Friday, May 20, 2011

Town Point Club - Norfolk, VA -Teetering on the brink of a break up

Have you ever loved something because of what it once was? Perhaps you see the potential of a glittering diamond underneath the rough exterior. My husband and I have a running joke about the three phases of relationships, based on both our unfortunate and fortunate cumulative experiences.

Phase One:
(I also call this one “The Honeymoon Phase.” )
Everything is perfect, wonderful, beyond compare. No faults exist and none are noted. Bliss.

Phase Two:
Some Issues, but minor ones. You will tolerate these inconveniences because:
a. You have a strong memory of Phase One
b. You know the other options out there
This phase includes things like leaving up the toilet seat, minor breeches in etiquette, annoying laughs, burps, farts, and etcetera.

Phase Three:
Nothing but Issues. You have no remaining memory of Phase One and are busy planning your exit.

Does this apply to Restaurants? Absolutely!!! As much as I hate to admit it, I believe that I am teetering on the edge Phase Three with the Town Point Club…and it is killing me. Why? Because of what once was and what I know could be if they would just get their act together! My husband and I have been going here for almost ten years. I still miss Lynnwood Craig’s smile and his tableside stories while prepping the best Caesar Salad ever. Town Point is a club. You pay to be a member and you gladly do this for the EXPERIENCE. It is one of the few dine dining experiences remaining in Hampton Roads, but if I am honest, I have to admit that it has been in Phase 2 for a while now. Let me relay my last visit….

I make 7pm reservations for dinner with two other couples for a celebratory dinner. We decided to arrive early and enjoy some cocktails in the bar before dinner. Not knowing I had made reservations, my husband called the restaurant at around 5pm to make sure we had a table. He was told that we had a reservation, which was a good thing as they were booked for the evening.

Highlights of poor service experiences for the evening:

1. When we arrive the hostess is eating potato chips out of a bag. Really?!

2. In the bar. (The bar is empty.)
a. We walk into the bar at about the same time as another couple in our group. We need to put two tables together in order to seat all 6 of us. No one helps. Ladies in dresses and heels, men in suits move tables.
b. The tables are dirty. I mention this loud enough for the bartender to hear since she was obviously visually impaired and did not notice that NONE of the tables were clean. No effort is made to wipe the crumbs and scum off the table. I do so with my cocktail napkin.

3. The meal. We are seated promptly at 7.
a. The place is empty. There are maybe 4 other tables all night and a wine tasting party on the deck. Yes, glad we had that reservation!
b. We all order varying assortments of appetizers, soup, salads, entrées. A bottle of red wine for the men and a white for the ladies is ordered.
c. Big time lapse until food arrives. Big. It is approximately 8:30 before entrées hit the table. Although wine glasses are filled, no one ever suggests another bottle be ordered when it is gone. Too bad. We would have jumped on it.
d. I love the old school way entrées arrive covered, placed on the table, and then the covers are removed in unison to sounds of ooohs and aaaahs. Too bad. Half the entrées arrive and are uncovered. Since our mamas’ raised us right, we all sit and wait for the other half…about 10 minutes. Jeez.
e. The meal is good. She crab soup was outstanding. Everything else is good. Not knock your socks off, mind bending, culinary wowza; just good. I ordered Rockfish, which I adore. This was not the best I ever had.
f. Our server is awkward. I don’t know how else to describe her. Maybe she was new? There is no polish, no finesse. She lacked a certain confidence and professionalism you would expect with a fine dining experience.

4. After dinner drinks and dessert.
a. I am the last person at the table approached to order after a resounding run of “coffee please”. Not me. Gimme some of that dessert! I order dessert AND a Bailey’s on the rocks. Okay, now everyone has a brain surge and changes their orders to drinks with a little more zing than coffee.
b. The wait. Holy cow. Forever. I am dying. It is late. Drinks have long ago been served and consumed. I want my pie dammit. Don’t come between a woman and her dessert . I approach Ms. Frito Lay at the reception area because the waitress in MIA and say, “I am begging you. Please have someone bring out my pie.”
c. I can’t even remember what the pie was now. Just that I was tortured waiting for it.

5. My favorite quote of the evening…
“For your convenience we automatically add a 20% gratuity……” Right, of course you do.

Definitely Phase three. Since it was such a great group of friends we all had a great time, but it was more in spite of the club,than because of it. Should I break up with Town Point Club? Can they change? Do they want to? I go there about once every month or two for their lunch buffet and it is outstanding. The service at lunch is very solicitous and accommodating and the food is always delicious. What in the world is going on when the sun goes down?



casualgaymale said...

Wow, what a dissapointment to hear about the TPC. I use to manage/tend the bar in the late 80's, early 90's there and i remember Mr Craig, great man. I then went on to manage the dinner theatre at the Omni International Hotel, and then opened the Waterside Marriott, a supervisor in Stormies Pub, maybe i should return!

Laine and Alex said...

I have been there several times since this review. They are consistent. I just don't understand. It is a DINNER CLUB for goodness sake. Why is their service so horrendous?