Jean Georges–A painful lesson in how not to treat your customers

Bottom Line: This is definitely one of those over-talked about and underwhelming places. If you are only going to drop 3 digits at a restaurant in NYC–skip this one.

The Maitre D’ reservation screw up:

I walk in and the maître d’ give me immediate attitude as though I am lying about having a reservation. WTF?  She tells me nope, I don’t have one. Okay, I’m a former auditor. I don’t make mistakes like this, lady. I checked the confirmation email before I left my apartment and printed it out. I booked the reservation via opentable.com. So I got an email saying I have a reservation. I hand it to the maître d’ and she dismisses it saying it’s OPENTABLE and I have to talk to them.

The maître d’ is god awful to me. She insists that I called not once, but twice to change the reservation. I never dialed the damn number. And she tells me I called at 10AM–I don’t get up until 10AM and I don’t speak before 10:30 AM. Then she tells me I switched it to Thursday.Um, problem –I booked a trip to Newport in February leaving Thursday morning so I won’t be in the freaking state of NY for my alleged reservation which I did not make. She disregards everything I say insisting the computer doesn’t make mistakes. I’m guessing however a human being making minimum wage typed this info into the computer and might possibly have made a mistake. Maybe? Nope. It’s me. I’m wrong.

I was treated like trailer trash. I calmly explained that I did not call nor did I receive any calls from Jean Georges but she insisted it was in the computer, which meant I was lying. Then she told me there were no tables for at least half an hour. So evidently when a reservation is via opentable, the restaurant takes zero responsibility and blames the customer. I was told to call opentable to resolve the problem. Can you say BAD SERVICE? I had to ask for a manager (which I was not allowed to speak to), but I was told a table was magically ready so there was no need to speak to a manager. I took the table, but the maître d’ ruined the dining experience. I have never been treated so poorly in my life.

I would never recommend this place to my friends. I had heard so many nice things about it, but nothing can make up for treating your customers like they are the scum of the earth and like a reservation mistake on the restaurant’s side is my mistake. Bullshit. Absolute bullshit. I should have left. But you see eating lunch at this craptastic place was on my to do list before I moved out of the city. So I stuck it out. But it was a miserable experience. They should hire people with basic people skills to handle the front desk. Don’t call your customers liars or treat them like criminals. It leaves a bad taste in their mouth and ruins the meal.

What amazed me (after working  in financial services and consulting for 10+ years) is that anyone would treat a customer this way. Mistakes are made in life, but you have to take ownership of them and make it better. Don’t blame other people when clearly the screw up is on your end. Don’t tell someone we decided this is your mistake and you’ll pay for it, when it clearly is not their mistake. Don’t accuse customers of lying. The only person fabricating stories was the maître d’. Why would I show up on a day I don’t have a reservation with a printed confirmation showing I have a reservation? It blows my mind. It defies logic. I hope I never have to deal with such incompetent unprofessional people again.
The restaurant:
The wait staff were pleasant and professional but after being treated like dirt, called a liar and repeatedly blamed for the reservation mistake made by the restaurant, I really had trouble enjoying my meal. The food was tasty although more salty than I would have liked–I had foie gras brulee and my friend had the tuna ribbons.  The bread was good–I had the sour dough. For our second plates I had the veal and he had the beef tenderloin. The desserts were delicious and our waiter thoughtfully worked around my friend’s food allergies. the dessert was tasty-I had the chocolate and my friend had a sorbet. The complimentary marshmallows and macaroons are a nice touch. The waiter did his absolute best to make this a nice eating experience.

The ambiance is very minimalist. I felt like I could have been anywhere.  Honestly, expectations are set so high by other reviews, I felt very disappointed by my overall experience. I would advise going to the Russian Tea Room or Petrossian or Nobu over this place any day.  I’ve never had a problem with opentable reservations there.

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