Food & Drink

Grand Island Seafood & Steak House - *BAD EXPERIENCE - long story*

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  • Feb 5th, 2006 5:49 pm
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[OP]
Jr. Member
Feb 20, 2004
127 posts

Grand Island Seafood & Steak House - *BAD EXPERIENCE - long story*

You know how they say that all you need is just one bad experience to ruin your perception of something? Well, that's exactly what happened last weekend at Grand Island Seafood & Steak House. For all of you that don't know where it is, its located in Markham on Kennedy Rd. north of Steeles Avenue - in that little plaza on Carlton Road to be exact.

Anyways, so I was there for a birthday party with about 13 of my friends. The reason I chose to book reservations there was because I had a good experience the first time I visited and I really thought it was the perfect place to celebrate the occasion with my friends. First impressions count for alot these days and since I was impressed the first time, I expected no less this time around. I thought the food, service and overall atmosphere were great. A perfect place to take someone on a date or a birthday. Although it doesn't look like much from the outside, it actually has a classy/fine dining type of feel to it when you are inside. I called it a "hidden gem". All this is accentuated by the live music that is performed by a lone musician who not only sings but plays the keyboard as well (and who calls himself a "professional" but more on that later).

Reservations for our group was at 8:00pm, so naturally some of us got there a bit earlier and some of us came a bit later, but I would say the entire party of 14 arrived no later than 8:30pm. By the way, we were seated right at the front near where the musician was playing, and since we had a big group we were split into two tables. I guess it was a busy night that Saturday because it was so difficult to even flag down one of the waiters to take our drink orders. When they finally took our orders, it was a while until they brought them to us. We were of course all starving and ready to order the appetizers and the main courses, but it wasn't until probably 9 pm that they finally came around to take our food orders.

I think a majority of the group ordered the $20 1 1/2 pound lobster, some of us had the $25 sea bass, and the more adventurous tackled the $30 lobster tail/steak entree. The appetizers probably took about half and hour to arrive, and the main course probably took another half an hour for the first table to get theirs. Finally by 10pm we were just getting into our food (it took 1 hour from the time we ordered and one friend of mine didn't get her lobster order until 10 minutes after). However after waiting so long for the food and starving at this point, I was a little disappointed with the size of the portions. The general feeling was that the steamed/broiled lobster dish with the little bit of garnishing on the side was a little less than filling, as was the sea bass. I didn't really notice this the first time I came (when I ordered the lobster), but this time I did. You want to know that you're getting good value for your money but I wasn't feeling it at this point.

Despite all of this, we were all having a good time, chatting up a storm, joking around, cracking jokes, telling silly stories and the occasional laughing fits we had were all in good fun. Since we were up near the front near where the music was playing, we had to naturally talk a bit louder in order to hear eachother over the music/noise. The live music was playing throughout the night and the musician belted out hits that would make our parents/grandparents smile. Also the occasional "happy birthday" was sung by him when requested by any tables that were celebrating one. Mind you, the majority of the clientel there were older patrons probably in their 40's and 50s so I guess the music catered to their likes which is understandable. I myself don't mind the occasional oldie if I hear one.

I'd say it was around 10:45 when we all finished our meals and the waiters came around and gave us the dessert menus. We were still having a good time with our jokes and our laughter. And THATS when it happened. The music stopped and all of a sudden out of no where, the musician at the front blasted my group for being too "loud" all night. A few of us thought he was actually joking but he truly wasn't. He said that we were ruining his concentration and that he was a "professional" and couldn't perform because we were making too much noise. He wasn't discreet about this either, as he pretty much said all of this over the mic with his voice rasied so my bet is that almost every table in the restaurant heard these comments loud and clear. Not only were we embarrased by this, but also shocked because we really didn't think we were being excessively loud - only loud enough so we could hear ourselves over the music. What a birthday. I didn't know that you weren't allowed to talk, joke, or have a good time with your friends at a restaurant but apparently at this one you aren't.

For the next couple of minutes, you could see the people from the other tables along with the waiting staff giving us uncomfortable looks so it was obviously time for us to leave. Unfortunately there was a 15% gratuity charge already on the bill because if it was my choice I wouldn't have given anything. I don't take anything away from the waiters because they were generally quite nice, but just a little on the slow side. However what happened was inexcusible and it truly ruined my view of this restaurant which I formerly though of as a "hidden gem". Now I think it should just be hidden away from people who want to have a good time.

I wasn't about to leave without letting the manager know how displeased and embarassed I was by the antic and that it was rude not only to myself, but also to all of my friends who came to celebrate my birthday with me here. So on our way out I asked to speak to the manager, and I was pointed to an Asian man wearing a suit and glasses. I told him straight up that we felt like we were embarrased by what the musician said to us in front of so many people and that we felt like we were disrespected in a way. You know what he did? Nothing. He just continued to count his money with a smirk on his face...didn't even acknowledgement my comment or apologize. The least he could have done was back his guy up, and say that he was having a bad day or something. But nope nada. Is that a smart way to run a business? Probably not as they would be losing at least 14 paying customers, and believe you me, I will be telling as many people as I can not to go there because obviously they don't care about you. They're happy they got your money already and that's that. It was only until I said that I would never come back again and that I would tell my friends and family not to go there as well, that he finally mustered up a weak "Sorry about that". But the damage was done already.

Sorry I just had to get this out and inform people. I'm sure many of you have had good experiences there and that's good. But for me, I had a good first impression of Grand Island Seafood & Steak House. But more importantly, its this LASTING impression that will stick with me and will be the impression that I will remember. And this is enough to make me never go back again.

Sincerely,

Seafood & Steak fan
17 replies
Member
Jan 10, 2006
222 posts
Markham
I am think the owner got switched or sthing, cause i live pretty close to it for over 10 years, and just lately ive seen them advertising on chinese channels. And before i use to see white folks theres. This is a good reason why you try to stay away from chinese owned resturants. Cause most of the mangers and staff act wayyyy too cocky. From what i heard, they use to be a pretty decent resturant wayy back. Guess new owner screwed it up. (chinese people are known to be cheap, hence the smaller portion)

fyi: iam an asian too, incase someone decides to flame me for pickin on them
Banned
Jan 11, 2004
19816 posts
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thanks for sharing your experiences, but i'll throw in my own two cents.

regarding portion sizes, if you ordered lobster that is 1.5lbs, what do you expect? you get what you ordered, if you wanted something filling, order pasta or something. and every place i've gone (especially a little finer) have smaller portion on fish than at say red lobster or some fish and chips place.

and since i was not there, i can't comment on your noise issue, but it must've taken a lot for the musician to finally not be able to take it anymore and ask you guys to be quiet.

yes, the music may have caused you guys to raise your voices but from my experience large groups of younger people (especially asians) are VERY LOUD and don't realize it. it's an annoyance, just on the weekend i was at a loud place (jack astors) and this large group beside us felt the need to laugh and talk as loud as they please, much moreso than any other group in the restaurant eventhough every body had to talk louder already to overcome the loud music

i'm not saying you were or weren't excessively loud, but just commenting for a performing musician to stop and ask you to quiet down, there is some basis of truth for their request.
Deal Addict
May 5, 2005
2206 posts
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next time you have a big party, maybe you should ask for a private room or go to a Chinese restaurant if you are Chinese. Chinese restaurants tend to be loud.

If you have a big group at a restaurant, be respectful of the other customers because they don't want to hear your stories and loud laughter.

Bluestone Bistro
4261 Highway 7 (Kennedy Rd)
Unionville, ON
Tel: (905) 475-6999
http://www.dine.to/bluestone

Gourmet food, Wine Spectator Award winner, Private Dining.

The Bluestone Bistro features an eclectic mix of international cuisine served in an airy
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May 5, 2005
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mr_smartman wrote:I am think the owner got switched or sthing, cause i live pretty close to it for over 10 years, and just lately ive seen them advertising on chinese channels.
most likely, it's the same white restaurant owner advertising to the Chinese community.

Chinese restaurant owner wouldn't hire a singer to sing in the dining room.
In June 2004 Grand Island Seafood and Steak House opened in Unionville and exceeded all expectations with it's fabulous location and elegant interior.

Featuring live entertainment Tuesday thru Sunday.


Grand Island Seafood and Steak House
538 Carlton Rd.
Markham, ON
Tel. (905) 479-5999
http://grandisland.sites.toronto.com/

Monday-Saturday
4:00pm-11pm

Sunday
11:00am - 11:00pm
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Aug 16, 2005
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D Funk wrote: I told him straight up that we felt like we were embarrased by what the musician said to us in front of so many people and that we felt like we were disrespected in a way. You know what he did? Nothing. He just continued to count his money with a smirk on his face...didn't even acknowledgement my comment or apologize. The least he could have done was back his guy up, and say that he was having a bad day or something. But nope nada. Is that a smart way to run a business? Probably not as they would be losing at least 14 paying customers, and believe you me, I will be telling as many people as I can not to go there because obviously they don't care about you.
Interesting story, this is why i love reading the F&D section :p
I went there once a while back and found the portions to be rather small, and overpriced for a restaurant that isn't super high class..

Anyway, like you said the clientele were in their 40-50's, the more quiet type so it is rather likely that you guys were disturbing the whole place in general as it is rather small :) .. as for the manager not doing anything, he would probably have his older clientele satisfied rather than cater to the younger age group (after all the older group is much more financially secure, and probably go there to eat on casual occasions rather than once-a-year type celebrations). The dude with the glasses was probably smirking because deep down he was thinking, 'who cares about these punk asian kids!' .. (not a personal attack or anything, but c'mon the profiling of obnoxious asian teens
is prevalent amongst the older crowd)

as keanefan said, just get a private room next time if you have a big group so you can do whatever the hell you want without getting btched at :)
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Mar 27, 2003
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I'll chime in about this restaurant. I'm not gonna talk about the OP experience there cause I think there are many ways to look at it.
My view of this restaurant is that it is a chinese owned restaurant that's a wannabe fine dining english establishment. However, the truth it.. it's just plain cheesey. I wants to be fine dining, but it is definately not. I would go further to say that the restaurant is rather cheesey...
The clientel is probably chinese people or old people know don't know any better. I remember the manager from there as well... he looked like a dick anyways...

Rant off.
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Aug 17, 2003
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Blunt wrote:I'll chime in about this restaurant. I'm not gonna talk about the OP experience there cause I think there are many ways to look at it.
My view of this restaurant is that it is a chinese owned restaurant that's a wannabe fine dining english establishment. However, the truth it.. it's just plain cheesey. I wants to be fine dining, but it is definately not. I would go further to say that the restaurant is rather cheesey...
The clientel is probably chinese people or old people know don't know any better. I remember the manager from there as well... he looked like a dick anyways...

Rant off.

THANK YOU! hit the nail right on the head. went there once because my dad knows the owner or shareholder or whatever for that restaurant and decided to try it out... my first impression was the wannabe high class restaurant.. it pulls it off better than other places though, mind you... so when i read the OP thought it was a hidden gem, i was laughing to myself (sorry OP)

they try, but still not as good as much fancier establishments i've gone to... as well, while we dined, more and more patrons entered, and were mainly of asian descent.. i told my parents, "hmm.. these asians must think they're in some high class restaurant or something" and my parents agreed (now i'm chinese so understand where i'm coming from) if you want high class, go to a place where there's very minimal asian people and you'll be pretty set... i've lived in calgary and toronto and know the differences between high and wannabe high class...

also, the live performer i believe is not under their control per se... he was probably voicing the opinion of everyone in the restaurant... gilboman said it right about asians being loud and not knowing it... my dad is loud, but whenever he goes to fine establishments, he knows to tone it down quite a few notches... (something we all should know in fine dining of course)

i agree with the private room or chinese restaurant idea
[OP]
Jr. Member
Feb 20, 2004
127 posts
gilboman wrote: and since i was not there, i can't comment on your noise issue, but it must've taken a lot for the musician to finally not be able to take it anymore and ask you guys to be quiet.
well the thing is he didn't "ask" us, he pretty much just went off. very unprofessional in my opinion, and plus he's the frickin musician! not the owner, not the manager, not even the chef! I don't know if he has a stake in the place or not, but i'm willing to bet that he doesn't. he does his thing and gets paid. if i was the owner/manager and he did this to a customer he'd for sure get at least a warning. who is he to drive away customers anyway? i'd be pissed if i was owner/manager b/c experiences like that turn into reviews like this lol.
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Jan 11, 2004
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D Funk wrote:well the thing is he didn't "ask" us, he pretty much just went off. very unprofessional in my opinion, and plus he's the frickin musician! not the owner, not the manager, not even the chef! I don't know if he has a stake in the place or not, but i'm willing to bet that he doesn't. he does his thing and gets paid. if i was the owner/manager and he did this to a customer he'd for sure get at least a warning. who is he to drive away customers anyway? i'd be pissed if i was owner/manager b/c experiences like that turn into reviews like this lol.
then it must have been really bad noise you guys were making to piss off the musician.

the owners are prolly happy the musicians did that since for them who works for them to lose it, you buys must've been disturbing others from enjoying the music as well.

instead of being pissed at what the musician did..think about WHY they did it. ;)
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Mar 17, 2004
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gilboman wrote:then it must have been really bad noise you guys were making to piss off the musician.

the owners are prolly happy the musicians did that since for them who works for them to lose it, you buys must've been disturbing others from enjoying the music as well.

instead of being pissed at what the musician did..think about WHY they did it. ;)
I agreed. But to a certain extent, I think the musicians should also have given them a *nudge nudge* kind of warning earlier if they were too loud. It sounded like they were plainly too loud for the rest of the evening and the musicians finally got fed up at the end. And like others have said, I would be surprised if the OP's party was really way too loud but the musicians could have also handled it better.
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Dec 23, 2004
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d_funk was your group all asian??. Just curious because asians are accustomed to being loud in restuarants, if you ever go to any chinese restuarant people are practically screaming at each other while having a normal dinner and conversation. However, when you go to kelsey's, swiss chalet, or any other caucasian (or wannabe) restaurants they tend to be more quiet, so a loud group will definitely get a few looks from the other tables. Were you speaking in cantonese too, because cantonese sounds pretty sharp and annoying which could have trigger the musician to flip out after 3 hours.

I guess you just have to know when to tone it down. If you don't know, look around and follow suit. This way you won't make a spectacle out of yourself. Oh yeah, i've been there too and i wasn't impressed with the food, music, or overall ambience.
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sucka wrote:Were you speaking in cantonese too, because cantonese sounds pretty sharp and annoying which could have trigger the musician to flip out after 3 hours.
yes, loud Cantonese is annoying to hear.
Talk softly in Cantonese or speak in English or Mandarin.

memo to restaurant owners:
don't bother hiring a singer or a band to play in your restaurant.
people are too busy eating and talking to listen to the band or singer.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Feb 20, 2004
127 posts
keanefan wrote:next time you have a big party, maybe you should ask for a private room or go to a Chinese restaurant if you are Chinese. Chinese restaurants tend to be loud.

If you have a big group at a restaurant, be respectful of the other customers because they don't want to hear your stories and loud laughter.
FYI the restaurant doesn't have a private room, and for that type of setting they probably wouldn't consider making one anyways. They want you to enjoy the wannabe fine dining experience while you're there and what better way to say "wannabe fine dining" then with a wannabe professional musician.

And your comment about going to a Chinese restaurant if you're Chinese is just plain ignorant. If I wanted to go to a Chinese restaurant I would have.
[OP]
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Feb 20, 2004
127 posts
monkmar wrote:Anyway, like you said the clientele were in their 40-50's, the more quiet type so it is rather likely that you guys were disturbing the whole place in general as it is rather small :) .. as for the manager not doing anything, he would probably have his older clientele satisfied rather than cater to the younger age group (after all the older group is much more financially secure, and probably go there to eat on casual occasions rather than once-a-year type celebrations). The dude with the glasses was probably smirking because deep down he was thinking, 'who cares about these punk asian kids!' .. (not a personal attack or anything, but c'mon the profiling of obnoxious asian teens is prevalent amongst the older crowd)
Yeah that was probably what the manager was thinking, that we were just some punk asian kids (most of us the group was asian anyway). However, whatever stereotype people want to slap on us, the bottom line is that we were PAYING CUSTOMERS. It doesn't matter if I'm in my 20's or my 70's, I came to the restaurant as a customer and I intended to be treated as one. As a manager of a business, especially in an industry that relies so much on personal experiences and word of mouth, there shoudn't have even been a choice for him to side with. A customers is a customer. In this case there was obviously some discrimination here. What made it worse was that a mandatory 15% gratuity was slapped on top of the bill...pissed me off even more given the experience we went through but it was reluctantly paid.

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