by Tina Siddle on
My one-star rating of Tao is based on the service that my coworkers and I received there last night - service that was bad enough to ruin our entire dining experience and completely overshadowed the good food that we were unable to enjoy. We were sure to arrive on time for our reservation so they wouldn't give our table to someone else, but two members of our party were yet to arrive. The hostess told us to have a seat in the lounge because she couldn't seat us until everyone arrived. The rest of our party arrived about five minutes later, and we proceeded to wait for our table for about another half an hour. When I finally approached the hostess to check up on the status of our table, she very rudely told me that we should have come and gotten her when the rest of our party arrived (i.e. we should have done her job for her). She told me that she had booked another reservation for our table at 7:30, so we would have to be sure to be finished by then. ...Are you serious?... I have worked in several restaurants - as a hostess, waitress, and bartender - so I've been behind the scenes and can say with total confidence that THAT'S NOT HOW IT WORKS. Sure, you might put a reservation at a certain table ahead of time, but if the previous customers at that table aren't finished with their meal by the time the next reservation rolls around, you find a different table to seat the next reservation at. It is BEYOND tacky to put your customers' table on a timer, ESPECIALLY for a restaurant of the price point and supposed quality of Tao. After ordering a couple rounds of drinks and appetizers, we placed an order for our entrees. A few minutes later, the hostess actually had the nerve to come over to our table and started attacking me about how "we had made a deal" that we'd be finished by 7:30 and how now she'd either have to: a) cancel our entree orders, b) tell the kitchen to rush-order our entrees and she'd "give" us 15 minutes to finish, otherwise c) she would have to relocate us, mid-dinner, to the crowded lounge area where we would be allowed to finish our meal. Our response to all three options was 'no', so they continued to hover over us, urging us to hurry up and finish, then neglected to offer dessert and preemptively brought us the several hundred dollar bill. Classy. All I have to say about my dining experience at Tao is ew, ew, and EW. I don't care how elite and important your restaurant thinks it is - your paying customers are the reason that the employees have a paycheck and the reason the restaurant continues to exist. It is the restaurant's job to accommodate their customers, because that is what their customers are paying for. Tao's ignorant, shallow method of maintaining an elite image - being rude and unaccommodating to their customers - proves that they are entirely unworthy of a classy and elite clientele. New York City has plenty of other lounges and restaurants to choose from that ALSO offer customer service, so do yourself a favor and go to one of those instead. I won't be back.