(If anyone thinks I am wrong at any point please feel free to tell me–nicely!)

We go the Arsht Center about 14 times a year. I was raised on Miami Beach but very seldom went to Miami–let’s just say this was way before the 1960s. When we first started to come to the Center we tried a few restaurants on Biscayne Boulevard which we weren’t very pleased with and thought were a bit expensive so ate in Fort Lauderdale before going to Miami. Just for an explanation it is a late lunch for us.
Due to leg problems we usually valet park at the theatre so I was very glad to see a café was opening. When I got home I checked out the web site and it took 3 emails to 3 different people to finally get a copy of the menu. Okay it happens.

Looking at the menu I saw it was a bit pricy but wasn’t surprised because of the location and at least it wouldn’t be $60 a head as the other place was. Going to see “Newsies” at the Arsht Center we decided to give it a try.

After valet parking–that’s $25 plus a tip–we walked down to the café and upon entering there was no one to greet us but we saw a line of tables on the right and there was an empty deuce so we sat there. (It wasn’t until later that we learned there were 2 other sections, one outside out of view.) We did get a menu right away and Allen told me to order him a diet cola while he went to wash up. No one came to the table while he was away nor until about 10 minutes after he got back.

Now let me say upfront that though the waiter could have, should have, known certain basics as greeting a customer, at least within 2 minutes, not matter how busy he is. Another thing he has to be taught is that he should always ‘sweep’ the room to see if a customer wanted/needed anything. As it is he had about 10 tables which even for a professional server, without help, is at least 5 to many. There seem to be one busboy who disappeared for long times–probably to cover the unseen other seating sections. No where was management visible until about 45 minutes later but we will get to that in a bit. Giving them a benefit of doubt let’s say some server called in sick.

Now to the menu itself. We both decided to have the Sears Burger ($12 each) which came with Tillamook Cheddar, Secret Sauce (don’t forget that sauce) and ugly tomatoes. There was nothing about potatoes, veggies or salad being served with it so we ordered a Farmer’s Grilled Vegetable to share.

Upfront let me say the coffee and cola only cost $2 which is a good price in a restaurant. When we got our food, in a reasonable time, the first thing we saw were really big slices of potatoes on the burger plate plus some freshly tossed greens. Allen had ordered his medium and I wanted mine medium rare as I know most restaurants will not cook meat rare. There was absolutely no difference between our burgers even though the server did ask which one of us got the medium rare.
Okay let’s get to that vegetable plate and that ‘secret’ sauce. There were 5-6 slices of very thin cucumbers or zucchini and, I think, one very thin slice of yellow pepper. I am a gourmand not a gourmet which is why I am unable to be definite. They were suppose to be grilled but were cold and they had that secret sauce on them just as the potatoes had under them and the burger had it on it. The sauce had a ‘bite’ which is fine but it made everything taste the same and I was surprised it wasn’t on the greens!

At no time did anyone come over to ask if we needed anything or how everything was. I did catch the server’s eye and was able to get another cup of coffee.

There was a whole other problem. When we ordered I saw someone I knew and wanted to pick up their check and since they had just ordered I called the server over and told him I wanted to pay the other person’s check so to put all our food on that check and be sure to give it to me. Well it wasn’t his fault that someone else joined the other person 15-20 minutes and you guessed it–I paid for the other person too not even knowing them! He really should have checked with me first and I would have said okay but…

It was now 7 PM and three new deuces sat—oh yes a manager(?) did come out and help clean tables–and by 7:15 as we were getting ready to leave their orders still hadn’t been taken and finally–the hostess?–came over and started taking their order for the server. If those 6 people got served and made the curtain by 8 PM I would be very surprised.

Finally, a long story short, we will go back to eating in Fort Lauderdale before we come to shows in Miami.

PS Yes the server got a 20% tip as most of it wasn’t his fault–he was doing his best with too big a station.

Look at 3rd photo–I should have taken another picture–the Farmer’s Grilled Vegetables are in the upper left corner.