With Tampa's unemployment rate hovering at 12 percent, you better be on your toes and doing your best at your service job. You can be replaced in an instant, and if there is any justice in the world, the guy I am about to tell you about will be weeded out and replaced by someone honest and conscientious, someone who needs the job and will do it well. I have waited tables and I know a sucky server when I see one, and this guy was an incompetent ass.
Blame It on Rio and I went to Datz a few weeks ago for a cheese tasting, which consisted of exactly three crackers of cheese. FYI - Do not fall for this marketing "event." Since we drove 25 minutes for our tasting - if you call standing awkwardly at a cheese case for all of two minutes a tasting - we ended up staying for dinner. Note to Datz: Host the tastings at the demo bar and sell drinks to the tasters. Chances are, people will stay for dinner. The current ploy is uncomfortable and annoying.
Rio and I got an upstairs table and looked over the dinner menu. I ordered a beer, a menu pairing suggested for my entree of shrimp and grits. Rio wanted a beer but was unfamiliar with all the microbrews so she solicited help from the waiter, whom I just overheard telling a nearby table that he didn't know much about wine but was well-versed in the beer selections.
Alrighty then, what did he say when Rio asked for a beer suggestion to accompany her ahi tuna?
"People usually order wine with that dish," he says.
Yeah, but she wants a beer. What does he suggest? He stares blankly and repeats that people usually order wine with that dish. Fine, fish and white wine go together. Who cares? She wants a beer and Datz has a great variety. Suggest one, beer expert! In fact, this arrogant twit took responsibility for the menu pairing that was listed for my entree, stating, "Oh, I see they've included my beer suggestion for this dish." Oh, puh-leeze!
So, Rio is swayed into ordering wine because Waiter Boy insists that's the way to go.
Then, he asks which wine and suggests Pinot Grigio. She goes with his Pinot suggestion and he brings the drinks. Rio shrugs as she sips the uninteresting Pinot Grigio, eyes my frosty IPA with envy, and proclaims, "That's what I wanted."
We order our entrees. He asks which side I would like with my shrimp and grits. I order a salad with the house vinaigrette. The entrees arrive. No salad. I tell the runner that I didn't get my salad. Next thing I know our crackerjack waiter is back to tell me he's sorry, my entree doesn't include a side. He then blamed his mistake on the changing menu. Lame. Get with the program, buddy. It's your job to know the menu, especially if it changes.
The guy who hosted the cheese tasting knew his stuff and, although it was weirdly brief, it was informative. He happened to mention that every entree at Datz includes a pimento cheese spread and a basket of crisp bread.
It occurs to me that Rio and I never got this sampler. I mention this to the waiter, who apologizes for the oversight and hurries away to retrieve one. What is up with this dude? Now, we are eating the tasty cheese, celery and bread crisps with dinner, instead of snacking leisurely before the meal. They were really enjoyable, too, and I probably would have ordered another beer with dinner had Waiter Boy timed everything properly. Higher bar tab, higher ticket, bigger tip. Novice.
I returned home and mentioned these service blunders to Hubmeister, who reported that the last time he dined at Datz, the service was terrible.
By the way, our food was good.