This will be a relatively short post. Why, you ask? Because I never actually ate here.
Deciding to try a new place without recommendation can be tricky, and hopefully will end well. However, it doesn’t always. This is such a tale. With a restaurants.com voucher in hand, a reservation, and excitement at venturing to a place I hadn’t been, we arrived at The Broiler. Located at 1201 K Street, across the street from Ella, The Broiler is within the doors of the hi-rise at 12th and K and is associated with Gallagher’s Irish Pub. Its location is great… next door neighbors with the IMAX Theater, and super close to the Convention Center and the Community Center Theatre. I’d been wanting to eat here for a while, even though it is a steakhouse; their menu includes one vegetarian option and a few more for the pescetarian. But knowing that it’s an established place in Sacramento, with a history of serving folks since 1962, I was looking forward to the experience.
Upon arrival at a fairly full waiting area, we went up to the hostess station. It was vacant, so we waited for the maitre d’ to appear. This would be the first stop in an evening of waiting. We waited. And waited. The station is right next to the “bar,” a five or six person bar area that looks more like a place holder than a real bar, so there were plenty of people walking past who could have stopped to ask if we had been helped. Indeed, the hostess station is in the main thoroughfare between the kitchen entrance and the dining room. After waiting for almost ten minutes, I was going to give them one more minute before leaving. Someone must have heard my thoughts, because with about 30 seconds to go, the maitre ‘d appeared. I’m not sure if he was also the GM, manager, or otherwise in charge. He told us it would be a little bit before we could be seated. Thirteen minutes later, we finally were shown to our booth. With apologies, he said they were very busy and made awkward small talk, asking if we were celebrating anything. Valentine’s Day, was the reply. With surprise, he said, But it’s not until Tuesday. With my own feeling of shock, I was surprised he thought that it was unusual to take the weekend to observe a holiday that fell in the middle of the week. But whatever. Now that we were seated, menus opened, wine decided on, I was trying to put aside the annoyance I felt at having to wait, then wait some more, followed by the weird conversation. I was excited to try out the scallops, have some oysters and champagne and enjoy the meal with a bottle of voignier. But can you guess what happened next? That’s right, kids, we waited. We waited another fifteen minutes before anyone came by to fill our water glasses. Meanwhile, the table across from ours and the booth adjacent had been cleared, cleaned, new patrons seated, and drink orders placed. Still, no one had so much as stopped by to say a server would be by soon. Checking the time, 7:50, I was willing to give them ten more minutes… 7:56, 7:58, 7:59… 8:00. And we were out of there. We had been in that restaurant for 45 minutes and the best they could do was pour water… once.
In fairness, I do plan on trying them out again. Perhaps it was an off night, or they hadn’t planned on it being as busy as it was, though I find that a little hard to believe, given the fact that I saw at least five or six empty tables as we walked out. Plus, any restaurant in that location really should expect to be busy on a Saturday night.