CITY EDITIONS   

Blue Water Grill, NYC Restaurant Week

February 4, 2010

IMG_5566SMTried Blue water grill in January during Restaurant Week in New York. The special $24.07 luncheon menu offered choices that I learned are not (yet) on the regular menu. Interesting, tasty choices — too bad the service didn’t match the offerings

The waiter served our appetizers before he did our wine, and once we reminded him about the wine, he served that — a crisp Gustav Grüner Veltliner from the Wachau region ($24.07) — too warm to drink.  To make matters worse, IMG_5572Timothy brought our entrees and placed them onto the table while we were still eating our apps.

Timothy’s service aside (as that could and should be fixed), the food was worth it. We shared a delicate Heirloom Citrus Salad, including naval, ruby red grapefruit and blood orange a top a lightly dressed arugula salad with a shaving of cheese and a flavorful Scallop Maki, made crunchy with strips of crisp Asian pear.

The smoky grilled swordfish sandwich came with a nondescript slaw. Before ordering IMG_5570I checked my Monterey Bay Seafood Watch list and noticed it said to avoid imported Swordfish, with a good alternative US Longline, and the best choice US and Canada Harpoon, Handline.  So I asked the waiter where the swordfish came from. “Good question,” Timothy said, “I’ll find out.”

The grilled shrimp and spinach ravioli — our other entree — came coated with a delicate Meyer lemon emulsion. Too full to try dessert, we asked to have it to go. I’ll have to return sometime to sample the regular menu!

Now if only they could get that service right…

PS: I realized when I sat down to write this, that Timothy had not returned with the response about the Swordfish. In a follow up call restaurant, I was told the restaurant did not avoid imported swordfish, they just “purchased the best quality available.”

- bonnie

Blue Water Grill
31 Union Square West
New York, NY 10003-3203
212-675-9500
www.brguestrestaurants.com

Blue Water Grill on Urbanspoon

14 Comments on “Blue Water Grill, NYC Restaurant Week”

  1. Paul Says:

    I have no tie to this establishment as I have never been there, but you come off sounding a bit like a self-important petty jerk in this review.. just sayin..

  2. simon Says:

    wow. a self-important jerk is putting it nicely. i would go with self-righteous and pretentious! how dare you slander a server by publishing his or her name and where they work. you clearly have no regard for what is improper on a deeper ethical level. so why would i trust your judgment on something as superficial as the luxury of eating out. perhaps you should order in, serve yourself, and then critique the person doing that job; it seems to be needed more.

  3. Nancy H Says:

    Wow! Obviously you two certainly have ties to someone at this restaurant. I think this review is fair and balanced. Would you want to be rushed ? The writer pointed out good things about the food, bad things about the service and suggested to management that they deal with it. Training is what’s needed.

  4. Ted B Says:

    I do not have any ties to the establishemt or the waiter involved. The critique is insightful and gives good information about the restaurant and service. However, publishing the name of the waiter is pretty tacky. If you are going to call out the waiter by name for poor service at least give props to the chef (by name) for preparing the food you obviously enjoyed.

  5. Brian Says:

    I find it funny that the writer of this review gets to keep their anonymity, while clearly “outing” their server. I think that there are two important things that should be considered when making the choice to specifically name someone for bad service:
    1. Restaurants, especially large chains or groups like BR Guest, pay 3rd parties to scour the internet for mentions of their restaurant properties and then directly report their findings to management. Depending on the style of the particular management team, this can lead from anything from decreased shifts to out and out dismissal. I think you should seriously consider the consequences of using the internet as a shield of anonymity when making reviews and think of the person that you are libeling.
    2. If you (the reviewer) were unaware, in recent cases in NY State, the courts have subpoenaed a website to divulge the author’s information and allowed civil prosecution of said author for damages. If you’d like to read more a good case to look at would be Cohen v. Google. So I would watch what you post when it can lead to real damages to people.

    Personally, I think that the reviewer has a perfectly valid opinion. Where I disagree is in the naming of a specific person. And furthermore, the reviewer went out during restaurant week, which to any New Yorker that dines out regularly is a week where one orders takeout and skips the teaming unwashed masses….

  6. Bonnie Tandy Leblang Says:

    Thanks for all your comments – and thanks for pointing out we forgot to include the author. We’ve just amended that.

  7. Brian Says:

    Kudos to Bonnie for clarifying the authorship of this review. I was assuming that it would have been her, seeing as most of the restaurant reviews tend to carry her byline. That being said, I am surprised that Bonnie, being a food and beverage professional, would name a server by name for bad service when she would be aware of what the potential consequences for that server could be.

  8. RestaurantGeek Says:

    What a great debate! Certainly an interesting issue to say the least… When reviewing a restaurant, what is taboo and what is fair game? The battle rages! Though I’m sure there will be some opposing views, in my (humble) opinion, restaurants and people need to stand behind their service and their performance. There is nothing wrong with reporting on issues, be they good or bad.. with all names, dates and details accounted for. The server is not being personally attacked, but is being critiqued for poor job performance. Should a reviewer not name a restaurant by name if it has bad food or bad service? Should they not disclose the name of a food product that is being recalled, so as to not offend or slur the company? Should mediocrity be rewarded with anonymity? Not if we ever want to improve!

  9. Brian Says:

    RestaurantGeek-(quote) “Should a reviewer not name a restaurant by name if it has bad food or bad service? Should they not disclose the name of a food product that is being recalled, so as to not offend or slur the company? Should mediocrity be rewarded with anonymity? Not if we ever want to improve!”

    I agree with you on the fact that disclosure within a review is warranted in all of these aspects. Where I disagree with you is obviously in actually naming the service member that you feel gave bad service for a couple reasons:
    Firstly, when you are naming someone specifically in a public forum you are endangering their livelihood both with that particular restaurant and their future employment. They could be fired (and in this market, that is highly likely) and potentially barred from employment at other restaurants due to the dissemination of your review.

    Secondly, in what other realm but the service industry does someone completely divorced from the intricacies of your profession get to judge your job performance. Would you appreciate it if someone came to your job on a random day(possibly a bad day for you) and critiqued you publicly for how they perceived your performance to have been and what they felt you did wrong? Granted all service professionals are basically signing up for this exact thing, but most people would approach a member of management to have the particular staff member trained/mentored on how to improve and let the issue be handled internally, not posted for the world to read.

    Bad service happens, it’s part of the reality of the industry. Sometimes it’s avoidable and sometimes it’s not. If one wants to review a restaurant and considers the service they received to have been sub par, it is the entire restaurant’s fault and not the individual “face” of your table. Did the bartender not chill the wine properly and make the server wait to receive it causing it to show up after the app course was served? Possibly. Was the kitchen rushing out the food even though the sever had placed that table on “hold”? Possibly. Did the chef not have the info on where they were receiving the swordfish and blew off the server’s request for the information? Again quite possibly. Was the management not properly supporting their staff during a busy lunch during the hell that is restaurant week? Yet again possibly. Therefore, it is in almost any case wrong to publicly name and blame a service professional in a bad review, a restaurant as a whole for bad service: yes. individual attack on one singular person: no

  10. RestaurantGeek Says:

    Such great conversation! Thank you Brian for your measured and thoughtful response! I love this website! You make very valid points.. and just a few more for the discussion.

    Name Disclosure – I would think that it is likely better for the server in question to be ‘called out’ in an online global community, rather than directly to their boss’s face, which would seem to truly endanger their livelihood. I would (personally) rather be complained about online than in person to my boss!

    Critic’s Credentials – There are countless examples of people ‘divorced from the intricacies of a profession’ that still get to critique. Most any news pundit that critiques the US president has no idea what it actually means to run a country, but should they not voice their opinions? AND, in this case, the critic is seemingly very well-versed in the intricacies of food service, at least as well as anybody else that might critique a restaurant.

    Bad Service Happens – True, and it very well might not be the server’s fault, as you’ve pointed out. That being said, the restaurant owners/managers will also be aware of such things and should certainly take all reviews of their servers/service with a grain of salt (considering all the factors you yourself have pointed out).

    Great points and great discussion!

  11. Christoph Says:

    I have to agree the Brian above. I have no tie to this restaurant but a similar thing happened to me with a school I used to attend and have very close ties to. A few parents got disgruntled and started to flood a school review website with scores of negative reviews on the school. This site is the first thing which comes up on google when you search the name, even before the school’s website itself. This means any prospective student or parent is firstly greeted with the anonymous rantings of what was in fact a small group of people trying to make it look like they represented an army of people angry with the school. I alerted the site did get the site to remove these false reviews, though at the moment the first couple lines of the deleted reviews still show up and these people continue to persist in reposting the now deleted reviews they wrote.
    That is why I feel for the server in this situation. While this review is of course a valid statement of opinion and I don’t disagree with it existing here, but the crazy thing about the internet is I feel people far more often than not take what they read on here as gospel. Do you think prospective future employers of that server, if they come across this, will take time to consider whatever his side of the story might be? They likely would have a lot of applicants and hardly interested in delving into the details of one bad encounter, they might just choose to completely pass on him instead. I don’t want to say there was a concerted effort to libel the waiter in question by using his name, someone with the power of restaurant reviewer on a blog must consider the inordinate amount of power they wield when it comes to effecting public opinion. Another problem is the inability to interpret the author’s tone over the internet- because for example I read the exchange over the swordfish related here, given without a conclusion in the body (just a PS which looks like an afterthought) makes it appear that story was related just to show the waiter’s ignorance, or at least portray him as such. This is when things give the appearance of getting a little bit personal, whether or not that was intended. I feel criticizing the waiter is entirely in a reviewer’s right, but naming names should be reserved for a private call to the management and not to be put on public display. It simply isn’t fair to him, unless you offer him equal room for a rebuttle to tell his side of the story. As I reader I don’t know him any more than I know the reviewer, but since you carry the cache of reviewer the average reader will feel automatic sympathy with you and not whatever might have been going on with the server.

    RestaurantGeek- I find it absurd that you think giving a name on the internet is better than going privately to the manager because it will endanger his livelihood because guess what! As pointed out in an earlier comments restaurants are often having these reviews sent to them so it is more than likely his boos has or will find out, thus endangering his livelihood at that restaurant. Unlike in the case of him just being told privately though, the word is out to EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET including any future managers, thus endangering his livelihood ANYWHERE. Was your most recent post satire because I literally cannot understand how- if you messed up at something- you would prefer the entire world being told likely including your manager instead of just your manager. You go on to say “…the restaurant owners/managers will also be aware of such things and should certainly take all reviews of their servers/service with a grain of salt”, yes but guess what- regular old diners are not managers and therefore will not take what they hear with a grain of salt. So you are basically saying instead of telling the manager, who might understand the situation better, it is preferrable to run around and tell the world who won’t be so understanding for the sake of the named server involved. Surely there is a better way!!

  12. Brett Says:

    This is a very interesting debate, but I have to side with those who say the server’s name should not be used. I used to work in restaurants myself, in a lot of different jobs, and I gave this some thought. While I agree that the criticism of the service is entirely warranted and should be a part of any good restaurant review, the use of the server’s name is uncalled for, problematic, misrepresentative, and possibly libelous. The internet is not a void into which job criticism can be written with no negative consequences for anyone. Also, a server can wait on over 3000 tables in the course of a given year. I used to be a good server, but I’d be lying if I said that I gave every single one of my tables good service, although it was never for lack of trying, it is simply a statistic impossibility to do so. Sometimes people were unhappy and there was nothing I could do to make it better. It even made me angry knowing that I didn’t do well on a given table. There’s a lot of factors that contribute to service beyond one employee, as has been said above. Say the bar runs slow or runs out of something, the server must wait for that beverage item before they can deliver it. Poorly chilled wine? Not the server’s fault either. Food delivered early? Also not necessarily the server’s fault, although it could be. To take your one experience with this server and blow it out of proportion seems a little over the top. Whereas someone remarked earlier that they would rather be called out randomly online, I’d rather be called out to a manager because you can settle the problem in house, as opposed to encountering a negative PR situation on the internet, something that could certainly cause this person to lose their job unfairly. The reviewer is entirely unaware of the factors of service and may also be misrepresenting the normal regular job that the server performs, as well as laying all blame for everything that went wrong at the feet of the server. Some other questions I would ask: Did the server make helpful suggestions? Did he keep your waters full? Did he mark your table correctly? Did he keep things clean and organized? Was he friendly and hospitable? How was his overall appearance?

    This is not to mention, the server you’re criticizing I’m sure did not consent to having his name posted on your blog or having his service criticized in a public forum. That and it’s strange that the reviewer would choose to publicly criticize the job performance of a named individual when they probably don’t make more than $30,000 a year. What other field faces this sort of job scrutiny?

    That all being said, a well written review, nice comments on the food. You are a good writer. You just need to think about these things before posting.

  13. nancy t Says:

    interesting none of you chimed in on the other restaurant reviews on this site that also mentioned the wait staff by name … Some accolades, some criticism.
    Seems balanced and fair..
    I stand with my original opinion that many of you who commented are in someway connected to the Blue Water Grill

  14. Brett Says:

    Nancy, I’m not sure I understand your response. You didn’t want to respond to anything we said? That’s too bad. It’s just a discussion and I think a lot of people made some good points on both sides.
    I’m not connected to Blue Water Grill and I’m not a regular reader of this site (but I’ve been here once or twice before). That’s not even important. As a person who used to work in the service industry, I do find this to be an interesting topic and I’m always up for a good debate. A friend of mine linked me to this and a friend of his showed it to him. I don’t know where it started. Even if anyone here were connected to the restaurant, just based on a lot of the things said in the review, the server would certainly have a right to be angry, respond, and defend himself against this sort of thing. He probably even has the right to ask that his name be removed from the review.
    Why would we talk about reviews where waiters were named in reference to accolades? It doesn’t really have any relevance to the conversation at hand. Specific individual praise in a public forum is obviously quite different than individual derision.
    I think the largest point I want people to take away from this is that your waiter is not the Governor of New York. His job does not invite personalized job scrutiny in published form. Read any newspaper restaurant review and you’ll notice a pattern: they don’t typically name people unless its a manager, owner, or chef. They judge the whole and lay criticism at the feet of the operation, not the staff member. As I said above, a waiter can take over 3000 tables in a year.

Leave a Comment

Posting Policy

Bite of the Best encourages our readers to comment on and review any products that we write about. Please express your opinions in a mature and civil tone of voice. We will not post rude or otherwise inappropriate material on Bite of the Best. We look forward to your comments and reviews!


− 3 = one

< Back to Previous Page