore Snacker said...

Glad I could help LOL ! Yeah, that's probably a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Ate lunch at Grill Art yesterday knowing nothing about the place. Food and service were fine and since I had to leave quickly I figured my bill would be under $10 and left a $2 tip on the table. Walked up to the counter, asked for the bill, which my waitress said came to $9.35, and handed her $10. She said "do you want change", and I said yes. She handed me the change, and as I walked out smiling I heard her say "so you don't leave a tip?" I turned around and stared her straight in the eye and said "it's on the table". Glad to know it wasn't just me.

Cheryl said...

I work in Hampden and just "discovered" this restaurant yesterday (as Golden West had a wait for tables - no surprise). The food was so wonderful (gazpacho and a meaty chicken salad w/tarragon and capers) that I felt compelled to return for lunch today (salad w/roasted vegetables and pesto), finding it equally excellent. Yum!

John said...

If this is the same Grill Art Cafe, then I am amazed. That or you caught them on an oddly not-awful day.

mr. pants said...

actually i have to say that i've never had a bad dining experience at Grill|Art. I've been quite a handful of times, and it has always been a pleasant experience. I have found the wait staff to be friendly and the food to be delicious, and on-time. I have taken friends there, my family (my mother loves it!) and i'm planning on asking them to show my art and help me host an opening.

I'm sure that all of those things have happened, but i've only had VERY pleasant experiences at Grill Art.

volcomflwr said...

Last night we bought gift certificates for Grill Art from restaurant.com anticipating an enjoyable evening with our friends. The service was horrendously slow (almost 60 minutes before we were served our dinner). The food wasn't even that good, my bread was stale, and the shrimp thai sauce was from a heated bottle of $1.99 sweet chili sauce that you can buy from the korean supermarket (stay away and go back to golden west cafe!!) When we paid the bill, we used our certificate. There were 6 of us and all of us signed our bills and put a 20% tip on it (forgetting we had used the certificate). The waitress named Elisa (which I think is the same one everyone else has had on all the reviews) came back to us and asked "was there anything wrong with my service?" We were all a little surprised and caught off-guard. We all replied "of course not" and that was when we realized we had made a mistake and tried to correct it. Instead, the waitress replies with a curt "NO NO I TAKE PRIDE IN MY JOB. I JUST WANTED TO KNOW. THIS IS HOW I MAKE MY LIVING." Not only did it make us uncomfortable, it also made the table behind us get up immediately and leave. We left a couple extra dollars out of embarassment, but really we should not have after how we were treated. After we got up from our table (and the waitress noticing we had left extra money), told us in a contrived manner "have a good evening! go ravens!" We were incredibly irate when we left the place. The old owner guy didn't even say sorry or address the problem. never ever again. stay far, far away from this place.