Susan Axelrod writes:
“Over the holiday between Christmas and New Years, we made reservations a week ahead at Étoile in Uptown Park. In fact, my husband went to the restaurant to make the reservation, picked out a booth table (actually a banquette along the back wall) and reserved it for two at 7:30 on the Saturday night before New Year’s. We had heard from several friends that it was good.
“We arrived a few minutes before our reservation, obviously dressed nicely for a Saturday evening out, my husband in jacket and tie, which many there weren’t. In fact, (there were) several tables in jeans. The young girl at the front desk greeted us with a smile, remembered my husband and began checking her book and looking around the small restaurant.
“After having us standing by the front door for what seemed a long time, she informed us that our table wasn’t available, as she had given it to an earlier party that had no reservation, never thinking they would stay so long. They never thought to tell them they must be finished eating in time for a later reservation.
“There was an empty booth, but we were told it was reserved for a party of five. My husband was obviously getting upset so she checked with another employee, perhaps a manager. Eventually, 10 or 15 minutes after arrival, a group left and they offered us a too-large table in the far back of the restaurant in front of a glaring open kitchen. We declined and left.
“They never offered us complimentary drinks at the bar while we waited for our reserved table or a complimentary meal another time in the future. They never called after to apologize.
“No matter how good the meal, if they don’t honor a firm reservation and have some minimum of customer-relation skills, it’s off our list. We ended up at Post Oak Grill, enjoying a wonderful meal and excellent service.”
Whine + Dine reached out to management at Étoile and Monica Bui, Étoile’s co-owner, sent this note:
“Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the concerns addressed by the Axelrods. Étoile works hard to offer prompt, friendly service and good food, and we are sorry that we did not meet the Axelrods’ expectations. I have personally connected with the couple to address their concerns. The Axelrods have agreed to give us another chance this weekend so we can show the good work of our team.”
Linda Pollock writes:
“My husband and I went to lunch at Cafe del Sol in Katy. It is a fun place to go. You walk past a children's play area and outdoor dining to go inside. When you are inside you can observe the kitchen. We seated ourselves at a table with white tile and felt like we were in Old Mexico. The waiter was very helpful and friendly. We were served in a timely manner. Not like some restaurants that have your food waiting under the microwave.
“The food was delicious. My husband had the fajitas and charro beans. He was very pleased with the taste and the temperature of the food. Sizzling when they came out. I had flautas and charro beans, which were very good. The beef flautas were well done - just the way I like them, and I might add that this restaurant is one of the few if any in Houston or Katy that serves "beef" flautas and doesn't offer just chicken flautas. Highly recommend this restaurant and did find out they may be moving down the street in a while.”
Cafe del Sol: 22116 Franz Road in Katy, 281-599-1886
Bob Wise writes:
“Norman Diaz wrote (recently) that he experienced excellent service and the visit went very smoothly but made no comment about the food. The Alicia's here on Kuykendahl and FM 2920 was opened a while ago, so my wife and I thought we should try it, as apart from Gringo's at the time the Mexican restaurants around this area are pretty grim.
Were we disappointed! The food was bland, uninteresting, cold and served far too quickly for our liking. We did return the food but it came back just as cold on hot plates. The check was all soggy and wet plus the staff were non-existent so we put it down to being new and not yet fully operational. The manager was too busy yakking at the front to be any use. We gave it another try late last year and it was worse ! I really don’t know why these places bother to open and spend so much on the fancy appearance of the place when the food is just brown & awful, the staff even worse. Not rude just inept.
“Referring back to Gringo's, we were there a couple of weeks ago and they have gone from being a vibrant interesting place to eat to just another Mexican restaurant with a much reduced, higher-priced menu, very young staff and a very noticeable lack of ambience we liked so much previously. So yet another restaurant that is trying to cut corners and make more money has ruined what we originally thought was a really nice Mexican restaurant concept.
“So much for Mexican restaurants in this area, we are looking for something better ! Where is there a Mexican restaurant in this area with fresh food and not microwaved frozen gunk? Do we have to go downtown?”