A review of Juliet, a new Italian restaurant in South Austin, Texas.

I wrote this assessment of my party’s experience at Juliet, a new Italian restaraunt in South Austin, Texas. Within hours of posting my review to Yelp, it was labeled “unhelpful” and buried. That’s unfortunate because I spent a good amount of time writing an honest review. So, I’m publishing here, where Yelp can not censor my thoughts.

The new look and feel [of the property] is leagues above the previous occupancy, and the place was much quieter than I expected. It looks fantastic with many unique brass fixtures and wall pieces. Unlike the previous tenant’s ambiance, I could hear the Top 80's music, but not so much that it was a distraction to our table’s conversation.

Unfortunately, none of that saved our experience.

We arrived at 8 pm and were seated promptly. All of our drink orders (most of it wine) took a long time despite three people working behind the bar. Our table was in the bar, so I had a full preview of activity. I could understand the many delays if the bar was packed but shortly after we sat down, many of the occupants left. At a mid-point in the evening, we ordered a bottle of white wine that was served slightly cooler than room temperature. I dumped ice water in the table chiller and spun the bottle around to try to get the temperature down. It worked a little bit, but frankly I should not have had to do that at all.

We ordered the pork meatballs and sausage appetizers. They were served surprisingly quickly — before our initial drink order made it to the table. Despite the eager service, the meatballs were lukewarm and in some bits cold. The sausage was good, but it was also served warm, not hot. Given that we didn’t even have our drinks yet, I wish these dishes had more time under a heat source.

Wrong temperatures quickly became the dominant theme throughout the evening.

For the next course, we had the grilled romaine and tomato salads. Later in the evening we had the opportunity to try the Texas peaches salad. All three salads were par for the course.

We were eager for the pasta course and ordered lasagne, fettuccine, and bucatini dishes. When the plates arrived, there was a noticeable lack of steam. Pasta, especially lasagne, should have been almost too hot to the touch, but it looked like it had been sitting out for a while. The cheese had enough time to congeal and was room temperature to the touch. I took a bite and, like the meatballs — it was warm and in spots cold. A friend who also ordered the same dish said he experienced the same. We sent the dishes back and requested to warm them back up.

The remaining plates had problems of their own. The fettuccine did not have fettuccine. The pasta used instead was too large to carry the sauce of the dish. Sadly, the bucatini was overcooked and too soft, instead of chewy.

While we merely asked to have our lasagne re-heated, I think the kitchen took that as a challenge to start from scratch. We sat there for quite awhile. Eventually, the kitchen sent us the Texas peaches salad “to enjoy” while we waited for our main course. More time had gone by, twenty minutes in all, before our meals left the kitchen. It would have been great to enjoy, but it was past 10 pm, and our party had had enough.

The management removed the charges for the lasagne and meatball dishes. And that was nice of them, but this tactic seemed to be their way of patching the problem. My party and I were surprised that no one from management came by to discuss our experience. In situations like this it’s a pretty standard form of customer service that was completely absent from the evening. I don’t expect free food — that’s a nice gesture — but I do expect customer service.

I get that Juliet has only been open for a few days, but you can’t screw around with the temperatures of food and beverages. Food of this type served cold (possibly undercooked) can make people sick. And wine served at the wrong temperature makes angels cry.

I sincerely hope our experience was singular. A lot of time and money was spent to make Juliet an excellent experience. I’d love to come back and enjoy a fantastic meal that befits the investment.

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Constant Observer. Occasional Writer. Operations Chief. People Coach. Design Enthusiast. Type Collector.

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