Nick’s in Gastonia is a place I’ve tried to visit a few times before, but the timing was never right. I’ve gone a time or two and it was in between services, or closed for renovations. Finally the Foodie Bunch made a reservation and we visited last night. And since going out every weekend since January of this year, I think we all agreed that this was the second worst experience for dining we’d encountered.
There was one handicapped spot in front of the restaurant and it was taken, so we used valet. It was awkward because we had to stop in the middle of the street and make a dash for it with traffic blocked behind us, and hoping not to get hit by the traffic coming from the other lane. Once we got done with dinner, the handicapped space was available, but the valet parked my car across the street instead of making things easier on us by simply doing a u-turn and getting the vehicle in a spot closer while it was raining. Valet fail.
So we get to the hostess station, and were promptly seated per our reservation. We were escorted to a booth with a two-top pushed up against it with 2 chairs. So, we had to move the two chairs to slide into the booth. Then we sat and the two top wobbled all night long. We asked why we weren’t given one of the 6 top tables, and she said “other people are in them.” I commented “but we made these reservations a week in advance, wouldn’t that give you time to plan for us to have a table designed for 6?” She didn’t answer, so I tried to move on despite our discomfort. Seating fail.
We begin to order and were promptly told that the prime rib was gone in addition to 2 other steaks. We quickly went back to the menu to pick another item. My friend and I ordered the French Onion Soup for appetizers. The waitress came back from the kitchen to report they were out. We then chose Shrimp and Crab Bisque, which we were told was out, too. I finally settled on seared scallops. So, 3 entree choices gone, and now 2 appetizers gone. Our hopes for a delicious meal were quickly being extinguished.
The seared scallops arrived and looked nice. They were sitting on a bed of sweet potato puree and looked to be seared lightly. I shared with table mates and we all agreed that they were just underdone, not enough to send back, but not perfect enough to enjoy. The puree below was also not hot. My friend got the Firecracker Shrimp and it was much better, though the shrimp were a bit fishy tasting.
By the time our entrees arrived, we had been sitting there at least an hour. With empty glasses. The steaks were barely warm. The compound butter didn’t even melt on them, just sat right on top. My dish was crab stuffed flounder with fried squash and mashed potatoes. The sides were both ice cold and my fish was flavorless. After one bite of everything, I sent the whole plate back and asked to see the manager. Food Fail.
The manager was gracious, apologetic and clearly exhausted from a long night where nothing had gone right. She comped our meals, though we try to reject her offer. We left a sizable gratuity for the waitress, though the service was not terrific. We all felt like she couldn’t face coming to the table to give or hear any more bad news.
I doubt I’ll go back, to be honest. Frankly, I don’t think Nick’s will be around much longer TO try again, unless they really revamp their service. If I were to give them a second chance it would be because the manager came by and tried to make it right at the end.