Since Brent and I eat out here and there (and often at new restaurants), we thought it would be fun to review restaurants the same way we review movies.
This week we went out twice. I know that may seem like a lot, but we had things to celebrate.
The first was a trip to TGIFriday's in Provo. While I have really enjoyed my two trips to that restaurant in Sandy, this was a different story.
TGIFriday's in Provo was disappointing.
1. It's a bit difficult to find: behind Denny's, off a poorly-lit, poorly-labeled, long driveway that leads to the Marriot.
2. They were unnecessarily slow. We walked in about 8:15 and it was dead. It took about 10 minutes for someone to notice we were standing at the front. The waitress wasn't doing much but she came back infrequently. She was cordial but incompetent, messing up a request and neglecting to fill drinks, and EXTREMELY slow.
3. Not good with special requests. There was one food I wanted to get so I could share it with Felix, but it was only available as a full entree (southwest mac 'n cheese), no exceptions. I ended up ordering it to take home because I really did want some. The food was pretty good. Not spectacular, but not bad at all.
4. When I got the take-home stuff, I opened it to put the rest of the potatoes in with it and found that the food had been upside down.
I don't know if that meant they had just put the food into the wrong side of the container or if they had dropped it. Either way, it wasn't cool. They (all of the staff, including the manager and 3 or 4 lackeys outside washing the windows/watching) just didn't seem to care about our business.
Compare in stark contrast our experience last night at Ruby River Steakhouse, also in Provo.
1. Seated immediately, and when we made a special request for a table instead of a booth (baby belly gets cut off if the booth tables don't move), they took us back to the front so they could clear a special table for us (they have mostly booths but have a room of tables for big parties - in this case the party had gone but the tables hadn't been cleared yet) and then the hostesses entertained Felix the entire time we waited - about 10 minutes.
2. Our own room. It was off on the side, but there was absolutely no loss in service. Our waiter was attentive and competent. He made some perfect suggestions and the food was to die for. Because we were in the party room by ourselves, Felix was able to roam, completely content for the entire meal, which took us less time than it had at TGIFriday's.
3. The staff. One of those hostesses from the front happened to walk by and she stopped to see how we were doing, flirted with Felix for a moment, and went back to her duties.
4. The wait. At TGIFriday's, they take you to your table, and between taking the order and getting your food, the most you can get is a drink refill - if you're lucky. At Ruby River, they bring fresh sourdough bread to your table (hot out of the oven - you can tell it's super fresh). TGIFriday's was nearly empty. Ruby River was nearly full.
5. The cost. While Brent and I ordered more expensive foods at Ruby River, and I did order a third entree at TGIFriday's, the amount of food we got was nearly the same, as was the total cost. We ended up with a take-home container at both places, filled with an almost identical amount of food, and the total cost at Ruby River was actually less. As you might have guessed, we left a very generous tip at Ruby River (and about half that at TGIF), evening out the bills to the point of a $.16 difference.
For intensely better service, and for intensely better food (easily the best steak in Utah County), the clear winner is Ruby River. While we will continue to try new restaurants here and there, we'll pick Ruby River for the really special occasions. Yeah, it really is that good.