Monday, July 20, 2009

(un)Happy wedding anniversary dinner- Malbec

Traditionally for a the 1st year wedding anniversary a gift of paper is given. The options are endless. We contemplated the idea of taking a trip or even a freeway series game for the occasion. Initially I wanted to make a sweet gift by hand but it took some serious patience and an extreme amount of time. As a full time mom and wife I barely have time to keep my own appointments. Looking ahead to the rest of the year and the home renovations engulfing us in the months to come, which involved major paper $$$ in itself, we chose to go out for an early dinner.

This would be our first time out together without nugget for several hours so choosing to dine in town was a must. Malbec, a fairly new argentinian restaurant, was referred by numerous Chow Hounder's and received high reviews and praise on Yelp. Sounded perfect. I had high expectations. My husby made reservations several weeks ahead of time. We were set for a 3:30 dinner reservation.

As we walked up the shade covered concrete of Green St., we could see through the windows a dining room filled with people. Thank goodness we got there early, or so we thought. We arrived 15 minutes prior and could not find a host(ess) at the restaurant station positioned on the sidewalk. A 4 top was ahead of us and was waiting for a host(ess) too. They were finally acknowledged but had them wait just a few minutes more while they acclimated the seating area.

Meanwhile, we were not being helped even though we were recognized. I was tempted just helping ourselves sit at one of the several available tables on the outdoor patio. At approximately 3:40pm I walked inside trying to flag any of the employees. The gentleman who had helped the family ahead of us looked up and I asked him if there was anyone who could help us, we had reservations for 3:30 and had been waiting outside for several minutes already.

More minutes pass by and it was clear that this dining experience would be a long and hellish one. I spotted the first flag. I should've walked back out to our car and gone someplace else. I should've yelled, "Eff this!" But I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. I came up to a busboy clearing off a table and I asked him if we could just seat ourselves to the clean and empty table out front. He gestured to do so and 20 minutes after our reservation time, we had sat down.

Our waiter came to our table without menus and asked us if we were ready to order. Oh, and apparently our names were not on the list of reservations for the time we requested. I called several other restaurants asking about their current wait times hoping we could get in for a better experience. No such luck. After he apologized for the confusion, we were on track with ordering our meals; two appetizers, a bottle of wine, two waters and our entrees. Maybe things would turn around??

Our bottle of wine arrived first, a full bodied Malbec.

Then arrived our bread with chimichurri dipping sauce. 15 mintues later arrived our single order of empanadas accompanied by a small side salad. There was miscommunication with the order and we ended up receiving two orders instead of one.

We devoured a whole basket of bread in no time. Refills please!

The couple who had arrived before us were placing their dessert order and next to us a yelp couple was being seated and placing their orders. We dropped in on their conversation to hear that they too had hear great things about this place. For their sake I had hoped that they would having a better time.

Half a bottle later, more bread and you guessed it, another half hour passing by, our "starter" of Costa Patagonia, a dish of shrimp, calamari and scallops in a red paprika and garlic sauce, arrived. The dish was bland and screaming for acid.

Excuse the mess, we were HUNGRY!

My husby said how it would be hilarious, given our luck, if we ended up consuming the entire bottle of wine well before our entrees arrived. Sure enough we emptied the bottle, mind you finally receiving our waters (thank god), before we ate our entrees. Joking aside we were very disappointed with the lack of service and lack of warmth that reviewers had praised Malbec so highly for. We did not get that whatsoever. Even the yelp couple kept looking at their watch and waiting.

Finally over two hours later from the moment we sat down our entrees arrived and the couples' next to us did too. Interesting. However the couple waiting on their dessert, did not get their sweet treat still.

The ribeye steak

Overall we were completely dissatisfied with our time spent. The food paired with the horrendous service made for an unpleasant evening and would not likely return. We wanted to have a romantic time with outsanding service but only got poor service. If I could turn back time I would choose someplace else to dine.

When we were ready to go (three hours earlier) the couple who have been here longer than us have just gotten their dessert. Here's my review. I'd hate to read their's.

1001 E Green St
Pasadena, CA 91106-2404
(626) 683-0550



EatTravelEat said...

This is so unfortunate! The food plating looks good but I am sad to hear that not only was the service and wait times awful, but the food wasn't good either. How will these places stay in business?

I wonder if the dessert couple and the yelp couple wrote reviews yet! This should be sent to the management.

Mrs. Donato said...

Their ratings have been slipping lower and lower. it's unfortunate because they seemed to have lost of potential. I was really pulling for an extraordinary experience