Frank at the AGO

    6 March 2009, evening time

I was going to write about how we were seated at Frank, the restaurant at the AGO, and then totally ignored, but Shima has done as much. That was a serious what the fuck moment? Have you ever been to a restaurant where you can see the waitresses talking about you, but they aren’t talking to you? Fuck that place. I would have told someone off if we weren’t in such a rush.

Update: Here is my take on things which I also posted at Yelp.

I’ve been to Frank, the restaurant inside the AGO, twice. The first time was quite good. The food was tasty and well presented, and the service was excellent. The second, it was so horrid I can’t imagine ever going back. So this is the sort of review that’s based solely on a single bad experience, and you should take that as a word of warning. I am a member at the AGO, so I really wanted to like this place.

My wife, cousin, and I were seated upstairs in the restaurant by the hostess. The restaurant was reasonably busy, but not overly so. The hostess is the only person that spoke to us that night. We looked over the menus at waited. And we waited some more. And then the hostess seated a fellow by himself at the table next to us. And then we watched a waitress bring him some water. And another came by, but he informed her that he was already being served. And we waited a little bit more. And then we watched two waitresses quite obviously chat about us from across the room. And then we got up and left. And no one asked us what was up on the way out either.

Fuck Frank. I can’t recall the last time I’ve been treated like that in Toronto. And I can’t for the life of me imagine why. The whole experience has left a bad taste in my mouth.

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Comments

  1. That happened to me at this restaurant on King West. It’s infuriating.

    You should complain. The AGO has been putting on a pretty aggressive outreach effort lately. They might be extra sensitive to complaints right now. It might make them more conscious about abandoning people at tables in the future.

  2. It was very obnoxious. I have been twice, and the first time was nothing like that. Still, I can’t imagine i’d go back now. There are lots of (better) places to eat in the city.

  3. Bad service (or no service…in your case) isn’t that unusual anymore.
    My husband and I have left restaurants more than once because we were virtually ignored by waitstaff. There were times when it was really hard not to think it was because of race.
    We couldn’t help but feel that certain restaurants didn’t care if we never came back, because they clearly didn’t care that we were there.

  4. Exactly. I don’t think anyone at Frank’s was lamenting our exit. I’m not so quick to assume they were being straight up racist — my cousin and I had a good time the first time we were there. Still, in a restaurant that is filled with White people, and where almost everyone serving you is White, it’s hard not to jump to that conclusion. Anyway, whether they were being obnoxious, racist, or just clueless, it doesn’t make them look particularly good. This place is positioning itself as a serious dining destination. The head chef is from Starfish. And the interior is really slick. The thing is, you need more than good food and ambiance to produce a classy restaurant: you need staff that carry themselves with some class.

    It’s interesting to contrast this experience with the first time I went to Centro. In my review of the place I was gushing about how awesome it was. Centro is definitely the “fancier” of the two restaurants. What I don’t mention is that we showed up in jeans and t-shirts. (I think Mezan was wearing sandals.) We probably looked like broke-ass kids, but the service was still phenomenal. That’s being classy.

  5. I can’t help but jump to the racist conclusion because I’ve worked as a Bartender and a Server in my school days, and I remember some co-workers who flatly stated that they didn’t want blacks in their section because they didn’t tip..which was bullshit in my experience, but then bad service begets bad tips…and if you don’t like serving black people in the first place…well you know where I’m going with that.

    This is why I often jump to the racist thing before my husband does.
    I’ve been behind the curtain.

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