Let me start by saying that we had high expectations for Old Man and the Sea. My husband and I have read many a rave review and were willing to spend the money for an expensive dinner on the beach. I am very pleased that many others have had wonderful experiences at this restaurant. We do understand that many folks have had very enjoyable experiences at this restaurant, however for us the experience was not the same and our expectations, for the price we paid, were not met on more than one count.
We arrived on time for our 8:30 p.m. reservation and despite an email request for a table on the water, were seated away from the water. There were at least 5 tables on the water which had no one sitting at them. I have since been told by a friend that they too were a party of more than two and were also not seated next to the water.
Once our waiter arrived with the menus we were asked for our drink requests. Glasses of red and white wine were ordered, and the red glass came back with greasy finger prints on it. A clean glass was asked for, and the waiter said, it was dirty "only" on the outside. He relented and did bring another glass, but this glass again had the same greasy fingerprints. It seemed the waiter, from my observations of service to other tables, was serving with his hand on the goblet and not the stem. My husband gave up and settled for a greasy glass.
Next came our dinner order, we ordered:
Two hot appetizers
Scallops Seaside Duet
Spicy Caesar Salad, Crab
Avocado Salad & Pear
Sober Capt. Joby’s Seafood Exploration
"Concert for two"- shrimp, chicken, fish, lamb chops, tenderloin, scallops
Mint Chocolate Mousse
The waiter wanted to bring all our appetizers and salads together. If we wanted this type of dining we could have eaten much cheaper in the states at any number of truck stops. Once we explained the order of service, which was assumed in a restaurant like this, the waiter complied with our request.
Shortly afterward the manager came and introduced himself. We explained the problem with the second greasy glass and he did not offer to replace it. In addition we told him about the question regarding the order of service. He stated he would speak to the waiter about it. The manager did and then the waiter came back to the table with an attitude stating, "Every customer has a different preference". Funny, first time we have been asked this question in any "fine dining" establishment.
The stuffed oyster appetizer was served cold, not even lukewarm and had to be sent back. The waiter offered to serve my salad while a new order of oysters was prepared. That was fine. When the order of oysters came, and from then on through the meal, we were served off of plates which were so hot that the heat literally radiated off them. I took this as a definite sign the kitchen was trying to tell us that they got the message. In my mind they took it too far and were now mocking us. Sarcasm at its worst is pretty darn ugly.
The food for the most part was good, not great and inconsistent. The pasta was over cooked, and one salad had the tails off the shrimp and one entree had the tails on the shrimp.
Coffee and dessert was ordered. I asked for a decaf cappuccino, and was served a decaf coffee. The check arrived and we were billed for three desserts and not two. Again, this was inattention on the part of the waiter. The error was fixed after pointing it out to the waiter. After spending as much as we did for this meal, we should not have had to "monitor" the waiter's every move.
The wait staff was very young, but we are not ancient and very grudgingly if ever complain about food or service in any restaurant, whether in Aruba or at home. Instead of a "confrontation", which my husband and I sincerely dislike, we simply do not return after a bad meal. This instance however was different to us in that after having spent $300, including the service charge, for a dinner for three people, we definitely felt cheated of not only our money, but a romantic beach dining experience.
Having been a customer service manager as well as a third generation member of a restaurant family, I fully realize that in there are "off" nights, but again, for the money, there is little room for error.
An email to the owner detailing the above, did not receive a response.
I also look forward to posting our extremely positive reviews of the Sreaming Eagle, one of our new favorites, Windows on Aruba, Marina Pirata, Passions and the Chefs Table.