At the risk of finding a horse’s head under my sheets tomorrow, I go forth with my not-so-wonderful experience at Big Fish Italian Restaurant, 620 NE 78th Street, just east of Biscayne Blvd., in Miami.
Many restaurants don’t open on Monday’s. We understand. Restaurants need to rest too. However, if you’re going to open on Monday’s… expect clients.
First we drove by Blue Collar. It was closed. Then we knocked on Pinch’s door and it was closed. Next, we drove to Mina’s on 79th St., yep, it too was closed. As we headed back to the Boulevard, surprise, there were cars in the Big Fish parking area and their front door was open. We arrived at about 6:30 p.m. which is early for us.
The first sign of a potential problem was loud arguing coming from the small kitchen. Eventually a bustling waiter noticed us and found us a wobbly table in the patio. Five couples were already seated there. Now I admit, 12 clients is hefty for one waiter however everyone was enjoying wine and cocktails and seem mellow enough.
The menus and glasses of water came quickly enough however that was the only thing that came quickly that evening. Once seated, we overheard more arguing from the kitchen. A bottle of oil and a bottle of balsamic vinegar were set on our table, but no bread. We waited. The one and only waiter rushed from table to table, took orders and returned to every occupied table to take the same orders a second time. At some point bread did arrive. We felt that it would be wise to put our simple orders in as soon as possible. KISS.
I ordered the Salmon topped with toasted almonds, on a bed of mashed potatoes with a tiny side of wilted yet tasty spinach ($29). My dining partner ordered the tuna and pasta ($25). More waiting. At last our meals arrived.
I know fish. I eat fish every day. My fish was fishy. My partner’s tuna was properly done and did not taste fishy. Wine was out of the question because we calculated that it would never reach the table in a timely manner while we were dining on our fish selections.
The couple at the next table paid with a credit card. The waiter returned their card and told them that it was not accepted, much to the client’s surprise. Their bill was well over $100 so they both dug deep to come up with cash.
More patrons arrived while we were waiting for our bill. I overheard a young man order an Old Fashion. Upon returning to the bar I noticed the waiter searching the Internet for what seemed to be the recipe for an Old Fashion. I suspect the Old Fashion was out of fashion when it finally reached the clients lips. More couples wandered in and to no surprise, were practically ignored by the busy, flippant waiter. We paid with a card and guess what? The card according to our waiter was also not accepted. We too, had to dig for cash.
Upon leaving, I actually witnessed the waiter shoo away a bar customer who was taking up two barstools. He gave the barstools to a couple who had just arrived. Clients seated behind us, who were already there when we arrived, finally received their orders as we were leaving, over two hours later. No salt, no pepper, no bread, no refilling of empty water glasses, no smiles or thank you for a 20% tip for lousy service, no credit card acceptance and on and on and on. If you’re going to open on Mondays…hire extra wait staff!