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‘Le Bilboquet Made Us Leave an Empty Restaurant!’

The interior of L
The interior of Le Bilboquet when the women were asked to leave.

Friday evening, D Magazine’s lifestyle editor, Raya Ramsey, and D: The Broadcast’s Courtney Kerr headed over to Le Biboquet for cocktails. The restaurant opened last week and Carol filed a report on the French bistro in the former L’Ancestral space at Travis Walk.

Here’s Ramsey’s report:

Courtney and I decided to pop in (no reservations) at 5 pm for drinks. No food, just wine. We were the first outside diners in the restaurant. There was a table outside eating with the hostess and a table of kitchen crew eating in the corner. We had three rounds and eventually split an order of fries. The food plates were cleared. We ordered a fourth glass of Prosecco at 7 pm and instead of bringing us drinks, our waiter brought us the check. At this point, the restaurant was still pretty empty. He told us we needed to leave because of reservations coming in. He was clearly uncomfortable asking us to leave but cited “he’s getting nervous about incoming reservations.” Not sure who “he” was, but okay. The odd thing was that the restaurant was still empty. I mean, there was only one, maybe two or two tables of diners. I totally get a brand new restaurant preparing for a reservation-packed night, but no one was there. Why couldn’t we stay for one more glass and then wrap it up? We weren’t asked to move outside, where I doubt anyone would be dining, we were asked to leave. It was the strangest experience and it was uncomfortable for all three of us. The owner was there, bustling around, but never stopped by about this.

Is this a normal thing to happen? I guess I just don’t like the way in which it was executed. The server felt weird about it, which made us feel weird about it. Maybe he could have told us at 6 pm, “Hey guys, at 7 pm, the tables are reserved for tonight’s dinner rush,” instead of just kicking us out on the spot.

Hmm. If I’m a new restaurant, I’m not asking anyone to leave. Especially those two. I’d love to hear how other restaurants handle this.

  • RJOLive

    Unbelievable. Based on this, alone, I will never set foot in this establishment. What a joke.

  • Frenchies Suck

    what do you expect from the French? Rude and treat people badly whatever the establishment is.

  • Janet Davis

    Unbelievable! Poor waiter and poor, anxious, nervous nelly decision maker. That was a DOOZY!!!

  • MissManners

    It sounds like Jack Perkins over at Maple and Motor is trying upscale French!

  • meatloaf

    I have a feeling there is more to the story than being told. This is the same Courtney that was on Dallas’s Most Eligible right? I can only imagine the other side of the story.

  • meatloaf

    I have a feeling there is more to the story than what is being told. This is the same Courtney that was on Dallas’s Most Eligible, right? Yep, I bet there is more to this.

  • EndicottPR

    Everybody knows I love all things French but when we tried Le Bilboquet for lunch recently, while our food was good, the restaurant’s dining room was sparsely occupied and it took two hours for two people to have one course of salads with sparkling water and espresso and this just doesn’t cut it on a weekday. We did come to like our waiter but when we first arrived it took forever to get anyone to greet our table and there were three waiters/hostess visible but it took more than 15 minutes once we decided to have our orders taken and more than 35 min to get food and bread. When you clearly have 5 to 6 four tops still in your restaurant, you need to cater to those people rather than be on the phone, looking at ceiling and peering out of the kitchen-you need to touch tables and tell them when the food may be coming and routinely check in and ask if everything is okay and if we need anything. On the particular day we were there, it was a who’s who of Dallas society, gallerists, oil barons, famous artists all talking about what European country they were headed to for vacay and they can’t have been pleased with the service either. Hope it improves, it has a nice ambiance. I miss the days of Brasserie Calluaud at McKinney and Knox! Those were the days!

  • MelissaC

    Their husbands?! What year is this?

  • merrimanwines

    Man! This is terrible. I was looking fwd to going there. After reading this, I would not step foot in there.

  • Angus Wynne III

    Low blow. Jack and his crew have always been courteous and hospitable–unless you try to jump the line!

  • Carol Shih

    I just deleted a comment that trashed an entire culture of people. Keep your comments clean. Thanks.

  • Raya-Gabrielle Ramsey

    This isn’t her story. It’s mine, and no detail was spared.

  • Lindsey

    Same sort of thing happened to a girlfriend of mine and I when we visited! We went on a Wednesday night at 6:30 and the place had MAYBE 5 tables full. We asked to be seated and were told that it would be 30 minutes before they could get us in. When we later asked the bartender why that was, he told us the whole restaurant would be full with guests who made reservations within 15 minutes. We waited an hour and a half and the place still had at least 10 empty tables. Did these “reservations” not show up? Why are you not helping the guests that are actually present and standing in your restaurant? There will ALWAYS be walk-ins….you have to be accommodating and not annoyed with us. Needless to say, we probably won’t be back.

  • Raya-Gabrielle Ramsey

    As an update, owner Stephan Courseau reached out to both Courtney and me via email to apologize and invite us to return and give it another try. A snippet: “I am truly sorry you had such a bad experience and sincerely apologize . This is certainly not what I am trying to vehicle with this restaurant where I would like my staff to enhance the values of hospitality that are important to me . I am not sure of what made them behave so inadequately but this incident has brought an opportunity to work on this aspect of our operation and hopefully we will learn from it .”

  • jwtx

    They definitely mishandled the situation, but next time order by the bottle instead of the by the glass. You will save money.

  • twinwillow

    OK, Nancy. I’ll take that last part of my comment back. I’d be the last person wanting anyone to lose their job. But, we’ll just see how things are going for them a year from now.
    You know, you can take the restaurant out of New York but, you can’t take the New York out of the restaurant.

  • mremanne

    Sounds to me like the bartender was wrapping his shift and was trying to cash out.

  • Mabel Peck

    That happened to us a couple of years ago at La Duni Oak Lawn…never been back.

  • Sherry

    Three rounds and you had ordered a fourth…hmm….Maybe “they” decided that you had had enough and found a “better” way to ask you to leave without a confrontation about the amount of alcohol you were consuming.
    I’m with the restaurant on this one.

  • yvonneandyvettetiquette

    Funny, here’s a similar experience but at least you got in.

  • yvonneandyvettetiquette
  • yvonneandyvettetiquette

    You’re lucky, in a way. At least you got in. We couldn’t get a glass of champagne.

  • Denison

    Yeah, no. That wasn’t my experience, the one time I went there (around the date you posted your comment) and it wasn’t toward closing and they weren’t busy. In fact, it seemed as though the woman behind the counter was trying to be unwelcoming.