Thursday, 28 June 2007

Ishiya Japanese Stonegrill Restaurant

A really back-dated post but bear with me here. Have been procrastinating on blogging!

Stonegrill was one of those fancy-pants restaurants that we always wanted to try and always went like "go now, go later, go whenever" and never really got around to it until this year. I've heard a lot of good things about that place - particularly the bit where you cook your own meat to perfection on a hot stone. Sounds tempting!

FYI though - it has been a long time since we went (I am a horrible procrastinator etc) so I have forgotten the exact names and prices of the food but I will describe it the best I can.

Anyway, there are two very important things I want to talk about Stonegrill: the food (of course) and the service. I'll start off with a picture post of food and then text post of service.

When we went to Stonegrill, this blog has barely been set up, so the photos taken were kind of minimal and not very good, so my apologies for that. I went there with CC, Turtle, Ben and San.

Turtle and CC ordered some alcoholic drinks, and I think the one pictured here is Turtle's drink with peaches and peach schnapps. CC ordered something else and I remembered that both seemed to enjoy Turtle's drink more.

Me and San shared an entree of Grilled Salmon.

Which was really cooked to perfection. The salmon was tasty and tender to the bite, and very wonderfully grilled. It's yummy and the sauce that was complimenting it went very well, along with a squeeze of lemon.

For my main, I had the Stone Bowl Fried Rice. There is a Japanese name for it but my memory and non-existent Japanese fails me.

The egg was cracked into the bowl as it was served to me and I watched it cooked while stirring the rice around it. That was definitely fun! The fried rice is really good, too, with enough seasoning and enough prawns, meat etc to go with it. I think it cost around $22-$25 which makes it really expensive fried rice, but it's good. Really good.

San had the Aged Tenderloin, which was beef she cooked on the stone.

The beef is tender and nice and since she can cooked it to the way she liked it, I daresay she did enjoy it. You can also grill the mushrooms, tofu and cucumber yourself!! The beef came with a selection of five sauces.

The sauces were DAMN GOOD. Especially the sesame sauce which was practically (but not quite) to die for.

Turtle had the Beef and Prawn combo for his stonegrill, CC had Potato Croquets for an entree (which was among the best potato croquets I have ever tasted) and Chicken for her stonegrill and Ben splashed out for Lobster for her main. And everyone enjoyed their food.

Stonegrill, on the whole, has rather good food that at least reflected the prices paid (Ben paid $49 for her lobster) and a pretty environment that was nice and relaxing and classy.

The service?

The service, was without a doubt, the most appalling service I have ever received in a fine-dining restaurant. I have had better service at Chinatown cafes. At Dessert House, even. Seriously, no joke.

First of all, when me and San reached the restaurant, we were periodically ignored for 5 minutes, until I signaled a waitress and we managed to get our table. After that, as we were waiting for the rest to arrive, we were just reading the menus and wasn't really ordering anything. (By the way they don't serve tap water and water cost $5) Then our people started arriving and we wanted more menus, in which we were, again, as you guessed, ignored. Turtle at last went to get the menus himself.

We tried signaling for service 2647562784763 times and were ignored by the staff, except for this one very nice (and very hassled, very busy) waitress who kept trying to approach us but was always called off to some other table. Finally, the manager, MANAGER, came over to ask us about out orders and because there were 5 of us, we kept asking questions and discussing among ourselves what we would like. And in all honesty, it was less than a minute discussion. We weren't keeping her there for three thousand millenniums. It wasn't even 3 minutes.

She stood there with a completely sour face and looked really impatient. After we placed our orders, she basically stomped off. And after that, when CC wanted an extra glass (or a fork, I can't remember), we tried signaling her again, and after 37478576374 tries she came over very unwillingly and after we told her what we wanted, she just nodded and as she turned away - get this, this was the highlight - SHE ROLLED HER EYES AT CC.


CC was so angry she wanted to leave immediately, and who could blame her?! We were paying customers, and she was actually the freaking MANAGER. With that sort of service attitude? Who are you kidding? It was like we were paying insane prices to be insulted and patronized - I seriously cannot believe that woman and if we had more time and weren't rushing off to a movie, I would've worked on getting her fired. Seriously. That woman (god I wish I could remember her stupid name) is an insult and a shame to the service line. Because you do NOT roll your eyes at your customer, no matter how absurd their request is (and CC just asked for a glass), at least not where they could SEE it.

What an ignorant, idiotic, moronic ass of a human being. I was insulted and I was angry and we definitely did not deserve that sort of service.

So yes. Food was good, environment was good, but service was so horribly bad. I understand if they were understaffed, but at least be polite and apologetic if you were keeping your CUSTOMERS WAITING. You do not roll your eyes or act huffy like some kind of prima-donna bitch.

I wouldn't go back there again. Because even though the food was good, it wasn't good enough for me to go back there and be patronized and insulted and end up raging mad at the manager.

- Dissatisfied Mouse


Ishiya Japanese Stonegrill Restaurant
152 Little Bourke St
Melbourne 3000


The Cooking Ninja said...

As my management professor would do and does it all the time when he comes face to face with a sour puss waiter or manager, 'Did you have a bad day?' No?, then 'So is my presence offending you?' No? Then you must be unhappy with what you doing. So quit your job. Don't go around like as if someone has just died and spoil our day/evening. I'm not kidding you not that he does this to people who gives him bad service like that manager.

IronEaters said...

cooking ninja,

That's a great comment and so true. I really should use it next time I get horrible service from so-called fine-dining places. ^.~

Anonymous said...

sigh...rolling eyes infront of customers are just very very unprofessional... unacceptable maybe i should say.


Dinning out in Melbourne said...

I been to ishiya stonegrill many times and i have found the sevice is actually very friendly amd helpfull. I think in your case you are actually quite demanding, i mean u should wait for your turn. Most fine dinning restaurant that i've been to, i always need to waited for at least 15 min after i 've seated for my menu.

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting. I clicked on "Dining out in Melbourne" and found a banner with the words "Ishiya Stonegrill." I wouldn't be surprised if the poster works for the restaurant.

In that case, the staff was rude twice -- first, when they rolled their eyes in front of a customer, and second, when they insulted the customer again online, writing "i think in your case you are actually quite demanding."

It would be wise for the restaurant to spend less time insulting people online, and more time improving their service offline. They would make more money that way, benefit their reputation, and draw more customers.

Anonymous said...

I've been to there for my friend's brithday dinner. I've found it bad. They are not reaching the title - Fine-dinning restaurant except the pricing.No professional service to be provided for the whole times we had spent there..

First, we could not be seated untill the last of us be there even they just got few customers at that moment. We could just watching those empty tables and wait.haha~~

Then, for ordering, the manager has highly recommended us to order stonegrill and we like to try as well.Also we have ordered 2 entree for sharing but the manager told us to order sth more coz that'd not enough for five people and the portion are quite small. I understand that's what a upper selling for restaurant. For a drink, we didn't order any drink (coz my friend has tried their drink which was not quite good last time) but request for some water. We have been give a sour face immediately and she said water comes in a bottle, we charge it for $5 each. One of my friend just fight her back, we need some tap water thanks.And she just gone without a word. Hah, we feel really funny cos we just required for basic need and we've suffered this.

After we have finished our entree, water still hasn't come yet. We tried signaling the waitress coz we were ignored by the freaking manager. The manager rolled her eyes on us while the waitress was telling her about our need.

NO!!NO WATER TO BE GIVE TILL THE END OF OUR MEALS. That's ridiculous! Although the stonegrill is great.
With this kind of service and leading person, I can't see any space to improve in the future for this restaurant.It will just stay the same if the boss doesn't realize what sort of problem they 've got.
We will never return to Ishiya stonegrill as well~~

Anonymous said...

This is quite funny, as I went for a friend's birthday to Ishiya just the other night and the same whacked-out Nazi manager/owner gave everyone a taste of her "unique" hospitality.

I usually couldn't care less about someone who acts like an arsehole but I DO care when I get ripped off. The best advice I can give to the owner(s) of Ishiya is to fire yourselves as managers and employ someone with at least a modicum of courtesy and etiquette.

Anonymous said...

i was a waitress who was work in ishiya stonegrill 1 week ago.
as Anonymous said, our manager who is a freaking bitch . she is always flirting with some well-looking male stuff. I wasn't paid during the so-called "training week" but was given hell treatment by the psycho, man-crazed manager (hey, she sexually harassed all the male waiters in the restaurant)
it is no denying that she is an demanding bitch....
no one like her .
our staff also be scolded by her without any reasonable reason....
I threw in my towel and call it quits.

Anonymous said...

what i do remember is that the manager is definitely a bitch. She treats employees like slaver. it might be the reason waiters/waitress couldnt show more smiles.

Anonymous said...

I've just eaten at Ishiya for the second time today and I can only presume they have had a change of staff, as my experience was very different with regards to service, although the other time I ate there (two couples, plus three kids) around 12 months ago, the service was trouble-free as well.

I had lunch at Ishiya with my wife and daughter today and really had a fantastic meal and very good and friendly service. Presumably the manager you dealt with has either moved on or mended her ways (perhaps from feedback - even this blog...?)

I write as a stonegrill fan, having visited Japan a number of times and having had stonegrill not nearly as often as I would like (we are planning on going to Tokyo over Xmas/NY this year and I would be happy if all I ate was sashimi and stonegrill!) For my tastes, Ishiya is only second to an unnamed stonegrill place I ate at in Kyoto in 2006 for quality.

Otherwise, love the blog!