49 Natoma Street, Folsom, CA 95630. (916) 353-1938
If you ever want to waste a gallon of gas, a half an hour of your time and REALLY piss yourself off then by all means book a reservation at Chez Daniel.
This past Saturday night, Mr.S. and I had plans on going out and enjoying a romantic (early) Valentine's Day dinner. We wanted to try somewhere new and even though Chez Daniel was across town and was a bit of a drive for us, we decided to book reservations there. Unlike BAR and Kira O'Donnell, we didn't seem to have any issues with trying to get reservations- we called, someone answered and we were on the books. The problems actually arose once we got there.
Now, I'm pretty unfamiliar with my way around the city of Folsom so I was lucky that Mr.S. is great with maps. We zig-zagged down a few streets after we exited 50 and Chez Daniel turned out to be in the heart of the older Folsom district in a dimly lit strip mall, right next to a massage parlor and a Golden 1 ATM. We showed up on time and entered the small restaurant which was nicely decorated with white linens and whimsically lit small Eiffel towers. The woman running the hostess stand didn't offer a greeting as we stood there so I advised her we had a reservation; she seemed extremely put out in response and then advised me that people were still eating at the table she had reserved for us and we could look at a menu while we waited. There was no "waiting area" per se except a small bare area by the door so we stood squished next to another couple, also looking at a menu. As we looked at the night's menu, I noticed the restaurant housed about nine tables, two of which were empty- a four-top and a two-top. While we were waiting, the hostess brusquely asked the other couple if they wanted the two-top which was near the entrance door, they politely refused and said they would wait. At this point, the restaurant's only waiter came out of the back, he took one look at both of us couples huddled uncomfortably in the entryway and hissed at the hostess to seat both parties immediately. So she seated the other couple at the four-top and then told us we had to sit at the two-top by the door (this is after having us wait for fifteen minutes by the door for the table that was occupied). Once I was seated, I had my napkin in my hand and was unfolding it, she grabbed it out of my hand and in a extremely rude tone advised me, "Let me do that." Mr.S. was watching me at this point because according to him (as he told me later) I was mashing my lips together, which is something I do usually when I'm furious. So we sat there and looked at our menus for a half a second; after all, we had ample time to study them by the door. Five minutes passed...ten minutes passed...fifteen minutes passed since we sat down...still no one came by our table to greet us, bring us water, bread, take our order or anything. I'm starving and it's like we're the invisible couple. I look over, they're ignoring the other newly sat couple as well. The waiter's ambling around pouring wine and chatting with one of the other tables and the hostess is at the stand next to our table shuffling papers about. Finally it's been over fifteen minutes and I can feel myself ready to pop with anger like a champagne bottle, I give Mr.S. a look (a look that rarely flashes across my face) and tell him I want to leave. I feel like Chez Daniel has ruined my romantic Valentine's Day dinner and if I stay there one more millisecond, they'll ruin my entire evening. We decide to leave; luckily, we were able to secure reservations at another restaurant (which I'll write about soon) where the service was exemplary, the food was delicious and they seemed happy to have our business.
I've always been a huge supporter of Chef Pont for years despite his quirks when he ran La Bonne Soupe, but this visit at Chez Daniel left a rancid taste in my mouth and I won't be trekking out to Folsom to try his new place out again. Obviously, his front of the house staff has never heard of the old adage, "Politeness goes far, yet costs nothing."