What's The Longest You've Ever Waited For A Table... When You Already Have A Reservation?

I ask this question as I celebrated a special occasion at Marché Moderne on Saturday night, having booked the table at least a week previously, and then had to wait 20 minutes to be seated. Only then did that happen after a bit of (polite) nudging on my part. OK, we were able to sit at the bar--and order drinks, of course--but at 8.45 at night I'd like something to nibble along with my vino.

We were initially told our table would soon be free as the couple at it were paying up. Five minutes later, we were informed they were having dessert. What? Were they working backwards? Would we have to wait another hour while they chomped through their entrées and appetizers?

Within five minutes of me asking one of the waitresses why there was a table for two going begging right in front of us, we were seated at it. (Apparently the table was destined to be part of a table for six, but that need must've evaporated).

In any case, at least we didn't have to wait as long as the group of four who eventually sat down at the table next to us--an hour and a quarter after they arrived. Seemingly, the blustery guy who had 'very important clients' with him failed in his attempt to be heard. Still, an hour and a quarter? No one should have to sit at the bar that long, not even Captain Bigshot.

The truth be told, the food was worth the wait (and then some). But the point is: if a restaurant can't cater to the number of people who make reservations, then maybe they should cut back on the number of bookings they take. No doubt having an open-plan kitchen doesn't help, especially when it's run by a chef--Florent Marneau--who diners like to interact with.

Have you had a similar experience in the OC? If so, where was it, how long before you were seated, what (if any) reasons were given, and did the food compensate? I'm curious.


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