Monday, June 16, 2008

Did uWink at me?

Did uWink at me?

by @ 2:47 pm. Filed under Urban Suburbanite

DH works at a shiny new internet startup that loves to tout how there’s a scene in L.A. too, really, there is. See? We’re young and hip! He got an invite to a preview night for the uWink restaurant at Hollywood and Highland.

It’s date night, and we still haven’t figured out where to get a decent meal in L.A., so we jumped at the chance to try something new and geeky.

The restaurant doesn’t open for a few more days, and the preview night was intended to generate some hype, as well as work the bugs out of the system. I’m going to skip over the part where we had a 4:00 reservation, and we stood in line and looked in the window until 5:30. At 5:00 the staff were still up on ladders plugging in flat screens, and the waitresses were still drying wine glasses over the touch-sensitive computer on the bar. Never mind that the bartenders were playing with the visual effects on the bar instead of serving drinks at 5:00.


The overall concept is pretty cute. You get a wrist band at the door, and you get seated with your party around a table with touch screens in the middle. An adorable pixie of a waitress explained that she was our Entertainment Guide(?) for the evening, and how to order food so that everything came out in the order we wanted, and we could eat at the same time as the members of our party.
Commence the screen tapping. There are soft drinks, bar drinks, appetizers, specials, build-your-own-burgers, desserts, as well as trivia games, virtual tours, group games, and screen drawing games. Our round of Roy Rogers and Shirley Temples came from the kitchen in a flash the restaurant handled this was handled very well.


There was a table of guys with laptops, cables, and redbull huddled in one corner. At one point in the evening, the servers crashed and all the screens went blank (remember, this is a preview night). There was an audible “Awwww” across the restaurant. All of the (Mac) software reloaded quickly, and we were back in business soon. Shortly after dinner and the reboot, the waiters brought us appetizers, and then just told us to take them when we looked confused. Ten minutes later, we were brought duplicate main courses… the server(software) didn’t lose our orders, but it did reset them. I’m sure they’ll fix that before they open.

We sat with two other couples (they were only taking groups of four and six from behind us in line). One of the guys commented that this system would make for very easy inventory control inside the restaurant. Another girl in our party left without paying for her cosmo (food was free, drinks were half price for the preview). There weren’t waiters manning the tables, so I don’t think anyone at the restaurant noticed. I’m sure they’ll notice when they open.

The games were fun, and it would be easy to come to this restaurant to entertain people from several different age groups in one party. I’m sure we’ll be back with friends when the hype settles down. Especially for drinks.

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