THIS IS MORE OF A STORY/VENT and is a post of course.
This is the story of Sandbar for BF and I. The night before, we went for dinner at Dockside in Granville Island, the food was not that great but the service was perfection. We had regret not coming to Sandbar because we thought Dockside would be better and since I had nothing better to do, I spent the next day looking through dishes from Sandbar on Instagram. All the dishes looked really good and the reviews were really high (except I am silly and did not actually read any). So... we came here the night after Dockside and it was the most horrible experience ever. Well, actually Bao Bei is still the worst experience ever, but this comes in second.
I was so annoyed and mad with Sandbar that I actually sent them an e-mail and wrote my first "post" on Urbanspoon, Trip Advisor, and some other random ones. I received an e-mail response asking to leave my phone number, so I left BFs. BF told me the general manager called, apologized and said he was speechless. Well.. anyone can be speechless if the food sucks or if the food is amazing. It was kind of like "huh?", since he did not answer my questions or respond to any of my comments. Meh, an apology whether it is sincere or not is better than nothing since he acknowledged my experience (unlike Bao Bei.)
So what happened was we went on a Thursday night and it was slow. There was probably hmm 6-8 empty booths seats? We asked to sit at a booth and they cramped us against this corner (at least there was a window) with a tiny table because apparently all the booths were "reserved." Okay, so why is it after an hour or so.. no one showed up? It turns out our server meant those tables are reserved for tables of four. I understand if this is a weekend or super busy of course, but this is on a Thursday night and really slow. What made me mad later was when I thought at the beginning before we were seated, the hostess told us a table would be free in 30 minutes, or we can go upstairs and warned us it was loud. What would have happened if you made us wait 30 minutes to sit at a tiny table when there were 6-8 booths available? I would have been furious.
Anyways, BF and I tend to order a lot, because we like to eat a lot. We can easily order the same or more than a table of 3 or 4 people. When our server finally came, we ordered two HOUSE MADE CLAM CHOWDER BOWLS, FISH TACOS, SPOT PRAWNS, HALIBUT and the 16oz "BONE IN" STEAK. Firstly, our server who was very rude, rolled her eyes at me when I asked her (honestly, I was very polite) to change my cutlery since it was dirty and the napkin had dirt on it. Secondly, when we ordered the CHOWDERS, FISH TACOS, and SPOT PRAWNS, she was leaving. BF had to literally say, "for our entrees..." for her to stay. Thirdly, she did not write anything down (which is fine if you are good at memorizing) and got our order wrong. She thought we wanted two chowder cups instead of bowls. Fourthly, we wanted to order more but felt restricted because she was already trying to rush off so I felt like we should hurry. Also, since it is our first time here, we were not sure if they brought their appetizers all at once or one by one (some places bring all the appetizers out at once and our table could only fit one). And lastly, at the end of dinner we had to get up to and give our bill to someone else standing by the kitchen because she disappeared numerous times talking to other employees. Honestly if this sounds unprofessional.. it is just how I feel, if an employee was done their job, made sure their customers were happy and did not need anything else, they should be able to talk to other co-workers as long as it is not too loud for customers to overhear.
With that out of the way... on to the food. I deleted the individual photos because I made a photo frame and did not think I would be posting any photos.
HOUSE MADE CLAM CHOWDER ($8.00). The chowder tastes thin, bland and flavourless. It makes Campbell's Chunky Chowder soup taste like a luxury. I wish we did not correct our server and got the cup sizes instead of bowls. The chowder has no seafood taste but at least there is a good amount of corn niblets and diced carrots?
SPOT PRAWNS ($29.00). For the price you pay, it is not worth it. The dish comes with 2 "regular size" spot prawns and 2 "baby size" spot prawns. What happens if you have a table of 4? Who gets the smaller ones or larger ones? For the same price I could have had 1lb of "full size" spot prawns at a Chinese restaurant (fine, that is not fair to compare) or 4 "full size" spot prawns at another seafood restaurant.
FISH TACOS ($12.00). The tacos are surprisingly not bad. The fish is not over deep fried or dry, but could have been battered a bit less. The fish tacos taste average and has been better than our other appetizers. I guess Sandbar is more of a restaurant to grab a small bite and watch the view?
MY HALIBUT FISH OFF THE FRESH SHEET ($26.00). The is halibut is cooked perfectly with no complaints.
HIS 16 oz "BONE IN" STEAK ($35.00). Well... there is no bone, therefore it is not a "bone in" steak. The steak tastes chewy, tough and flavourless but is medium rare. We packed it for the dogs (I have the photo on Instagram under MissVancouverPiggy, it is so cute).
In the end, the general manager did contact and acknowledge us which is nice and also gave us a $25.00 gift card. But to be honest even with the gift card, we will not be coming back. There are so many good restaurants and Sandbar is just a joke. It is a place to be "seen" or for the view. I rather walk Granville Island, eat somewhere else after, or go to Bridges or Dockside instead. I will take the blame for the steak just because it is a seafood restaurant right? I will justify that steaks can be below average. But what about the "bone in" that is written on the menu? That is kind of silly of them. Oh yeah, we never got any bread or butter and my friends have always gotten them (just saying).
What were my comments and questions I asked? I asked about the spot prawns regarding their uneven sizes (I saw other photos on IG that looked the same, so they intentionally give 2 small and 2 regular size ones), and if there is a bone in the "bone-in" steak. My comments were that I understand if employees are trained to memorize orders but it does not make them look bad if they are writing it down, which they should if they cannot be accurate. As well as some attitude adjustments if customers complain about something that has nothing to do with the servers themselves (my cutlery and napkin was dirty and no ones fault so why the eyeroll?), and their policy should be changed regarding the "booths are reserved for tables of 4 only," because I strongly believe there are people like me who will come and leave just because you try to give them a small table, especially when it is slow.
Please do not think I am a horrible person, of course if it was a weekend or super busy I am totally understanding. I should also mention that the general manager did say he can gaurantee for our next visit, things will be different. How would that work? So there will be a bone in my steak as well as 4 regular sized spot prawns? No.. it should not work like that because going through many photos, the food presentation from my photos matches the photos of others.
Note: To be honest, if the server did not roll her eyes at me, asked the manager if she could give us a larger table and did not rush off when we were in the middle of ordering, I do not think I would have been mad. I think it is everything that built up. Btw the table given was practically like a side table or a coffee table.
Food: 1/5 (fine 2/5 because the halibut is perfectly cooked.)