The black gentleman from Tennessee who gave The Red Maple a negative review need not feel discriminated against. I'm a down home white boy, and I have been a regular customer there for 30 years as a local, probably dropped about $50K there, and generally have found them to be acceptable (but mediocre to average), and never ever great. That's the West Bank for you -- and not to discriminate, having lived here for 40 years and been to every joint in town, I couldn't give 5 stars to any and maybe 4 to just a couple. Take it from a local who knows -- a professional journalist restaurant reviewer -- New Orleans is a cheap tourist trap and you would be better off going o Waffle House or Cracker Barrel than being cheated by prentous places like Herbsaint, Cuvee, Galatoiroire's, Antoine's, or "W" (horrible!)
In The Matter of The Red Maple:
On Chistmas Eve December 24, 2008, I and my 86-year-old mother and 75-year-old aunt had reservations for 6:30 p.m. for two weeks confirming same resrvations severa times and spoecifically requesting and being assured we would ge the "Fresh Maine Lobster" entree. Talk about a dishonest bait and switch! After being seated for 30 minutes in a half-packed house, we got some really cold and stale bread rolls. Fifteen minutes after that, our "waiter" advised us that sorry,they wwre"out of" the Maine Lobster featured on their Chistmas Eve menu. I since have learned that there NEVER WAS ANY FRESH MAINE LOBSTER FROM THE GET GO. About 20 minutes after this, we were offered a choice of so-called "Redfish" or "Chicken:. Keep in mind that these diners were all priced at $49.99 before tax and tip. We ordered and were kept waiting about an hour before our salads were delivered, and another hour before our "entress" were delivere. For total disclsure, I myself had the pork chop which was thick and fairly good. In between this growing catasprophe, I noticed an elderly woman with her childre, a local businesswoman wth whom I actively do business two or three times a week. She is a great person, and I thought that it would be a nice Christmas gesture for me to pick up their tab as staff was instructed. Within FIVE MINUTES (!) I recived their tentative check # 2381 for $179.27,to which I added a $25.00 tip. (This was not our table's bill). OK, so it was only a 13 percent tip. My addition om it equaled $214.27. (We were still waiting for our food after an hour at this point, and my elderly mother, who is diabetic, was collapsing). A few minutes later, the "waitress" serving my friens's table brought back the check prsented to me by my "waiter" and sternly told me that the ttal was $10.00 short -- in other words, COMPLAINING VOCIFEROUSLY ABUT THE TIP. She insisted that I had made a mistake and that I needed to change the""@" in "25.00" tip to a "3" to make it $35.00 to reach my initially correct (but her completely dyslysic or dishonest total). I saw at oce that she was wrong, but she was making such a scene I thought what the hey, change the 2 to a 3, changing the tip from $25 to $35. I was praying that was the end of it. Meanwhile, our "waiter" kept a firm grip on my credit card, absolutely refusing to return it to me because "your other party hasn't cashed out yet". (Thirty minutes later when they arose to thank me, that was their total amount, and about 20 minutes after that, our "waiter" gave me back my credit card, after several rquests. (At this point, as I mentioned, an hor aftter wee ordered, we still had not been brought our food). I could not believe the rudeness and incomptency of the wait staff at this point, but an incredible, unprecedented RUDENESS WAS JUST BEGINNING! The "waitress" who "serviced" my friends' tableI comped came back THREE TIMES and began COMPLAINING LOUDLY that I had added their check WRONG, and owed her another $100.00!!! I went over the figures with her, and then she retreated then she came back with the same line of you know what: I WANT ANOTHER HUNDRED DOLLARS! She stood there harassing me and my elderly 86-year-old mother for another ten minutes. To say this was totally ruining our Chistmas Eve dinner would be an understatement, but again, I went over the figures with her, disregarding her original $10 error I had stupdly signed off on, and she went away again (but not finally). OF COURSE SHE CAME BACK AGAIN AS WE WERE JUST BEING SERVED AFTER AN HOUR AND A HALF WAIT AND DEMANDED ANOTHER $100.00! As politely as I could (dear gentleman from Tennesse, remember I ain't black!) I again ran down the figures to her and asked that she please just go away. A few minutes later our "waiter" started harrassing us and "apologizing" for the "misunderstanding", repeatedly asking "if there was anythung he could do". This went around three or four times. As politely as possible, every subsequent time I asked him to please just go away. He seemed very intent on harrassing me to the point of provocation but I did not fall for his gambit, Subsequently, our dinner was twice interupted by some kind of manager repeatedly asking if there was "somthing (she) could do. I politely asked her, not once, not twice , but THREE times, begging her, PLEASE JUST GO AWAY. You know what? That still didn't do it! Another "manager" came up to us and did the whole routine over again THREE OR FOUR MORE TIMES! I FINALLY IN A QUIET VOICE ASKED HER "PLEASE." She finally went away. Then our waiter came back and started doing the same thing again. Repeately. At this point, dear gentleman from Tennesse, you might understand how I was kind of starting to lose it, and I might even have said the notorious "F" word. AFTER ALL THIS! Well, both phone reps and service people love that because they think that any sort of profanity GIVES THEM THE LICENSE TO MAKE YOU BEND OVER and have no further dealings with you. WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! Now, I begged my mom not to tip anything on OUR check for such lousy food and service, but she was so concerned the house was itchinbg to call the cops on me that she picked up the check and was so intimidated by these jerks that she in fact did leave a generous tip on our bill! Thirty minutes later we got our bread pudding deserts (I sent mine right back, quite concerned that it was deliberately adulterated after all this and I urged my mom & aunt to please not eat theirs). The ultimate skinny on this is that I have heard the joint is shutting down. The local economy here has been bad for years, even before Katrina; after the storm, The Red Maple put up a giant electric light sign aat odds with the "Hisorical District" (what a joke!) which was soon shut down, which even their attorney couldn't do anthing about as he was fired from being Gretna City attorney due to ethics violations and had a conflict of interest anyhow. The inside skinny is that The Red Maple is shutting down for good. I can hardly wait to see my and my mom's credit cxrd statements to see what they have done to us. HEY! I'M NOT COMPLAINING! NOT ONE BIT! THIS IS A FABULOUS SUPERB RESTAURANT! CALL THEM UP AND MAKE YOUR RESERVATION NOW! RIGH NOW! And, dear gentleman from Tennesse, should you ever dare venture down this way again, YOUR DINNER IS ON ME ANYWHERE YOU WANT -- ANYWHERE, THAT IS, EXCEPT "THE RED MAPLE".