Sunday, December 23, 2007

Saravaan Bhavan at New York...A Curse!

I think this is my 15th or 20th visit to Saravana Bhavan at Lexington Avenue, in New York city. I have been one of their regular customers and an ardent connoisseur of their food, from the day of their inception. But nowadays, I'm starting to feel otherwise. I see their quality, service and the organisation deteriorating pretty consistently. It is difficult to maintain that kind of a consistent 'down-slope' in the performance and Saravana Bhavan gets an easy 10 on 10 on that. During my last 3 or 4 visits I have been experiencing that 'untold desi racism against desis' and a lucid display of attitude issue among the waiters. It is pretty disturbing to think of it. And today when I went in for lunch, it was 3pm and thanks to the crowd, me and my friend had to wait for over 15 mins after writing our name in the 'waiting list'. Then we got the call to get inside. We also witnessed the OPEN neon lights changing to CLOSED during our wait time. All the waiters were in absolute hurry and the moment they gave us the menu card, they instantly asked us to order the food. Maybe they expected us to know the menu by heart.

We ordered for South Indian thali. The quality of the food was good and as usual. But they did not serve us water thru-out. Nobody even bothered about it. And while we were having our food, I was able to sense the 'hurry' in waiters. One guy even asked me once if I'm done, when I was not even half-way thru. It was a little embarassing to tell him that I was still working. He hurried to the next table and asked the same question. Maybe he was hoping that people would finish off and get the hell outta there ASAP. And they did not ask us if we would like any desserts and they gave us the checks in moments.

I asked for suggestion book, which they did not have obviously. They surprisingly asked me why do I need one. I said I have some comments and the waiter told me write the comments on the back-side of the check. I knew it would be in vain to write, but still I did, atleast to satisfy myself.

If they want to close the restaurant, why don't they put the CLOSED sign in advance? I feel they should treat the customers well, no matter what time they come in(during the closing hours or opening hours). They just can't hurry people in having food. I hope they become aware that they are not doin us any favor and they are serving us for what we pay. In not learning that, they are only losing customers.

There have been days where I have recommended Saravana Bhavan to many of my friends and colleagues.

But now I'm saying - McDonalds, Burger King and Chipotle serve you much better!


anantha said...

Its not just the Lexington Ave branch. It is the same even in the Edison branch. Yesterday, I poured water for myself and got my check before the dessert arrived.

But I am not sure if its racism. Because the staff is very courteous. I think its a customer service issue more than anything else.

Arun Sundar said...

I said Racism, bcoz those guys do better service when it is localites. Maybe you are right - it might be customer service issue as well.

I once went to Edison Saravanaas once and had a nice experience, both with the food and the service [but it was crowded :( ]

Amar said...

I am not sure about the racism, but the customer service really sucks. I was going there just because of the food. It's high time to explore something better.

Arun: I suggest you to write a review in sites like City Search, Yahoo etc. That way more people can read, decide and rate the restaurant.

Arun Sundar said...

Amar, I just wrote a review in City Search, only to find there are a lot of dissatisfied people, voz of their Saravanaas experience.

Amar said...

Sorry to say that you posted your review for "Saravana Bhavan" and not for "Saravanaas". Please correct it.

Arun Sundar said...


Me said...

I do think some folks at desi restaurants are racists

maxdavinci said...

I actually loved the Edison/Oak Rd branch. Fantastic food, great thalaiva moosik and the sambar was pramadam!

Arun Sundar said...


Sad to see so many people agree with me.

I agree with the sambar part though :)