It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.
My first visit to Three Dots got off to as rocky a start as you could imagine probably. I had a reservation for 6 people last night at 8:30, though it turned out to be only 5 as 1 person in our group was sick and could not attend. With 3 of us there, the hostess asked us to wait for the other 2 to arrive before we were seated - fine, not an issue. 1 came in, then we got a call from the last who said the bouncer would not let him in, saying that the maximum number of people had already arrived under that name and that he would have to wait on line (we had to send someone up to convince them this was wrong, particularly since he was the 5th to arrive on a 6-person reservation).
We then went to the hostess stand and the hostess advised me that there was no reservation under my name. Huh? 5 minutes earlier the same woman had advised me that our table was ready and 1 person in our party had already arrived. After I explained this to her, she then suggested that "oh, we must have already seated someone in your group and that erased the reservation." Me: We're all here - no one has been seated. Fine, a few minutes later she walks us towards
the table, but stops about 25 feet short, points at the table, and says "that's your table back there." Am I on Candid Camera?
But of course, she had led us to a table where a large group (also with a reservation) had about 6 people waiting and advised us that they were a group of 20, waiting for more people, and that the table was theirs. So I went back to the hostess, explained this, and she told me she'll text me when a table is available. I was seriously ready to punch someone. That's when one of the managers and Paul McGee walked up to us, realized there was an issue, immediately sat us and apologized profusely. But this front of house experience was disgraceful and easily the worst I've ever experienced.
We thought our problems were solved. Our waitress came over, eventually took our order (drinks and food) and we waited . . . and waited . . . and waited . . . Twice, our waitress came by to tell us that there was a big backup at the bar and apologized. That's when one of my friends explained that we had arrived nearly an hour earlier, waited a long time to be seated, and now had waited nearly 30 minutes for our drinks, and asked that she bring a manager over.
And that's where the evening took a turn for the better. More apologies from the manager, and much more importantly remedies that made up for the situation, and shortly thereafter food and liquor started to flow. In fairness to our waitress, none of this appeared to be her fault - she was plenty charming but perhaps they were understaffed because she appeared to be competing in a triathlon running all around.
Once we started eating and drinking, all was good. We ate just about everything on the menu, and I liked most of the food. My favorite item was probably the ribs (reminded me of the sticky, sweet ribs you used to find at American-Chinese/Polynesian-type places, though perhaps not as good as my favorite nuclear red-style ribs. The coconut shrimp were perfectly fried and tasty. I loved the chips served with the guacamole (almost like funyuns?). And the papaya salad was a nice contrast to all of the fried food and a perfectly respectable version. The pork belly buns were really good, but I would have liked a little more kimchi. The tuna crisp was decent enough too. The only item we didn't order was the chicken skewers.
The only food item I didn't like was the spring rolls. They were perfectly fried and crisp, but I found the filling to be boring. My second least favorite item was the fried chicken - tiny, little bits of chicken and a little too sweet for my liking. I could probably have done without the crab rangoon too - I've just had better versions, though there was nothing wrong with these. I would have preferred more crisp edges but these were shaped like miniature purses.
As for cocktails, I'm a big fan of tiki drinks so this was definitely to my liking. But I thought these cocktails were so much better and so much more complex than tiki drinks I've enjoyed in the past. Some of my favorites included the Saturn - a gin based drink which contained passionfruit (a favorite of mine), Painkiller No. 3 - pina colada-esque but not as sweet and I thought it was exceptional, Poipu Beach Boogie Board - whiskey, overproof rum, guava, pineapple . . . as the night dragged on, I realized there's more to the name overproof rum . . . let's just say I found myself spinning in bed at about 2am, and Tropical Itch - more overproof rum (just what I needed), along with bourbon, more rum, Curacao and more passionfruit. We ordered several more, including a planter's punch to share, and I didn't think there was a clunker in the bunch.
While I'd love to return, I don't know that I'm willing to experience the service gaffes that began our evening, and to me, this is a place I'd prefer to visit on a weekend (when I assume it's busiest). I haven't noticed many similar complaints in the thread so maybe this was just a rare problem? The only things I'm sure of is that the hostess was probably the worst I've encountered in years of dining, and that I liked just about everything else about the place.
I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)