TLDR: Pass on MeNami – extremely poor customer service and underwhelming and overpriced food.
If you’ve been following me on social media long enough, you probably have noticed that I no longer write “food blog” type posts any more. I felt that my writing wasn’t very good over time and that I was writing more to have a post than to truly share an interesting experience. Nowadays I only write about certain restaurants that I go to that are more unique / new, but it has still been quite rare.
Maybe because I don’t really take pictures much any more, or I already post it on Instagram that there is no point to write about it twice. Recently I’ve started doing Yelp reviews though if you’re interested you can follow me there.
Anyway, the main point of this post is because I am still very disgruntled about my dining experience at MeNami last night and I feel the need to reflect the restaurant more justly as from what I see on social media (Instagram, Facebook and Yelp), it has been extremely and inaccurately overhyped.
First of all, I LOVE udon. And I have been wanting to try out MeNami since it started popping up on my newsfeed upon its inception. Specifically their Mentaiko Cream Udon as Toronto has FINALLY started to get onto the mentaiko train. So, I was quite looking forward to trying the restaurant out as I’ve seen many pictures and read many Instagram captions of people gushing over the dish. As mentioned earlier on how I just recently joined Yelp – I did go a bit crazy with reading all the reviews prior to my visit, and there did seem to be a bit of a trend of some complaints over service. I’m usually not too picky on service especially for Asian restaurants honestly and especially since I knew that going in, I had low expectations.
However, MeNami literally brings forth a new low of poor customer service.
1) Upon entering the restaurant I walked straight to the host desk as there was a crowd of people already waiting and had eye contact with the hostess twice. She makes no acknowledgement of me nor attempts to offer to assist me soon, and continues on to do various other tasks for about a good 5-10 minutes. There were 3 other wait staff who scurried around the bar/host desk area who also ignored us. I guess maybe they cannot tell who was already helped and who wasn’t but it was more of the fact that they did not try to see if anyone needed help that was the issue. Eventually when the hostess decides to make her way to the desk she still did not try to ask me if I needed a table and I had to ask her if I could put my name down (on their list which was visible). It’s funny because there were some customers who she paid attention to right away as they walked in and also some other ones that were given the cold shoulder just like us. The inside joke we made is that we weren’t good looking enough (read: rich looking enough).
2) After a half hour wait for seats (which was expected for a popular new restaurant) we had to wait for another 20 minutes to find a waiter to take our order. They all literally scurry back and forth past us and pay us no attention so flagging them down was extremely difficult. And we sat RIGHT by the bar / cash register so it was not like we were in a back corner that was not very visible. It makes one wonder whether the long wait for tables is due to their lack of efficient wait staff resulting in low table turnovers.
3) We never got our teas refilled during the whole dinner, yet we saw the table beside us get refilled twice (once where the bartender himself purposely left the bar to refill their waters). I know it sounds stupid, like why didn’t we just ask for water? I have no problems putting my hand up and flagging them down or speaking more loudly to ask for service…however it is excruciatingly difficult when they literally do not even LOOK at you to do so.
4) This is a bit of a petty complaint but given the service provided thus far it just added to the fumes. The waitress/hostess kept walking between my chair and another customer’s chair and consistently would be shoving my chair as she squeezes through. She could’ve said excuse me, or sorry for doing so – as I’m SURE she must’ve felt it. Or she could have been less lazy and just walked properly in the actual aisles created between tables.
5) They tried to bring us an alcoholic drink that we didn’t order and also nearly tried to bring us a 3rd udon dish. Not really a complaint, but it goes to show how poorly organized their wait staff are – and these were the only times that any of the wait staff engaged in conversation with us first! Not once did they ever come to ask us how our meal was or if we wanted any more water/drinks/food etc. And they track their orders on an iPad! How did it go wrong?
Now, if the udon was great and delicious, it would make up for a bit of the experience…but it wasn’t!! Matt got the Tsuke Shrimp Tempura Udon and I went for the Black Sesame Beef Udon (to try something different for once).
I didn’t try any of Matt’s but he didn’t like how there was only one shrimp tempura. For mine, it was mostly just weird. It tasted too sweet from the black sesame sauce and reminded me more of a dessert. The dish had very few bits of beef and spinach so my dish was 90% pure udon, and mind you, this is a $15 dish. All in all, the black sesame was a failed innovative attempt as while it wasn’t necessarily bad tasting, it had a confusing flavour profile and makes you wonder why this is even a dish to begin with. Personally I like the Udon Carbonara at Inspire much much more, or if you are ever in San Fran, Udon Mugizo is amazing too for udon fusion type dishes.
Maybe their raved dishes Mentaiko Cream Udon and Corn Kakiage are very good, I didn’t try either to make a comment – but I can’t imagine it is good enough to justify the prices that they are charging whatsover as from what I saw it was still also about 90% plain udon. I’ve always preferred Urbanspoon over Yelp because I feel that from my reading experience on Yelp that reviewers tend to give high ratings extremely easily painting an inaccurate picture to readers on the quality of a restaurant and of their dishes. Unfortunately we no longer have Urbanspoon and Zomato sadly is unable to truly take it’s place as a successor. And that is the main reason why I have decided to make Yelp reviews now, to try to help provide more accurate and unbiased reviews (and also to get on their Elite event list :P).
Trying to be the Yelp hero our city needs 😀 (Matt will kill me if he sees me butchering this The Dark Knight quote). Let’s see how long my passion for reviewing lasts.