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."
10 Responses
  1. sporkgasm Says:

    You were much nicer than I by simply getting up and leaving. I'm sad to hear this happened, but I'm glad I talked to you about it so I don't waste my time or money supporting this place.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Good to know - we almost made reservations for V-day! We are going to Sergio's steak & Seafood in Folsom. We went once before and the service was impeccable and the food delish! They have the best tiramisu in town!!!

  3. CAMichelle Says:

    Such a bummer! Hopefully he'll get the staffing issues rectified soon or it will be a bust for Chef Daniel. Ppl only put up with the wait at La Bonne Soup because the reward (the food) was well worth it. But driving all the way out to Folsom to be ignored? No thanks!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    My husband and I went there a couple of weeks ago and our experience was very different. We did have to wait for our table even though we had a reservation. However, the service was very good and the food was wonderful. The pace of each course was very nice and allowed us to relax and enjoy each other and dish. We will be visiting again, soon.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Had the most wonderful meal last week at Chez Daniel. I wish the author had stopped being so petulant and had stayed to try the food. This is a MUST visit for anyone who enjoys the French restaurant experience and is not in a rush. The pace is slow, yes, just like a restaurant should be - if you're in a hurry, try In 'n Out.
    I'll be going back to Chez Daniel again and again - one of the best restaurants this side of San Francisco.

  6. Ally Says:

    Dear Anonymous Commenter,
    We weren't being petulant...service was slow but the main reason we walked out was due to it being slow and RUDE. The woman working the front desk really needs to learn some customer service skills and the waiter needs to learn how to at least acknowledge a table when it's been sitting there for over 10 minutes. Even a "I'll be by in a moment," will do.

    If you're trying to be a high end restaurant (which Pont states he is trying to do), then the service should reflect that.

  7. Carolyn Bertrand Says:

    Micro portions, incredibly slow service. Expected better. We'll stick with Bistro La Petite France.

  8. Brownshoe Sailor Says:

    We went to Daniel's for our 34th anniversary. With unexpectedly easy traffic we arrived almosty 15 minutes early, so we did not begrudge a few minutes wait as the waiter - the only person in the front of the house - finished resetting a two place table near the window. We had a delightful time. The duck (my wife's almost automatic choice) was out, but she was taken by the Petrale sole special. This meant that the Chateau Neuf we intended to share would be a little much, but the waiter recommended a Medoc that worked well with both duck and my boeuf montagnard - and finished especially well after the perfect onion soup. After a few bouts of jury duty back in the La Bonne Soupe days, we knew Daniel's soups would be good. Nice greens in the salad with a perfect light vinaigrette. Both entrees were a delight. Well sauced sole, tender medallion of beef with roquefort and a delicate madeira sauce. Micro portions? Only by Chinese smorgy standards.

    I'm not a great fan of floating island (oeufs à la neige), but my wife's creme brulee was very good, as was my coffee. Two meals and a good wine, good service, a leisurely dinner in a pleasant small room, and all for just over $100 and under 100 miles from home. C'est bon!

  9. Camille Fontaine Says:

    Went this week . Took my French MIL with me. Both of us left disappointed. Had to wait 15 minutes over our reservation time. There was no bar area to wait in do we just stood there. This was very hard on my elderly maman, she has a bad leg. No chair was offered.

    Food was mediocre. The quality of the fish and meat seemed subpar. Nothing interesting on the wine list. Not sure people are making a fuss about this place.

    Wish we had read this review before going. Merci!

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Looks like you weren't the only one who was disappointed with Chez Daniel:

Post a Comment