I swear it’s not that often that a restaurant pisses me off. Yet, here I am, bitching twice in just over a week. It was Coal Vine’s performing a cream cheese/goat cheese Folger’s-style switcheroo that did it for me last week. This time it was Sambuca Uptown, a restaurant I honestly had low expectations for in the first place. But it was my sister’s birthday and that’s where she wanted to go, so I called to make a reservation for a rather large group at 7 p.m. Luckily, when I called, the woman on the phone added that she likes to tell large parties in advance that while we are welcome to bring in a dessert like a cake or cupcakes, they do charge a $30 fee for this. Thirty. Dollars. Oh Sambuca, you are not La Duni. You cannot sell me a completely heavenly cake for $60 and therefore have the right to penalize me for bringing in homemade cupcakes (how stupid do you have to be to bring cupcakes to La Duni!?). Anyway, a swift text to my sister’s roommate nipped that thought in the bud. No cupcakes tonight, ladies! It’s her birthday? Too effing bad! In the end, we didn’t even see a dessert menu.
Anyway, we arrived on time and were led through the restaurant to the patio. Sambuca is a large establishment, and a band was setting up to play. Promising! Once outside, we were among at most 3 other tables of uptown diners. Big table, plenty of room. Looking good.
The problems during our evening at Sambuca were simple yet vast and even, yes, disturbing. A mostly MIA waiter, zero attention to water glasses, and lots and lots and lots … of waiting.
We left there at nearly 10 p.m. Before we left, at least three of us mentioned something about the service to a staff member. One girl was told our waters would be refilled promptly. Didn’t happen. Another was promised that the manager was coming out to “talk to us”. We didn’t wait around for that. Just getting our elusive bill and finally being handed our final bunch of receipts was painfully tedious. As a dislcaimer, since we were a large party we paid using 4 or 5 credit cards, but the rest was cash. The patio wasn’t busy enough for this to be a problem. We heard a few appologies on our way out; it was almost like the entire waitstaff knew we’d had a shit experience, yet like a bad dream, nobody ever came to our rescue. The more word spread about our ill-treated table, the more everyone seemed to ignore us. When the hostess who seated us apologized for our bad experience on our way out, I just said “Okay, thanks,” and kept on walking.
The food was mediocre at best. I did enjoy my skinny strawberry mojito, which I would normally be a little hesitant to order, but I took a chance. My favorite part was when our first waiter (oh yes, because we tapped a second one after waiting far too long ready to order our entrees) admitted he didn’t care for any of the cocktails on the menu. He recommended “a beer or scotch.” And he works at Sambuca?
I know it’s pretty ridiculous for me to write a bad review of a place like Sambuca. After all, I received the “Lookin’ for Love” badge from Foursquare just for checking in there. But my self-declared duty is to call it like it is, and let people know not to waste their money on average food and shitty service. So there you have it. My pizza was bar food at best, and the samosas were fine, but small. 2-bite samosas. $1 per bite. Boo. At least at the uptown location you’ll find a noticeable lack of cougars. There’s your silver lining!
Maybe the 360 in the name of their Legacy location refers to a spinning motion, as in down the toilet. Too mean? Oh well, I suppose I won’t be going back there any time soon so we’re cool.
Foodbitch is an expert eater and published food writer who lives in Dallas, Texas with her exceptionally well-fed twin daughters, husband and their dogs. She’ll tell you what to eat and you’ll like it.