• Drew Swanfeldt

    I wanted to send a rather scathing ‘review’ of Nick & Sam’s from last Saturday night (8/29/2010).

    To set the background, myself, my wife, and my parents had reservations for 730pm for a party of 4 to celebrate my dad’s birthday.

    I openly admit that I have never dined at Nick & Sam’s and did not know what to expect, but after the experience on Saturday we all vow to never return. As I mentioned we had set reservations (made at least 3-4 days in advance by telephone) for 730pm. We arrived at the restaurant and were walking in the door right at 730 fully expecting a dining experience at one of the top restaurants in Dallas.

    As we waited in line to valet the car, we noticed the number of cars already parked in the parking lot, but really did not think anything more. Surely a popular Dallas steakhouse would have the ability to schedule reservations and make sure their customers were adequately served and had a good evening right? WRONG! After checking in with the hostess, there were quite a high number of people standing/sitting in the main entry way and the attached bar/wine cellar holding room. The hostess assured us we would be seated within 15-20 minutes so we had no real reason to worry.

    30 minutes later, we still had not been seated and had not heard a peep from the hostess, manager, or any other person on staff at Nick & Sam’s. All the while the number of people waiting with us seemed to increase along with the temperature in the waiting area. Looking for something to pass the time, we all waded through the sea of people to bar and ordered a drink. Little did we know, this would be the best part of the entire experience. After ordering and paying for the drinks we wandered back to the wine cellar/holding room and continued to wonder just how long we would waiting. All the while groups of 2 and 3 people were continuously seated and we wondered if they were ‘special’ or were just ahead of us on the list.

    An hour after we arrived (now 830pm) after talking briefly to the hostess, we were informed that we were 3 or 4 spots from the “next in line” and we should be seated in 15-20 minutes (sounds familiar doesn’t it)? We took this as a good sign and ordered a second drink from the bar. After returning from the bar and finishing our drinks, another 25 minutes had passed and still no table. We checked again with the hostess (the 3rd time since arriving) and were told we were the ‘next table’ on the list and should be seated any minute.

    Needless to say, that never happened. At 930pm (two full hours after we arrived at the front door) we started calling other restaurants looking for a place to salvage the evening. After a quick conversation with the Palm (which did not have any wait) we made the decision to go elsewhere. On the way out the front door and while we waited for the valet to bring the car up, we tried to talk to hostess and manager and ask why we were still waiting. The manager response was simply “we are busy, sorry” and then walked off.

    My question to him and to everyone else who waited on Saturday.. why in the world would you take reservations for people when you know you cannot handle the capacity? It’s almost as if Nick & Sam’s thinks they are are above every other restaurant in Dallas and can create an artificial backlog of customers and the inevitable wait list. I could maybe understand this practice if they were running a night club or something similar, but I was under the impression that Nick & Sam’s is a classy Dallas restaurant where you can find excellent steak and seafood dishes. At this point, I will never know how good/bad the actual food is and that’s ok.

    We walked into The Palm at around 940pm and were seated immediately. The host and our waiter took good care of us and our entrees were served no more than 15-20 minutes after we arrived which is great since we were all quite hungry. The wait staff and hosts also made sure our experience was awesome as they comp’d both bottles of Riesling that we ordered before and with dinner. Talk about a great surprise!

    To conclude, I’m sure I am just one more aggravated customer complaining, but my main goal is to help other people avoid the same trap we dealt with for 2 hours on a Saturday night. In the world today with Facebook, Twitter, and many other avenues to register complaints and provide reviews, I feel it is important for me to reach out to all of you to share our story and hopefully help others avoid the same mistake we made. I’m not saying Nick & Sam’s is bad restaurant or serves substandard food, but their customer service does not exist from my experience and they could learn A LOT from The Palm and many other Dallas restaurants about how to provide a fine dining experience to EVERYONE, regardless of last name, social status, the kind of car you drive, etc. The last time I checked, the American Express card in my wallet spends $ the same as anybody else, so I expect and demand to be treated the same.

    I hope I have have provided a quasi-clear picture of the thoughts and messages I want to convey to other diners who might be considering Nick & Sam’s.

    Thank you