My Dad and wife were visiting from Puyallup, WA last week (neat new to me Puyallup RE blog). We thought we’d take them to the quintessential Phoenix tourist eatery, Rustler’s Rooste. The restaurant is located in the Pointe South Mountain Resort — I think the divots I took out of that fairway six years ago are still visible — and has been around forever. I hadn’t been to Rustler's since a corporate shin-dig some 17 years prior. All I really remembered was they had a big ol’ longhorn steer (a live one) by the front door, served rattlesnake, and you could take a slide into the main dining area.
It’s “Western” by any definition of the word.
The views are spectacular. The wait staff wears goofy cowboy outfits, and the prime food attraction is meat.
It’s not exactly cheap. (Menu is here).
The fry bread and biscuits were delightful. I got the 16 ounce prime rib, and several of us had it in various sizes. It was fine. Nothing spectacular, but perfectly acceptable. My 16 year old son consumed a 32 ounce porterhouse (plus desert). The kid eats an enormous amount of food.
While we certainly enjoyed the company, and the view and ambiance were great, what really set Rustler’s Rooste apart from other dining establishments was the service.
Or more appropriately, the nearly complete lack of it.
We were seated swiftly (get there early, it was jam packed by the time we left), which was good, but the service steadily degraded from that moment on. Just about every example of bad service was present – drinks not filled, AWOL server, dirty plates left behind forever, couldn’t get a desert menu, late check, etc etc. It was right up there with the worst service I’ve ever had.
This reviewer gave it a 3.5 / 5 star rating despite noting:
The extra two services at the table were never removed the entire evening. Clearing of the table was not their forte, as an empty bean pot, and dirty plates and utensils were still around at dessert time.
There were other small annoyances that just kept piling up for us.
I'd hate to see what she ranks 0 – 3 stars…
Given the expense of the meal, I expected far more. This isn’t Jack-In-The-Box folks. With drinks, sides and desert, it’s a 30 buck a meal type of place. Come to think of it, I've had better service at Jack's. Plus I got a cool antenna ball!
Lousy service can ruin any dining experience. It’s been 17 years since I last went to Rustler’s Rooste, and it’ll probably be at least that long before I go back.
[tags]Rustler's Rooste, Pointe South Mountain, Puyallup, restaurant review[/tags]