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New Albanian Brewhouse Bad Experience

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Re: New Albanian Brewhouse Review

Postby Paul Mick » Mon Jul 27, 2009 2:47 am

J Dylan wrote:By the way, I love your place.

As soon as I read this, a movie scene popped into my head and I laughed out loud! I don't intend for this to be taken negatively; I just feel that anyone still reading the thread at this point needs a chuckle or two. :wink:

Silence of the Lambs:

The senator snubs Lecter, at which point he gives her a long and detailed description of the man who abducted her daughter.

As he's being hauled away in chains, he looks up and says:

"Oh, and Senator, just one more thing: love your suit! " :o
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Re: New Albanian Brewhouse Review

Postby Annemarie M » Mon Jul 27, 2009 2:48 am

ok i'm a bit confused and i think because it's late you are confusing who's who in these stories. there is a jd barger and a j dylan. one complained about the beer and food the other about ramsi's and the forum. but somehow because it's late it got twisted around i think. this is getting a bit confusing because they both have a j in their name. if i'm wrong about this, forgive me it's late. my brain needs to rest now. :)
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Re: New Albanian Brewhouse Review

Postby Marsha L. » Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:01 am

Paul Mick wrote:
In summation, I've been writing these two posts for an hour now. I started very shortly after you posted, and now its nearly 2:30 in the morning and I'm tired.

Apologies in advance, Paul - I agreed with many of your points, but I can't help giggling at the thought of you waking up this morning and realizing that the person you were spending all that time refuting wasn't the original poster.

J Dylan, although I think you could be a little calmer, I have to admit I've been to Ramsi's thrice and the only time I was at all impressed was the Sunday brunch buffet, and upon reflection I think that might have been largely because I had wonderful company. Places with menus that extensive always frighten me a little bit - not because I'm not adventurous, just because I don't understand how they can keep all those hundreds of ingredients stored at the height of freshness. However, I can readily admit that vegetarians and vegans need a place with a lot of choices, and one that stays open late, to boot (and by all accounts, it's many people's go-to place for one of these two reasons). It's just not my thing. So hopefully this will illustrate that we're not all just knee-jerk defenders of every local favorite.

I've been to BSB once and loved it. People's mileage may vary. I appreciated that JD finally cleared up that they did have something to eat there. I wonder if the server's response to their query might have colored their enjoyment of the appetizer, though. I know that's happened to me at other places before - once you're offended, it's hard to be objective about the rest of the experience. Roger has said he will address the server's behavior, and I believe him.
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Re: New Albanian Brewhouse Review

Postby carla griffin » Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:37 am

This shouldn't be a surprise after Robin started accepting advertising on the site. How can we respect Robin's reviews of a restaurant that pays him? Even if a restaurant has not paid him to advertise here, his opinion is jaded. Would a restaurant be more or less likely to pay to advertise here after a good or bad review?
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As the salesperson responsible for for the advertising on Louisville HotBytes please allow me this opportunity to explain a few things. OK, only one thing. When ANY business is approached for an advertising purchase on Louisville HotBytes it is pointedly discussed that :
1. ..who I approach for advertising is never even discussed with Robin. In fact, Robin makes it a point to NOT discuss anything about advertising with me because it is essential that he remain impartial.
2. ...buying advertising on LHB in no way either suggests or implies a favorable review of any kind.

Please note Mr/Ms Dylan, that MOST of our advertisers are not even restaurants. They are restaurant suppliers and therefore not reviewed. We have had Seviche and Road to Morocco as advertisers and, as previously noted, both had already experienced positive reviews.

On a personal note, I have more than 15 years of advertising experience and have NEVER, repeat, NEVER
offered a positive review or guaranteed (or implied) editorial coverage in any way for any of the clients to which I have had the pleasure of selling advertising.
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Re: New Albanian Brewhouse Review

Postby Linda C » Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:17 am

In the last 7 years, we've been every summer to Europe- Austria, Germany, Switzerland (3 times) and France. We are avid hikers and our daily ritual is to have a beer for lunch. I have never been served a warm beer or even one at room temp. The Augustiner beer garden in Salzburg had quite cold beer. To make a broad assumption such as "germans prefer warm beer" or such is questionable. I'm sure certain regions or families may vary to some degree, but usually my water is much warmer than the beer.
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Re: New Albanian Brewhouse Review

Postby JustinHammond » Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:34 am

I have never had beer at Bank St, but I have had many at Richo's. I have never had a problem with the temp. of their beer. I don't think it is served much, if any, warmer than any other bar.
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Re: New Albanian Brewhouse Review

Postby Brian Curl » Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:47 am

Breakfast at Proof on Main
by Ellen P » Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:23 am

We have a gift certificate from Proof. We had decided to use it for weekend breakfasts instead of one expensive meal. It's hard for us to pay $100 plus for a restaurant meal - principle, not necessarily financial issue.
Anyway, $39 plus tip for breakfast for 2. Mike had 2 eggs, sausage, toast, and grits. I had the Proof Benedict and a scone. The server was surprised that we were local and wondered why more people didn't dine there. The cost would be my thought I think of Wild Eggs and the huge portions for half the price.
Excellent ingredients. Service alright.

I'm posting this recent post by Ellen as an example. This is a local spot. It is what I see as a fair, specific and logical review. It is not sensationalized or exagerated. She could have substituted "Service Poor" instead of "Service alright" and no one would have argued with her. She has got her point accross that it is too expensive in her opinion based on her principles and she could possibly get bigger portions for a lower price at Wild Eggs.

No one is going to argue with this or debate her review other than to possibly agree or say that they've had a different experience.

However, as with anything in life, if you don't have a logical argument (or review in this case) then possible flaws will be pointed out. There is no "click" on this board, however, most do support local proprietors mainly because for the most part they are providing a higher quality product.
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Re: New Albanian Brewhouse Review

Postby Robin Garr » Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:51 am

Nimbus Couzin wrote:(If I was moderator, I'd give JDylan a boot from this forum, based on his unfounded accusations. But I'm not the mod. He basically accuses Robin of making moderating and review decisions based on potential advertising revenue. Totally unfounded and ridiculous accusations. He'd be gone on my forum)

Tempting. Oh, so tempting. But then, if I let it stand, it shows my respect for forumites, residing in my assumption that readers are smart enough to consider both sides and draw their own conclusions. 8)
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Re: New Albanian Brewhouse Review

Postby Roger A. Baylor » Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:13 am

The weekend is over, and as promised, here I am, feeling a tad more feisty than usual.

In its original, pre-Dylan incarnation (nope, not going there), this “terrible” thread was reported to me on Saturday afternoon by a close friend, who texted:

“Check Hotbytes. Heads up! Some dude did a drive by on you.”

The regulars know that I’ve been here at the forum for a while, and I fully support the dialogue therein. It is a wonderful place to skim the bounty of food and drink in metro Louisville, and the fact that industry folks convene here, too, makes it even better.

Because perfection is a pipe dream, and people aren’t the same, there’ll be good and bad reviews. Accordingly, I’ve no intention of ducking the critique of Bank Street beer temperatures and service. At the same time, I’m trying to strike a balance in this response, as well as give everyone an honest impression of a peripheral, yet important issue: There is a right way and a wrong way for us to serve a beer, and there’s also a right way and a wrong way to address it in this forum.

I said nothing to Robin about changing the title. However, I noted that if you want me to address the issue, a subject heading that says my business is “terrible” is no way to get an answer, because every time there is a response and a bump, another knitting needle pierces my eyeball. I’m many things, some good and some bad, but I’m no masochist, and furthermore, I’m no fan of self-flagellation, which is the stuff of brain damage, cults or both.

A business transaction that went unfortunately awry is something I can address and maybe even prevent from happening again. It’s no time to reinvent the wheel, or to expect that human nature doesn’t apply to me, too. If you begin by kicking me in the groin, I’m not going to be in a mood to be reasonable.

Having conceded that I’m in a certain frame of mind, here goes.

First: The post in question wasn’t really about the food at BSB, although the author’s original choice of words had the unfortunate effect of maligning the food right along with the beer and service, at least before Robin changed the title. If one doesn’t “care” for mussels, it could be because of unfamiliarity with them, or just a simple dislike of the preparation method. Since we’ve had so many favorable comments to date about Josh’s mussels, this sounds like an observation that I can’t really address with accuracy. Perhaps JDB would care to elaborate?

Here’s what I’ve learned about the temperature of the keg boxes where the beer at Bank Street is stored, thanks to the forensic analysis of our director of brewing operations: 39 degrees on one, 41 on another, and 48 on the cask ale box. The first two hold everyday, CO2 driven kegs. The latter stores cask-conditioned Beak’s Best on hand pull, and also holds two other everyday, CO2 driven kegs.

I don’t know which beers the Friday visitors ordered. If Beak’s, then warmer is correct for cask-conditioned, hand-pulled ale. Even given a swing in temperature that’s customary in refrigeration, the warmest that the other two, Phoenix or Kaiser, would have been probably was around 52 degrees.

Both, but especially the Kaiser, would benefit from being served a bit cooler, and we talked yesterday about switching the 15B Porter to the warmer cask box, perhaps along with a strong Belgian (in the future), seeing as these two would be better served warmer than cooler.

As for the beer temperature, then, we’re generally where we’d like to be in the keg boxes, but we could stand some tweaking in terms of keg placement. The only action that might explain “hot” would be if we served a pint that had been sitting out, already poured. This shouldn’t ever happen, but perhaps it did, so I cannot rule it out. The point will be duly reiterated with bartender and servers, our procedures will be reviewed, and I’m happy that it has been brought to my attention.

A personal note to JDB: Being snarky about well-intentioned efforts on the part of readers like Paul, whose interest lies in educating people about proper beer temperatures, doesn’t change the fact that there are proper temperatures for beer, or that considerations of the same extend somewhat beyond “cold” and “frosted.” It’s obviously our obligation to try and hit those marks as best we can. Based on my experience at the Public House, once you’re up to 40 draft lines and 300 bottles, serving each beer at the correct temperature becomes plainly impossible, and all that can be done is to try and arrive at a reasonable mean. It should be more closely attainable in a situation like BSB’s, where there are fewer draft lines.

The major point of the “terrible” allegation in the “review” is service, specifically (a) the purportedly brusque “we do it that way here” attitude, and (b) whether this is the result of our servers absorbing too much of the Publican’s “passion,” which unfortunately in the context of this attribution comes off sounding like something that’s bad.

Actually, I want all the servers – and the kitchen workers, and the dish washers – to be as passionate about beer as I am, and I’ll make no apologies for that. But of course, I don’t approve of servers being rude, or tossing expedient brush-offs sans better, more accurate explanations when a customer asks a question. I’m the one walking the tightrope, and not them. I’m the one who says what I think, not them.

I also know that when it’s busy, as it was on Friday, things can happen or be misinterpreted in the heat of the battle. Our GM has spoken with both of the servers who were there on Friday. Neither of them can recall occurrences out of the ordinary, or having the impression that their customers were unhappy. Knowing both of them fairly well, I’m inclined to accept their recollections as authentic, with a sizeable caveat that it will not exempt them from a strong reminder that more detailed explanations must be proffered when the occasion merits, and that they are not permitted to be as outspoken as me.

It’s a gray world out here. I absolutely believe that in this case, the customer considered the beer too warm, and asked about it. I also believe that the server replied and didn’t see it as something worthy of a more detailed explanation. My guess is that both parties are right, although it’s our burden to communicate, and we didn’t do so in a manner that would have prevented a specific business transaction from being derailed.

We’re taking another, closer look at the draft system, and we’ll chat with the servers about being more pro-active. I trust these steps will forestall the majority of future concerns.

Now … this may shock some of you … but if readers are waiting eagerly for me to throw an employee under the bus and begin making the usual gestures, it’s not going to happen – not after the “terrible” banner was affixed to a complaint that could have come to my attention first, or at the very least been properly phrased here on the forum. “Terrible” was provocative, as was the crack about my “passion,” and all of it massively annoys me, as does the subsequent attack on Paul Mick.

Maybe I'm just too damned passionate. When I stop being this way, it's time to move on, or die.

Anyone and everyone: If you have a questionable experience at BSB or Grant Line, ask for the manager, and/or the GM, and/or send me a PM using the handy mailing device here at the forum, and we can exchange information. I regularly bend over backwards to try to make things work, and so do my partners and our staffs at both locations. I know full well that nothing and no one are perfect, but we get it right most of the time.

Yes, there are going to be mistakes, and the best that can be said about it is that mistakes are tolerable so long as we learn from them. Whatever happened on Friday night, we’ll learn from it.

In the preceding, I have tried to outline what we at Bank Street Brewhouse have learned from this, er, “review” of our performance. We will seek to be as good as we can be, and I hope this is enough. Thanks for the space to respond. I'll try to be available today for follow-ups, although it's booked fairly tightly.
Roger A. Baylor
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Re: New Albanian Brewhouse Review

Postby Deb Hall » Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:33 am

As a frequent poster, I must agree that there is favoritism show by posters for local places, particularly those who post to this site. But that's because we are a Com munity. When you know the faces behind your review it's hard to say something negative about someone's baby-which is also their income. That only makes us human and caring.
Brian & I had dinner at a struggling local place a couple of weeks ago. I've had this Chef's food before and it was excellent. This night my food was fine ; Brian' entrée was not good and the presentation was entirely lacking. But I did not post as I gave it to the Chef having a bad night. There were only two other tables full while we were there, and personally I don't want to be responsible for discouraging others from giving it a chance. Shoot me, but I think there are times to be kind and not say anything.
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Re: New Albanian Brewhouse Review

Postby Joseph M » Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:39 am

Well said, Roger. Really classy. If that doesn't just about wrap things up on this topic, I imagine nothing... ever... will, haha.
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Re: New Albanian Brewhouse Review

Postby Brad Keeton » Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:58 am

Wow. This was a nice thread to read to start my week.

Without re-hashing what has been said over and over, I did want to chime in on the "some places are too loved here to post something bad." I agree that there are favorites, and often those the establishments whose owners and chefs participate here, but at the same time I've never felt bad posting about a bad experience.

As an easy example is my own posting a few months ago about questionable treatment at the Boombozz Taphouse. Boombozz, and especially the Taphouse, is certainly a much-loved business here and in the community at large, but with a few exceptions, 90% of those that commented on my experience felt I was justified in what I said. The owner posted, things were largely cleared up, and we all moved on.

Participants are surely free post bad experiences about any local establishment, including those whose owners and chefs participate here, it's just that it's important to provide as much detail as possible, and also to be able to handle others disagreeing with your point of view.

Also, titles are a big deal. In my Boombozz rant from months ago, I titled it pretty strongly initially because I was crazy peeved, but upon an apology and explanation by Tony P., and my own head cooling off, I willingly "downgraded" the title, as it wasn't fair to the business for everyone who reads here to continutally see that strong of a title just based on one bad experience.

Also, FWIW, I dig Bank Street, but I've only been once.
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Re: New Albanian Brewhouse Review

Postby Kyle L » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:04 am

I like beer.
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Re: New Albanian Brewhouse Review

Postby Steve H » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:18 am

There's no reason to care about my opinion, but I'll share it anyway.

This whole thread has taken on the feel of "shoot the messenger". Not everyone who posts here is going to have experience writing restaurant reviews. There is going to be a dramatic difference between posters' writing skills.

What I read was that the customer had had this same beer before, and that this time it was different than before, and "almost hot". The server had an opportunity to check the beer to see if there really was something wrong, but basically blew it by assuming the customer was some rube that didn't understand how that beer should have been served, and didn't deserve an explanation either. Maybe it was always severed too cold before?

There was not enough information provided to determine whether there was an actual problem with the mussels or if it was a matter of personal preference. But, whose fault is that? The server had already made the customer feel unwelcome. And the response of the forum to this thread makes it even more unlikely that this information will ever be forthcoming.

I'd be surprised that anyone in that group will ever grace BSB's door again. And this forum was distinctly unhelpful in saving that relationship.
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Re: New Albanian Brewhouse Review

Postby Paul Mick » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:33 am

annemarie m wrote:ok i'm a bit confused and i think because it's late you are confusing who's who in these stories. there is a jd barger and a j dylan. one complained about the beer and food the other about ramsi's and the forum. but somehow because it's late it got twisted around i think. this is getting a bit confusing because they both have a j in their name. if i'm wrong about this, forgive me it's late. my brain needs to rest now. :)

Marsha L. wrote:Apologies in advance, Paul - I agreed with many of your points, but I can't help giggling at the thought of you waking up this morning and realizing that the person you were spending all that time refuting wasn't the original poster.


Yeah that was probably a mistake in retrospect, but there was a reason for the assumption I made.

In the thread about Mojito's being sold, JD Barger mentioned that she needed to change her email because it was still using her maiden name and she was now married. Coupled with that, and J Dylan's reference to a post being a drunken mistake (which sounded like the Mojito's being sold to O'Charley's thread), and their mutual love of the word "terrible," and I just assumed Dylan was the D from JD Barger. That's what passes for deduction at 2 AM! :?

Apologies for the confusion, and any toes I may have stepped on.
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