Good food. Bad service. Hmm…what wins out in the end? This past weekend we went to Olenjack’s Grille in Arlington to celebrate my future mother-in-law’s birthday. I was asked to pick a new restaurant for the family to try and I remembered relatively good things about Olenjack’s. The first time I stopped in was shortly after they opened and my thoughts were that the menu was inventive, if not a little random, and the dishes I tried were quite good. The only real complaint I had was that it seemed like the servers just didn’t care. I shrugged it off as opening jitters and figured that with a little time to work out the kinks, this independent restaurant could become a gem in Arlington. Apparently, I was mistaken. I’ll warn you that things get a little ugly after the jump…
We had a 5:15 reservation, as they told us it was the only time they could accommodate us, and upon our arrival they weren’t ready for us yet. Mind you, there was no one else in the restaurant, so it’s not like we were waiting for a table to open up. After waiting for almost 20 minutes, another large party came in which they preceded to sit before us. Finally, the hostess came over and asked us if we were ready. Umm…yes, we’ve been ready for 20 minutes, thank you. She turned and led us to a table in the very back of the restaurant without saying another word. No apology for the wait. No explanation.
Our waiter introduced himself and then preceded to hold a long piece of paper in front of his face and read the specials at a pace so fast I still have no idea what they were. Dude, at least hide the paper in your notepad and pretend this isn’t the fist time you’ve glanced at it. A few of us could barely contain our laughter, though it didn’t matter since he was too engrossed in what was written on the scroll to notice. It only got worse after that. He brought us a glass of wine, instead of the bottle we ordered, and then forgot to order not only one of our appetizer salads, but also my fiance’s entree. Really? You have no other tables! I’m not being harsh. Trust me, I was a server for many years and I know things happen. But this was just one thing after another. He barely apologized and didn’t even have his manager stop by the table. It was ridiculous.
Truth be told, I’ve met chef and owner Brian Olenjack and he’s a really talented guy. He’s developed an interesting menu that offers something for everyone and it works. But the bottom line is he needs to get it together and decide if this is a fine dining establishment or a run-of-the-mill restaurant. If they choose the latter, fine, but he should still consider retraining his wait staff. Seriously, I’ve had better service at Chili’s.