I recently went with a couple buddies to the Hi Hat Lounge for Sunday brunch. I was happy with the kinds of items on the menu, the competitive pricing, and the atmosphere. Yet brunch was the worst I can ever remember getting, and I’m a big fan of brunch.
The problems with the service started immediately. The host took several minutes to seat us, which was puzzling since there were many open tables and no one in line. He didn’t ask if we wanted smoking or non-smoking. My two friends smoke and would have preferred one of the empty non-smoking tables downstairs. After being seated, we waited what felt like five minutes to get some coffee - we weren’t yet watching the clock. The waitress did finally come and coffee was served in glass mugs that looked nice but didn't keep the drink warm at all. We're all young bachelors and not the most hygienically demanding, but one of the mugs was really pretty dirty with some stuck on detergent or something. It shouldn't be any big deal - you just ask for a new mug, right? But then it got weird. We sat there and waited almost twenty five minutes for the waitress to come back! After a while, my friends got bored and went to smoke a cigarette downstairs. When they came back post-cig, the waitress till hadn't stopped by. What kind of brunch place can’t handle refilling your coffee within twenty five minutes? That’s when we started noticing the time - we weren’t just being uptight from the get-go, but it was starting to get annoying.
Finally, the waitress came to take our order. The frustrating part was that the whole time we were sitting there unserved, we could see the plump purple-dressed host just standing downstairs near the door or leisurely chatting with patrons rather than assisting in any way. There was a skinny, well dressed guy hanging out upstairs who must have been a waiter but he spent the great majority of this time just standing there looking at the plates stacked under the heat lamp. He was literally fifteen feet from our table 90% of the time and we couldn’t tell what, if anything, his job consisted of. Our waitress, though sort of slow and unfriendly, was actually the only person outside the kitchen who was doing any work. It was hard to blame her for being in a bad mood - I would be too if I were running around listening to complaints while the other staff were standing there looking dumb.
For our table, we could see what looked like our food go under the heat lamp but when we saw all three plates sit there longer and longer we figured they must be for another table. Nope - sure enough, our waitress finally picked up the plates from under skinny guy’s nose and brought them over. Why the guy who was standing there staring at our breakfast for fifteen minutes couldn’t have brought it ten paces to our table is beyond me. Total elapsed time at this point: fifty five minutes. The whole time, our waitress was trundling about, the dapper guy was standing there doing nothing, and the host was generally leaning against the wall downstairs like a plus sized mannequin from a 1980’s era San Francisco used clothing store.
The food was would have been below average if it were served warm. The breakfast burritos were a cold version of a standard, inoffensive formula - cheese, eggs, salsa, meat, you know the drill. The cheesy hash browns with all our meals were especially awful. It's surprising that the Hi Hat kitchen was able to make a pile of cheddar cheese, full fat sour cream, and butter flavored grease actually taste bad! They managed the feat by avoiding all seasoning and mixing some half raw potato shreds with the heavier ingredients. It was a cold, greasy, undercooked, slimy wreck. If the burritos were hot and the potatoes were cooked properly, it would have been a perfectly solid lineup. Instead it was gross.
Just don't waste your time at the Hi Hat.
Pros: Not too expensive, hipsters to look at
Cons: Worst service ever, awful food