Dave, the menu seems to have changed a bit since was there, so I can't recall everything, but we had the Chopped Live, Pork Cheeks, Bone Marrow, brick chicken, brussels sprouts and a salad that is no longer on the menu, as well as the sticky toffee pudding (to die for) and pot de creme.
What did you order, Marcy? sounds like they did a nice variety looking at the simple to more complex dishes. A good test of a new place is if they can correctly cook their proteins and here it sounded like they missed the mark.
No cocktails or dessert? All your entrees were beef? I actually loved the Commoner but I think we tried more variety than you did.
We are weekly regulars, as a family of four and as a couple for over the past year... so we know The Saloon from good to bad from both perspectives.
This last week, we met the "Manager", unrequested. He harassed my dinner partner and myself with a condescending tone regarding a sandwich that we order nearly every visit, which happened to be just last Sunday, in which we had great service (she must have worked at a steak house somewhere and SHOULD be the manager, her name is Erika, thank you Erika... and she was rewarded with a 30% tip. Prior to the plate landing on the table, the waitress commented on its appearance.
We both agreed with her, tasted it as per our request to be nice, and sent it back to the kitchen as she recommended it prior to us tasting it. It came back to the kitchen in the same condition, supposedly "remade"... which by that time, my sandwich was cold from waiting, in which I kindly requested it to be reheated if that was possible.. We have also ordered the same sandwich from about a dozen other Pittsburgh restaurants.. we know what it's supposed to look like and taste.
Not to mention, our order was delivered wrong. My offered sandwich toppings were not on the sandwich. And my dinner's partner side was completely wrong.
So I complimented the waitress, I told her that she was great. She told us that she did not know what was going on in the kitchen and that she was sorry for the third or fourth time... something that the "Manager" could learn to use in his vocabulary.
So after the second sandwich landed on our table, and we decided not to eat it. My partner and I agreed to simply leave and eat elsewhere. We were planning to pay for our drinks, and tip the waitress, and simply leave as we did not receive the food that we ordered...
Then the "Manager" came out.. a loose cannon that has no business even working in an establishment. He harassed us, we showed him the sandwich, a smooshed example of their culinary art that "his guys worked so hard on". He did not understand the concept behind keeping customers, "you can get it right 6/7 times a week, but tonight you got it wrong, and we are not paying for an ill-made sandwich". Those were my words.
We even politely called over the waitress to mediate his attitude that had no firsthand experience in our situation.. as she was readily available for us. She flipped her story, so the sandwich and kitchen that was off in her opinion was suddenly on their A game tonight. I guess the three to four prior apologies from her was also none of the "Manager"'s concern.
He threatened to call the police and told us that he never wanted to see us again. This was after he personally insulted myself for having a couple of light beers...as I was "welcomed back to enjoy drinks since I enjoyed them so much." I told him that a personal insult was unnecessary and with that, I also advised him to attend a management school and that we will not pay for our meal. He then harassed us more, asking us what was wrong with my sandwich.. at that point I was done. I simply told him that we were not paying because of the way he treated us.
The staff illustrates the faces behind the business. The Saloon would be great in the right hands, but it's in the wrong hands, run by people that may have over 30 years of ownership, but zero concern for their customers nor any competence in organizing and managing their business. And that lends itself to a less than mediocre ambiance, low food quality, and inconsistent service... hence the 3 - 3.5 star rating seen around the Internet. And the 5 stars... they had Erika and no "Manager" presence nor drinks from the bar. Not to mention, the bartender has little competence in mixing drinks, hence the long beer list. Save some money, fire the manager and the bartender.
After walking half a block home, we changed our clothes from our traumatizing, filth of an experience from our lovely, family friendly neighborhood restaurant, and headed to the Walnut Grill, where we sent back the sandwich only once (thanks to a kitchen error on the order), there were only smiles and no threats. There's a reason why Walnut Grill has several locations, the ambiance is killer, the service is stellar, the drinks are mixed the correct way, and the food is just as edible the next day, because it's that great to take home.
IF the owners were savvy and recognized that they live in 2015, they would know that this review alone can hurt their business by up to 20% or more. I hope it does.
A $8.99 Sandwich and incompetent service.. lost a tab + tip which was going to be paid.. weekly patrons.. and has initiated an interview with our dedicated lawyer.
Going to Emil's and not ordering the fish sandwich is like going to Vinnie's and ordering a salad !
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