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