The food: Okay to good.
The service: Worst. Service. Ever.
And here goes the story…
It was light outside when we arrived.
We arrived early Friday evening to hear that a Jazz band was playing in the side yard and outdoor dining area. I despise Jazz (someone please shoot the saxophone player), but we were committed to this dining experience, so entered the side yard.
The hostess greeted us and told us we could pick any table. The table we picked was dirty, so the hostess promptly ran inside to get a cloth to wipe down the table. She informed us that there was a $4 cover charge per person for the band, giving us a good warning if we wished to leave (this charge is standard for the live bands playing on the outside stage, and there will probably be one if you go on a weekend during good weather). We were not happy about the charge, but we were still committed to this dining experience.
We sat for about fifteen minutes watching tables who came in after us get drinks and complimentary chips and salsa. We also watched every server breeze past us and never look at our table. We finally flagged down the hostess, and asked if we could get a server.
We got a server about five minutes later. He nixed some of our orders (the vegetable stew and spinach and groundnut stew), saying that he didn’t think they were very good, but recommended a "banging" seitan and tofu curry special. I appreciate honest opinions, so we took his word.
We asked for water. We also brought a bottle of chilled wine, which was no longer chilled at this point. A bucket of ice and glasses for the wine were also promised.
Jazz band takes a break (thank god), and I sill don't have an open bottle of wine.
About ten minutes later we got water and plastic cocktail cups for our wine, but no bucket of ice or our bottle of wine opened.
About ten minutes later we got a bucket of ice, and the server (not our original server) started to walk away, but I caught him to ask for a bottle opener.
He came back with a cork screw and attempted to pull the cork without using the claw-like lever device, tearing the cork. I grabbed the bottle and corkscrew from him, telling him I could open the bottle. Not only did he not know how to use a corkscrew, he was using one that had it’s screw broken off; there was about one inch of screw.
We asked him to get another bottle opener. The hostess delivered one and we opened our own bottle of wine.
Operating a corkscrew is not intuitive (I still can’t figure out the Rabbit). Wine bottle opening should be one of the first things a restaurant trains its servers.
Did I mention that there’s a $4 corking fee? Yeah, we paid $4 for waiting forever to drink, plastic cups, and opening our own wine.
We knew we were doomed after the whole drink ordeal. Witnessing the table behind us leave before their food came out was also a sign of things to come.
We said that if we finished our bottle of wine before the food came out, we’d leave. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I’m a slow sipper, and my partner actually held out on the last glass in hopes of food arriving (he eventually gave up and poured the last glass right before the food arrived), we would have finished the bottle before the food came.
The food arrived about an hour and fifteen minutes after we arrived. Wanna know what it looked like? Sorry! It was light outside when we arrived on what was actually the longest day of the year, but it was pitch black when we got the food. I actually couldn’t see it with my own eyes, since we were sitting away from the few lights on the side of the building.
I ordered a sampler plate of three sides – cabbage, okra and tomato stew, and beans and rice. Cabbage and okra are two of my favorite vegetables. The steamed cabbage was great; just like any steamed cabbage you get in the
My partner ordered the bangin' seitan and tofu curry stew. I liked it, with its heavy spices, but my partner was only mildly enamored by the stew of seitan, tofu, onions, carrots, and god knows what else, because we couldn’t see our plates. The stew came with the same cabbage, and rice and beans as my plate. His entrée also came with fried plantains and a roll that tasted like a deep-fried Pillsbury crescent roll, but shaped into a knot.
All of the items on my plate were warm to luke-warm. On my partner’s plate, the rice was scorching hot, the cabbage luke-warm, and the curry stew cold.
This poor experience at the Jamaican Jerk hut is unfortunately not uncommon, as similar stories are peppered throughout comments on online restaurant review sites.
The wait staff is incompetent, part of which may not be their fault. Do they have assigned tables, or is this a communal serving system? If it’s communal, drop that! I’ve never dined at a restaurant implementing communal serving that had good service.
There are obviously problems getting food out of the kitchen.
The only person who was working their tail off, and knew what was up and what was down, was the hostess. I wish we could have tipped her, instead of our server.
Yeah, we tipped! Twenty percent on the food, but not the cover charge or the corkage fee. Like we’re really going to stiff our honest server who had no idea our table was his (maybe his fault, maybe not), and has no control over the kitchen?
You couldn’t pay me to go back to Jamaican Jerk Hut. It’s one thing to wait a long time for food when you have drinks and a little nibble to tide you over (we never did get chips and salsa like everyone else), but twiddling your thumbs for thirty minutes before even being served a glass of water does not make for happy campers.
Jamaican Jerk Hut
1436 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146