Last night was another meeting of my delightful book club Libations and Literature. We usually meet at someones house but decided this time to meet at WEST, a restaurant in downtown Calgary. I have heard good things about WEST – I am starting to assume that those people have the standards of blind, deaf, circus folk.
We made a reservation for 7pm and at 7 we stood at the door. Now, there was some crazy weather going on in Calgary last night - some rain and hail etc. We were clearly not going to sit on the patio. The hostess acknowledged our presence and said a table would be “put together for us”. We then stood for 25 minutes staring at an EMPTY restaurant while said hostess wandered aimlessly from the back to the front over and over again. I am sure this girl is good at many things, like water polo or knitting, I don’t know but ‘looking busy’ or "looking happy to help" are not her talents.
There was some sort of problem with the rain and moving things or people or furniture or sections or something that she kept mumbling about every time we asked her. It was terribly odd. When a different hostess arrived, she amazingly, by some feat of sheer genius, found us a table in the empty restaurant. Brilliance….it happens when you least expect it.
The service was slow and expensive. The server training must make it clear that pants are always optional. At McDonalds, smiles are free, at WEST, a different kind of cheek is handed out willingly. Who doesn’t want a side of ass cheek for dinner? If she was fun and bubbly and showed me her ass, that would be fine but she was slow and bored so the ass really wasn’t worth its weight in smiles.
Slow means that she took our dinner orders before our drinks arrived. Slow means that our reservation was for seven and it was eight when we first clinked our glasses together. Slow also means that she wasn’t very smart. Her attitude was as lackluster as the transparency of her “dress”. We got the distinct feeling that she didn’t want to be there and therefore we didn’t want her there either.
As far as the Gluten aspect goes, they charge extra for everything Gluten Free which irritates me. *Please see previous post. I feel this is the same as putting a toll booth on a wheel chair ramp.* At the end of the day, I believe I paid twelve extra dollars in upcharges. It makes my skin crawl. I would know the exact amount but despite requesting a copy of the bill three times. I never did get it.
The corn pasta was ok, a little over cooked but that can happen with corn pasta if you aren’t used to cooking it - which the chefs should be. The chocolate fondue was ok too but we were charged the GF upcharge because I couldn’t have the pound cake and I asked for more berries to be added but they just added more grapes – I guess those are expensive somewhere right now. Of course, I tip extra for the fact that no one poisoned me so it was a costly meal for me. I am of course hoping that the server takes the tip to purchase herself a bra. Wishful thinking.
The only bright side of the night was that I got to spend it with my dear friends. Books are vaguely discussed with a good dose of laughter and problem solving as it is with good friends. I just wish I could add a wonderful restaurant experience on top of it all. It was really one of the blandest meals out that I have had in recent memory, served by bland people and charged extra for it all.
I wouldn’t recommend WEST for Celiacs or circus folk or even people not wearing pants.