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April 17, 2008

Hub's Head Chef, Bar Manager Quit

Tonight I had my first bad experience at The Hub. Which is really unfortunate, considering the fact that I've had really great experiences there previously. I wouldn't normally write about one bad time at a restaurant, except that not only was the food not good, but the service was bad too.

First - let me say that I was there the week The Hub opened in a group of 8 people and our waiter was fantastic and the food was delicious. Then was back last week and the waiter was almost oppressive he was so attentive. Kevin declared his steak "possibly the best in Tacoma" which is saying a lot considering what quality steaks there are to be had. I had pizzas both time and both were good.

So tonight I sat in the bar side of The Hub for the first time with Frinklin, Cassioposa, and Angela. Cassioposa got there first and ordered a glass of wine, only to be told five minutes after ordering that her chosen red was not available. After choosing another the waitress returned again and told her, again, that they were out. Cassie finally asked, "What is available?" and was told, "Oh, pretty much everything..." Not helpful. Fortunately her third choice actually was in stock.

Once we were all seated and ordered drinks it took a good 15 minutes to flag down our server. Granted, the restaurant was busy, but not frantic. We placed an order of fries as an appetizer and proceeded to order our entrees. A ceasar sald for Cassie, a pizza for Frinklin, chicken picatta for Angela, and the flat-iron steak for myself, asking that the fries be substituted with mashed potatoes. I sensed trouble as our waitress didn't bother to ask how I preferred my steak.

Our fries never came. When our food showed and I asked I was told it was a side order. I love it when servers tell you what you ordered. It's not that there can't be a misunderstanding - it's just that I know what I wanted, so I'm not the one that's wrong. The order for fries finally went in at that point.

My steak came, as did Angela's chicken picatta - with fries. When I stated that I wanted mashed potatoes my steak was sent back, only to be returned shortly with word from the kitchen that the restaurant was out of regular potatoes. It was just that no one had informed the wait staff. There was no opportunity for them to warn any patrons that their meal may need substitutions or the like.

At this point we were all starving. I ate my steak (tasty, but cooked more than I would like) with sweet potato frites and three of the saddest asperagus you have ever seen. As Angela said, "I would have been embarrased to plate those!" She half-heartedly picked through her over-peppered, tomato covered, so-so chicken picatta. Frinklin's pizza and Cassie's salad were pretty good, although Frinklin noted his pizza was a good couple inches smaller in diameter than it had been in the past. Our french fry appetizer (made from yams, lest you believe they had received a shipment of regular potatoes) showed up half way through our meal.

When our checks arrived our sever was kind enough to discount my steak and remove the cost of the appetizer completely. It was explained to us that the Head Chef walked out earlier today and that the Bar Manager had also quit. That could definitely explain the irregularity in our meals. While we sat and discussed this development and our meal our drinks were collected and table began to be bussed as though we were not sitting and chatting. There was no reason to throw us out, as there were plenty of empty tables, but we took this as our cue to leave.

I don't know exactly how much the Head Chef and/or the Bar Manager have an effect on the Serving Staff at a restaurant, but it seemed as though our waitress had no idea what was going on this evening. I don't think I'll be sitting in the bar section again. I hope it was just a fluke and that The Hub find a new Head Chef and Bar Manager soon.

Posted by Ensie at April 17, 2008 09:18 PM

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Posted by: AP at April 17, 2008 09:45 PM

I am so sorry to read about your crappy experience. My friend Pat is one of the owners. He's a good guy and business owner. I bet he gets it fixed fast.


Posted by: Jamie Chase at April 17, 2008 10:47 PM

Wow, sorry I couldn't be there last night. Guess maybe I'm not. Seemed like they were running a really tight ship before so hopefully this is just a minor hiccup. Thanks for sharing tho.

Posted by: K to the F at April 18, 2008 06:05 AM

We ate a late night sandwich at the Hub on Tuesday and the food and service were fabulous. Our bartender/server was Ahmad; I sure hope he isn't the bar manager that quit - he is great.

Posted by: Heather at April 18, 2008 12:18 PM

Wow, that's amazing. We were there last night, and the food was great. We did have to do a reorder on the wine though -- first choice was apparently sold out. Service was a bit off, but we just put that down to training issues. Hope everything works out -- it's our new favorite place to go.

Posted by: Ann at April 18, 2008 07:34 PM

I'm chalking this experience up to a fluke and I'll definitely be back to The Hub. I really enjoy the food, and, as I said, I've had a couple of great experiences there. We were actually told that the Head Chef "walked out" and thought it was very odd that both he and the Bar Manager left on the same day.

Posted by: ensie at April 18, 2008 10:57 PM

There were a few oddities in our trip there, but it was the first day so I put it down to first day kinks. We also got kind of a short pizza.

Posted by: jenyum at April 19, 2008 06:10 AM

hah! We were there last night (6-ish, 6:30) and it was bad, bad, bad, for us, too. Although I'd been there several times and had good experiences, like you, last night was just *weirdly* bad.

The hostess tried to seat five of us at a teeny table set for two with four chairs (and told us we could just pull up a chair from the table set for five right next to it) , then our server was kind of bitchy, the pizza cornmeal was so burnt it was nearly inedible, the pizza itself was sort of lopsided and sloppy, and the busser was so overly efficient he just about took two plates we had that *had* food... We had an antipasto starter and it was pathetic, it came with 4 "crostini" (brick-hard bread, in actuality) and when we asked for more, the server kind of shot us a look and said, "it only comes with four pieces of bread." ...and when I asked her if S & I could get plate for the pizza she kind of looked at me like it was a weird request. Ayeeee.

That said, the space was crackin' busy, and good to see in that state since St Helens had been so empty the few times we'd gone. It was nice to hear the din of conversastion and see familiar faces (though I missed seeing you guys-- what time were you there?) -- and I was kinda chuckling about how Pat seemed to find the winning combo; a lunch space with wifi and tables big enough for meetings, and a dinner space central enough for people to meet after work.

Hopefully the kinks get worked out...

Posted by: jcbetty at April 19, 2008 08:17 AM

I also had a bad experience, a snotty waiter, being told there was no soup because they ran out the night before (?), was told the seasonal vegetables and the greens were the same thing -- asparagus (is asparagus a green?), told they were out of several wines and an entree at 1:30 in the afternoon. Was not impressed.

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