I drive by this restaurant all the time. The name grabs me. I wonder what kind of food they serve and who goes there. I decided finally to give it a try during DineLA week. My reservation was made for Xiomara (See-o-mara), a Cuban fusion restaurant on Melrose Avenue just past Highland.
The reservation was for four people at 9pm. The restaurant was quiet on this Monday night with only four other parties seated. Having looked over the DineLA prix fixe menu before arriving, we were all hungry and eager to enjoy the food at Xiomara.
Then the waiting game began. Our party was promptly seated at our table, but no menus were given. A server came to our table and took our drink order. Four tantalizing mojoitos arrived at our table, but still no menus. We sat for 20 minutes before receiving a menu.
Our appetizers came out relatively quickly and we thoroughly enjoyed them, however the rest of the meal dragged on. Our plates were cleared, our drinks finished, and no entrees in sight. By the time our entrees were delivered, only one other party remained in the eerily quiet restaurant. By the time we received dessert, even they were gone. To make matters worse, the ice cream accompaniment to our tres leches cake was half melted. Our friend’s three-gelato sampler turned out to be three samples of mango. Our server told her that this was the only gelato they had. Suffice it to say she did not order mango at all and did not eat her dessert.
At this point we were ready to leave. We waited for our check and had trouble even finding one of the two servers to bring it to us. Did I mention that it was already 11pm! The bill was presented and we immediately put down our payment. I could see one of the servers behind me cleaning silverware while the other server was at the front of the restaurant setting tables. No one was acknowledging us. I would have asked for a manager, but it was very evident that there was no manager working that night. Finally in our frustration we called for the server across the room. We waited another 19 minutes for the bill to return and watched as the two servers struggled with splitting our check. The check returned manually written and the server explained that the Micros system had crashed. Fine. Yet, another problem occurred- we had been overcharged. Imagine how frustrated we are at this point, tired from all the waiting and ready to go home. I again flagged down a server and tried to explain that we were charged incorrectly, but rather than understanding their error and fixing the mistake, the servers argued over it in front of us.
We left Xiomara upset and completely disappointed. From the minute we sat down to the minute we left, we received poor customer service. Throughout our dinner we were kind and tolerant, but we should not have spent $200 on a dinner that took 2 hours and 20 minutes. What disappoints me most is that we enjoyed our meal and were looking forward to sharing a positive experience, but after receiving such completely horrible service we will certainly never be back.
I wrote to the General Manager to explain what happened on our visit. It took her almost a week to send this response:
Xiomara had a meeting with all the employees that worked on Monday night to discuss the service your received.
According to the servers the reason you did not receive menus as soon as you were seated is that your group did not all arrive at the same time and they waited until your group had completely arrived before giving you the menus.
The problem with the melted ice cream was that it literally had just finished churning and had not had time to freeze- it should not have been served. it seems that the server did not put the sorbet order in with the flavors that were requested. the server should never had told you that we only had mango, since we did have all the flavors on the menu.
The disagreement on how to split your check happened because our pos
system was not processing credit cards, the filter on our water heater had burst over the weekend and shorted out several different electronic systems and the hardware to process the credit cards had not been replace yet. However, they should not have disagreed in your presence nor should they have double charged the sales tax, that was someone not understanding how to fill out the credit card slip.
The service you received was not our normal standard and Xiomara would like to send you a gift certificate for 2 mojitos and 2 appetizers.
I cannot believe that a restaurant would be so apathetic to this situation. I expected a sincere apology and acknowledgement of what went wrong on our visit. Instead Xiomara’s General Manager passively justified all of the evening’s mistakes. In a sense she validated the poor customer service we received. Her offer of 2 mojitos and 2 appetizers hardly compensates for our four meals. Take my advice: there are many fantastic restaurants in Los Angeles – do not waste your time or your money on Xiomara.