With Cafe Sebastienne making OpenTable’s Top 10 List of “Fit for Foodies”, and earning 4.5 stars on Yelp, I was excited to try this place out. We arrived 30 minutes early for our reservation, so we took our time exploring the Kemper Museum of Modern Art that houses Cafe Sebastienne.
(Photo Credit gaytravel.about.com)
We are seated in a very open space. On a Friday night, the restaurant was completely empty, and the staff had blocked off half of the dining area to make the very open space more intimate. While waiting for the rest of our party to arrive, we decide to start off with some aperitif cocktails. The waitress was nice enough to bring us out some very tasty bread while we waited and ordered cocktails. Unfortunately, these cocktails turned into a disaster that ruined dinner before it had even began.
(Photo Credit pitch.com)
I asked for a dry fruit forward red wine, and received a very very sweet red wine instead. The rest of my friends ordered drinks directly off Cafe Sebastienne’s own cocktail menu. First, the Extra Dirty Martini ordered directly off the menu. The restaurant was apparently out of olives and olive juice, so instead our waitress to the creative liberty to replace olive juice with lemon juice. Instead of an Extra Dirty Martini, my friend was served a vodka, straight up, with a lemon twist.
The next cocktail menu total failure was ordering the Old Fashioned cocktail. Now, I just want to remind everyone that we weren’t exactly ordering custom made cocktails, there are very easy, very traditional cocktails we ordered directly off the cocktail menu. Well apparently Cafe Sebastienne was again, out of the necessary ingredients. Rather than mashing fresh orange slices into the old fashioned, our waitress again too creative liberties and instead replaced orange slices with Cointreau. The cocktail tasted like a disgusting Sonic slushy spiked with booze.
In both cases, the waitress didn’t fess up to changing the drinks, she actually denied that there was anything wrong. When we complained, she did nothing to fix the situation, did not offer to replace the drinks, and still charged us full price for the drinks (plus included gratuity for a large group). UNBELIEVABLE! What’s more, she actually took a condescending attitude with us, and told us we just don’t know what the drink is supposed to look and taste like.
At this point I excused myself from the table, and walked out to the waiting area to book a new dinner reservation at a new restaurant. Now I have almost never in my life up and left a restaurant. I’m the kind of person to slog through the meal, and bitch about it later on Yelp, but our entire group was feeling very uneasy about this meal on a very special occasion, and we weren’t willing to take the risk. I didn’t want to lose a single additional dollar to this miserable restaurant. If a restaurant is out of the necessary ingredients to make their own cocktails, I couldn’t imagine the creative liberties this restaurant might take with our entrees. “Oh you wanted risotto with umi?? I replaced it with cod! Now eat it and like it! Oh, and I’ll be charging you a mandatory 18% gratuity as well.”
Looking back, a lot of the positive reviews for Cafe Sebastienne are for lunch service, not dinner service. Avoid this restaurant like the plague at dinner time. That’s $12 for a terrible tasting cocktail I’ll never get back. If Cafe Sebastienne had any hope of ever actually breaking a profit, they need to fire their worthless, condescending waitstaff immediately. Unbelievable.