JULY 2006 UPDATE: Both Great Rock Golf Club and Blackwells have new ownership and management. As such, this review may not reflect current the current dining experience.
I've only eaten at Blackwell's once since new management took over, so I don't feel like a new review would be a good one. However, the food, service and overall experience was a million times better. I'd recommend Blackwell's again without reservation.
Once I've eaten there at least one more time, I'll write a new review.
Last summer, I wrote a review of Blackwells Restaurant in Wading River, NY. I thought the restaurant showed great promise and it was a place I looked forward to frequenting. Great atmosphere, top-notch food and, at the time, great service. Boy how times have changed. The restaurant closed for a while over the winter months as it (and the attached golf course) underwent some renovations and upgrades (new management). But, it re-opened in late March and we tried it Friday night with Liz and John (who had their rehearsal dinner there last June). I doubt any of us will ever go back again, and Liz and John used to go a couple times a month. We showed up around 9 p.m. on a Friday night without a reservation,
so we had no problem settling for one of the tables in the bar area. I
really enjoy the bar there and the bartender was great. Within a few
minutes we had our first round of drinks and menus were in hand. The
evening was shaping up to be another great meal with great friends. We sipped our drinks and looked over the menu...and looked over the
menu...and looked over the menu...and looked over the menu for at least
45 minutes...without anyone coming over to take our orders. Again, we
didn't have reservations and they were somewhat busy (and had a private
party in one of their smaller rooms). We're not unreasonable people
after all...we were just getting hungry. So, after waiting a little bit longer, Nena got up from the table to
go ask the hostess to send over a server to take our orders. Nena spent
many years working as a waitress, she knows how hard it is, and I know
she didn't exhibit even an ounce of attitude when she approached this
woman. We weren't trying to be difficult. We just wanted to order our
dinners and enjoy the evening. The hostess's response? "Honey, I have people waiting over an hour for a waitress." (with a condescending, b*tchy attitude) First, let me say how proud I am of my future bride. I know I
wouldn't have been as patient with this woman. In complete and utter
shock, Nena simply returned to the table and recounted the tale, and we
were not happy.
John, who owns his own contracting business and seemingly knows
everyone within a 20-mile radius, decided to try talking to the hostess
himself. John is about as schmoozing a guy as there is and I think his
company even worked on some of the restaurant's renovations. He's an
extremely charmingly funny guy that is really really hard not to like. Astonishingly, he was received with the same kind of attitude and
ended up speaking to the manager (who had very little to say
apparently). It was then that John informed them both that we'd be
leaving and not coming back. Now, if this was all that happened at Blackwells that evening...I might consider returning -- doubtful -- but it was still possible. Slim-to-none sort of chances. But that's just one chapter in this tale of restaurant hell. During our 45 minutes memorizing the menus, we ran into some other
friends of ours who had just finished having dinner there themselves.
They weren't happy either. Their service was slow...beyond slow in fact. Plus, their server
dropped a full cosmopolitan into one of their meals, with glass
shattering and liquid splashing in the food and on people at the table.
The server responded with a simple shrug "sh*t happens" disappearing
for at least twenty minutes. Quality service right? I'd think the
server would apologize profusely and quickly try to rectify the
Did anyone offer to buy the table a round of drinks or free dessert? Heck no. Now that I think about it, maybe the new owners are new to the
restaurant business or maybe they haven't had time to train their staff
properly (which means they shouldn't have re-opened yet).
Regardless, we had an absolutely miserable time...and it was a huge disappointment.
Knowing of my food and wine addiction, friends and co-workers ask me
for good restaurant recommendations all the time...and I used to list
Blackwells as one of those restaurants. Those days are over.