Monday, October 5, 2009

Bad Online Local Restaurant Review Roundup

Generally speaking, I like to try and point out the positive aspects of a restaurant in my reviews if I can, and if the place is rotten enough, I won't even bother to do a write up. Customer review websites like Trip Advisor or Yelp are full of user-generated commentary about many of North Idaho's eating establishments, and people can be brutally honest in relating their bad experiences. Disgust, disappointment, diarrhea. You name it.

Some of these armchair reviewers rant for no good reason and some are completely spot-on but either way, I always enjoy reading the complaints of the "man on the street." Seems almost no local eateries are immune from persnicketyness. For your amusement, here are some random highlights I've come across.

Restaurateurs, take heed. The people have spoken.

By the way, just out of fairness, I'll reprint some of the best GOOD reviews in an upcoming post.

Angelo's Ristorante, Cd'A
"The decor can best be described as having been put together by a prison arts and crafts class having met a Jo-Anne's Fabric fire-sale. (Not the best layout for clausterphobes like me). Oh - and I've heard the same soundtrack now each time I've been there. It's Sinatra (odd), Italian opera (too heavy) - and whoever sings, "That's Amore" (a little cliche, no?)... Make a good place great - fire your decorator, find some merry Italian tunes to play - and let your restaurant be a blank canvas so your food is what leaves people talking..."
-Elite '09, Yelp
Azteca, Cd'A
"Worst enchiladas I have ever had (no flavor and on the cool side with unmelted cheese) and to top it off, when I mentioned it to the server, he said he would talk to the manager. Then, he came back with the check and no word about the enchiladas. When I inquired, he said that was how they were and blew it off. We did not leave a tip (for other reasons too like no drink service until we kept asking). Don't waste your time or money..."
-Kathleen S., Yelp

Bardenay, Cd'A
"The service is average to downright terrible. When you walk in, 90% of the time there's no one at the host/hostess stand, and twice we've even had to get up and get our own utensils wrapped in napkins. The place is notoriously understaffed or staffed with young kids that know not what they're doing. Forgive them Father. My last debacle was with a group of 8 martini fanatics. Each of us had like 3 drinks, and they're not cheap, so the bill was running probably $200 - $350. At 9:00 p.m. the waiter tells us he's going home and we now have to move from our table to the bar if we want service because no one will be doing table service from here on. We took this table because it's winter and we're in front f the fireplace. Are you kidding me!? The tab is still open, and this group is just getting warmed up. We ended up settling the bill and walking out, to another establishment that wanted to keep it's customers.
-Bordan B., Yelp
The Beacon, Cd'A
"The bartender is kind of standoffish, and he'll serve you some kind of blush if you don't specifically ask for red, and he doesn't pour Guinness properly. He probably can, he just doesn't do it for out of towners because he's kind of passive aggressive. He has to let you know where you stand somehow. I'm just speculating about this last part."
-matthew r., Yelp
Bonsai Bistro, Cd'A
"My husband ordered a Patron Silver Magarita and the waitress brought him a platinum then charging us $75.00 for the drink. Even after we asked them about it they refused to change the charge and I was embarassed as the bartender yelled obnoxiously over the dinner crowd about the situation. Loud enough for him to be heard from the bar all the way to our table on the upper level near the far window. Coming to find out he was the manager as well I wasn't likely to want to discuss it with someone who sounded like a drunk making idiot of himself. The food was basically an exact copy of PF Changs and it was a shorter drive than Spokane, however, after this experience the longer drive sounds lovely."
-Panda_200SX, TripAdvisor

"My girlfriend has Celiac Disease whiich means she is allergic to gluten. More and more restaraunts are catering to people with food allergies, The bonsai has a gluten free menu which was perfect since we were staying across the street. After ingesting half an order of GF lettuce wraps the waitress showed up and indicated we were given the wrong ones. Nice! Here's the capper... no manager ever showed up to apologize and all they offered was to take the lettuce wraps off the ticket. Yes my girlfriend got sick and yes you should avoid this place if you're gluten free, they don't really care."
-rdrr7, TripAdvisor
Brix, Cd'A
"Fancy interior with poorly designed lighting. I had a difficult time seeing my friend across the table! The service was lame. Two people at my table ordered soup. They ran out of soup, served one person at my table, but not the other. 15 minutes later she got the waiters attention, asked about her soup and he explained. Was he hoping she'd forget? The food was bar food dressed up - pretty, but still fried, fried, fried. I wouldn't recommend it."
-Scottie H., Yelp
Cafe Chulo, Cd'A
"I recently went to Cafe Chulo and Im guessing that Chulo in Spanish means crap because it was like eating crap. I mean no disrespect if Chulo is the owners last name but it was terrible. Obviously the Chef doesnt try his own recipe unless he or she likes eating crap. We didnt tick anyone off so we know that wasnt it. I would recommend Cafe Chulo to anywho who like to eat crap. I know its Idaho and good Mexican is scarce (not really), but they could at least try."
-Joe, Yahoo! Local
Canton, Cd'A
"We had the lunch specials ($6) and they were cheap but abominable. This definitely takes the cake for the worst chinese food I have ever eaten. Chow mein = pieces of little long crackers. Pork fried rice = rice sprinkled with bacon bits. Lo mein = tasteless noodles with soy sauce. Almond chicken or lemon chicken = questionable meat heavily breaded with a 1/3 inch of crust. But perhaps I have different tastes than most. I will admit, that the waitress was very nice. So I feel bad about writing this honest review."
-MH, Yelp
Casa de Oro, Cd'A
"Went to this restaurant for the first time with my wife and two year old son. We asked for guacamole and after we were half we threw it I realized I was chewing on a staple and a small piece of paper. After informing the waiter, he told me that the paper was from the package they use to make the guacamole, as if it may have happened before. I am not sure if they also often have staples in there food? It was fortunate it was not my two year old son who was chewing on it! My wife and I were turned off our food after this, yet what we did eat was still not particularly good. We would recommend you do not visit this restaurant, especially if you have children!"
-disappointed d, Insider Pages
Cedars Floating Restaurant, Cd'A
"The menu items were mostly $25+ and there wasn't much on the menu at all. Definitely no variety. The menus them selves were flimsy printed paper menus which had no aesthetic value at all and napkin coasters seemed to be the method for the drinks. The parking isn't all that great for the amount of patrons that visit the place and the road to get there might as well be a bombing range for what its worth. The road is frost heaved, lumpy and pot holed all the way down and has 2 speed bumps. Be sure to drive slow. I found the day I went to make the reservations that on a windy day the cross winds that blow over the gantry leading from the parking lot down to the restaurant can certainly knock u down if you are not careful."
nomad7742, TripAdvisor

"Didn't even make it to the actual meal!!! Planned to eat at the Cedars with the family, but left immediately following the appetizers. Not only did we have two bugs in the drinks we ordered, but the waiter was not apologetic and did not even mention he would provide a drink on the house. Rather it appeared as if the occurrence was quite common. Furthermore, our shifty waiter had no idea what anything on the menu was, could not tell us how often they got their fish or when the last delivery had arrived. Upon checking, he provided an unconvincing explanation that the fish had just arrived. Our appetizers were bland and had clearly been frozen. Drinks from the bar were absolutely pathetic, especially given the prices. All in all, an unclean place with a shifty and disinterested waitstaff and sub-par food. Better bet to go into town somewhere. If this place has been in business for 30 years, they have clearly had the chance to get it right, but have failed miserably"
bigtimer78, TripAdvisor
Chef in the Forest, Hauser
"None of our food was very good. The potatoes and the smoked trout were bland and 2 of the 4 steaks we got were so tough and full of gristle that we sent one of them back. What was amazing was that the manager argued with us and ended up making my guests feel bad about it. I wouldn't pay McDonald's prices for this food, though McDonald's food does taste better."
-dane lowry, Google Reviews
Dockside, Cd'A
"This is probably one of my least favorite places to eat in Coeur d'Alene. The first time I went here they burned my entire families food I was very unimpressed. I decided to give the place a second shot much to my demise. My friends and I stopped by for lunch only to have one of the worst dinning experiences of my life. The waiter put us in the far back of tthe room even though there were plenty of tables open. This table was so horrible! I mean the window behind me had duck tape around the the frame to close a gap in the window. This is at the Resort which is suppose to be high end, suppose. The waiter was quite the snob to me and being one myself we ended up silently fighting each other. Then my food again was terrible. Plus the whole place is ugly, it's so unpleasant to look at. The patterns the colors everything is wrong."
-Logan-Ayers, TripAdvisor

"Had to request the server to wash off the sticky residue around the table...she said the staff cleans everything once a week. Once a week? How can a "World Class Establishment" only clean their dining room once a week??? Especially as the restaurants looks out over the lake & marina with huge windows letting in the sunlight! Then there was the shrimp cocktail...tiny, mushy, (maybe canned)room temperature shrimps piled on cocktail sauce & lettuce with here and there pockets of horseradish all served in a metal cup shaped like a martini glass. No silverware to eat this glop so we had to use our regular forks and put it on to our bread plates...what a terrible presentation! This type of shrimp is usually only used for a Shrimp Louie salad. This was followed by a Cashew Chicken Salad with very few cashews and the most awful, sour, dressing. Even the chicken tasted like canned, processed in water, fibrous cubes. What's so difficult about roasting a real chicken and cubing the meat for a salad at a supposedly "5 Star" Resort? The other person ordered the Firecracker Shrimp in Vodka Sauce, he managed to eat about a third of this but was up all night with an upset stomach. This wonderful repast cost only $65.00..."
-Sam2u, TripAdvisor
Fisherman's Market & Grill, Cd'A
"The owners and staff need a refresher course in customer service. First, serve people in the order they arrive. That means that a sushi order sitting there for 10 minutes already takes precedence over an order from someone who just sat down. Second, if you failed at number one, and the customer complains, don't make it worse by getting a snotty attitude. Instead, just apologize and make it right. DON'T lecture the patron about sushi requiring "patience."
-L, Google Reviews
Fleur de Sel, Post Falls
"What a huge disappointment. The "pro shop" decor left a lot to be desired but the hostess was awful. Contrary to urban myth most waiters / waitresses in Paris and the French countryside are friendly. This woman lives the myth that you need to be extremely rude."
-toodw, UrbanSpoon
G.W. Hunters, Post Falls
"Walking in G. W. Hunters reminded us of the Ace Ventura movie where Jim Carey looks around and says "What a lovely room of death." My wife, was visibly taken aback at these 'trophies' on the wall and while I would not decorate a restaurant with them they did not really bother me...I tried the elk burger since our friends highly recommended it. Elk like buffalo are both lean meats and should be cooked slowly so as to not dry them out. This was not the case it was grilled over high heat and ended up dry, chewy and tasteless."
-Steven T., Yelp
Hudson's Hamburgers, Cd'A
"Avoid this place if you don't want to get sick.... First time in look for the pan of raw burger meat on the counter and cheese and raw veggies right next to it. I worked in Coeur d' Alene for a number of years and never saw them wash their hands or refrigerate the meat. High prices for a simple burger without fries. Don't even think of asking for a shake."
boyerbl, TripAdvisor

What a disappointment. After hearing for years, "You HAVE to have a Huddy burger!" I couldn't wait. My wife and I entered the crowded closet of a place, and finally found adjacent stools. When we were seated, we watched as the cook pressed out paper-thin burger patties and served them up Belushi-style (NO COKE! PEPSI!) Our burgers were thrown in front of us unceremoniously, as we were asked, "Drink?" with the air of, "Time's wasting, tell me what you want, quick." To drive this point home, people behind us were impatiently lined up, shifting their weight from one foot to the other, so they could have their shot at the trough. Certainly it would all be worth it when the wonder-burger hit our lips...Nah. Plain old paper-thin burger in an assembly line atmosphere."
justagoodmeal, TripAdvisor
Iron Horse, Cd'A
"On our way in, the door was blocked with people putting up holiday decorations. When we were seated there were 3 boys from about 10 to 14 yo shouting accross the room to one another about the decoration project. Then a woman started sweeping the carpet (with a straw broom not a sweeper), kicking up dust close to us and other patrons. That was enough for me but my wife, the forgiving soul, was hungry so we stayed. Synopsis: hair in salad; late, almost cold food; at times perfunctory service; no offer of consideration. When I pointed out the reason for zero tip to the cashier I got this vacuous, so why tell me look."

"Stopped in on our trip from Missoula to Spokane last week (after reading about how great the crab cakes were on this board). Bartender/waiter was wearing big old baggy shorts with his underwear hanging out. Fly was half unzipped. Grungy shoes with no socks. Carried his order book down the back of his pants. Blech. Bathroom was disgusting. Doors don't latch and half falling off. Toilets didn't flush (finally, after the third try, which explains why the toilets in the other four stalls weren't "clean").We had one drink. No way I'd eat there. Can't imagine what the kitchen looks like. *shudders*"
-Karol 221, Virtual Tourist

"We sat down to order and there was only ONE waitress on staff running between the bar and the cafe. She took our oder and it took 50 minutes for it to get to us! Which is ridiculous and we were trying to entertain our two children this entire time. When our food came out it was COLD! The plates were warm, but the food was COLD and the kid's fries were solid as rocks. It is obvious that they now are catering more towards the bar aspect of the business, and leaving the cafe in the rust. Our bill was $42 and we got CRAP in return! We will NOT be going back!"
-Beezer, Judy's Book

Japan House, Cd'A
"I am a sushi lover. Japan house has the worst sushi I've ever encountered. The rice was dry & undercooked, the seaweed wrapped around the rolls was chewy, and it was $8 for an order of tempura green beans. Their idea of an "order" is TWO BEANS!!! I live around the corner and was soooo happy to have sushi coming in within walking distance of my house. I'd rather walk across the street to the MouseTrap and have deep-fried mushrooms."
dbarrelracer, TripAdvisor

Las Palmitas, Cd'A

"My family ate here on vacation and the food was OK but the service was terrible. Very unfriendly servers and when I asked for plates for the chips - they handed me the plates to pass around the table! Strange!"
-Deb, Urbanspoon
Oishii Sushi, Sandpoint
"The wait staff was dressed in red dress shirts, black slacks and black fedora hats, OK got the gangster theme. I went to the bathroom, because I figured that the theme would be carried throughout the entire place, I was wrong. The men's bathroom was a boring tan with a sink and toilet, not even a gangster toilet (whatever that could be). Now that the style was all taken in, lets get to the food. Unfortunately, the only thing more bland than the bathroom was the sushi."
-Jason S., Yelp
Panhandler Pies, Sandpoint
"I was surprised when people in our party wanted to order pies, they were out of almost all that were ordered. Is this not called Panhandler PIES?? The pieces that they did have came out so tiny and very sad looking. My three year old makes a better looking pie! "
-Elite '09, Yelp
Perkins, Cd'A
"I took my wife out for what was suppose to be a nice dinner on her birthday. We had to wait almost 40 min for our food to get to the table. when it got there my cod and shrimp dinner had one small cod fillet and six small shrimp and cost more than 10.00. When I said something to the cashier all she said "I guess next time you should go some place else" . I would not recomend this place to anyone ."
-randyluthi, InsiderPages

Rancho Viejo, Post Falls,
"I ordered a margarita and they gave me a much more expensive one. When I asked about it, they said they don't offer the one I wanted even though it was on the menu! Also, my pregnant wife ordered a virgin margarita and they put alcohol in it, and claimed the mistake was OURS! No apology or anything. We're never going there again."
-coachjsl, Google Reviews
Takara, Cd'A
"Three of us went to dinner at Takara, and three of us spent the next 24 hours on the toilet with diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain. We should have left the restaurant after we noticed our sushi chef was not only making our sushi, but also picking up a pen and writing orders, handling receipts, etc., without washing his hands before returning to the sushi. The sushi itself was decent, but the sanitary conditions of the restaurant are highly unsatisfactory. We will NEVER eat here again!"
idahobug, TripAdvisor
Thai Bamboo, Cd'A
"The Thai Bamboo is Spokane provides passable Thai food, but this one in CdA is awful. TheIr Pad Thai tasted like it was made with KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce, without even a hint of peanut sauce. The green curry sauce was OK, but anyone who has eaten real Thai food will not enjoy this restaurant."
-Arunkun, Urban Spoon
Tito Macaroni, Cd'A
"The second time we ate there, they were slow, slow, slow. We were starving, so it really was like torture. The bathroom situation is so very inconvenient, as you have to go out into the shopping mall, walk a ways and go down a flight of stairs. Plus, it is hot and stuffy down there."
Yami, TripAdvisor
White House Grill, Post Falls
"I think the words from the 8 year old that was dining with our group are telling - he called his meal "garlicky slop on a plate". Service was good, bread was over-proofed and tasteless, pasta horribly overcooked, chicken and lamb dishes were also overcooked and dry, lamb was very greasy, and the sauces were very thick, almost pudding like with garlic being the only flavor that stood out. Without trying to be too rude my comment to my wife was the dinners were like "Hungry-man meals gone horribly wrong."
-RetiredChef2, TripAdvisor


Anonymous said...

Pau Pau's - Hayden, ID.

Avoided the place for years after I was totally ignored by the owner. Have tried it twice in the last 6-8 mos. My first experience was pretty much repeated. You are treated like you are a bother when you walk in the door. The food itself is very bland and pretty much flavorless. Almost as flavorless as Moon's Mongolian BQ in Post Falls, but that is a different story.....

Anonymous said...

Is there any place in Northern Idaho that has fabulous food, good service and owners who care about their clients????
joana in Post Falls????

Anonymous said...

Any "one" single person can flame a good restaurant, sometimes out of ignorance and sometimes out of selfish spite. Most any one of your "reviews" could be made up or done by (to be kind (a rarity) and say the least) unqualified restaurant reviewers. And if you are successful, sadly there will always be some haters. I found some of your so called "reviews" that you picked downright mean and with way to strong of words to be picked for posting. I felt really bad for some restaurant owners. Yes mine was listed but fortunately not deconstructed or called crap like some actually were. When you bring a new restaurant to town and offer competition and more choices for the locals this is a good thing! Why not look at the thousands who vote in reader's poles for a balanced opinion? I know from personal experience that fortunately there are many nice people who want to help restaurants here in North Idaho get better. Can't you do something a bit more positive? For every restaurant you listed a bad post I am sure that you could find some good one too. Running a restaurant (which ahem, includes giving people jobs) in this economy is not an easy task I assure you.

Anonymous said...

Just last night I went to Texas roadhouse in Coeur d'Alene I ordered a country fried sirloin. The "sirloin" was paper thin and the gravy tasted terrible. After the first bite I sent it back and would have maybe reordered but the manager insisted that it was my fault it was too salty to eat and that next time I came in to tell them not to make my food too salty.