I went with a few friends yesterday to La Duni at Northpark Mall for some after dinner desserts.
La Duni Latin Kitchen & Coffee Studio - NorthPark Center
8687 N. Central Expy #1516
Price (for desserts): $-$$
This place has been one of our go-to places for a long time now. The food is great, the happy hour drink specials are good and their specialty desserts are delicious. However, the past few times we've been there, we've seen the service go downhill. FAST! :(
We arrived around 9PM. We walked in and told the hostess we wanted to have desserts and drinks. She said "oh, you can sit in the cafe or outside. And it's self serve. You have to order at the counter and take it to your table." Uhh... o.k.... So we walked out to the patio area. Apparently we were only allowed to sit in the outer patio area because when we sat down at a table in the paved area, the waiter came by looking confused. He asked if we were eating dinner. We said no. He asked if we wanted to self serve or have him serve us. I was confused. Obviously we came to dine with them so we expect waiter service... Why were they so adamant about this self-service thing? And why would we want to sit all the way outside and have to go inside to order and carry our food out ourselves?!?!
Anyways, we ultimately decided to move back inside because there were some bugs flying around outside. Again, we were only allowed to sit in the cafe area but this time a waiter came to us. I don't understand why we can't sit in the dining area when none of the tables are filled. Whatever... After we were seated the waiter came by to take our drink orders. I asked for a hot water with lemon (something I usually get when I dine out). He gave me a weird look and asked "do you really want that?" "Um, yes." I replied. WTF. Is he being serious?? Then he said "oh, I can't do that. The owners would think I'm crazy and ask why I wasn't serving tea." WHATTTTTT?!?!?! What does that even mean? I was shocked and annoyed by this. One, why would it be weird to serve hot water? Two, why is the waiter afraid that the owners will get mad that he's serving hot water? And three, are the owners that anal that they cannot allow their servers to accommodate the customers' wishes? And it wasn't even a crazy request! So I said "fine, I'll just have water with no ice. Is that easier?" He replied, "there are glasses and water over there for self serve." OMG. Seriously? This just gets better and better doesn't it? He couldn't serve me hot water, and now I have to get my own cold water... Fine, whatever. We made our order and went to get our own water.
We were really annoyed at this point. The whole experience was just a bit too ridiculous. My friend said that she had never heard so many "No's" said to her at a restaurant. Aren't they suppose to try their best to accommodate their customers?!?!?!
One of my friends had to go to the bar himself to get a cocktail because the waiter said he couldn't serve him one in the cafe area either. Geez....
I'll still talk about the food since this is my FOOD blog... but we didn't enjoy the desserts as much as we could have.
Warm Milk Chocolate Cake Pudding (vanilla cake baked in milk chocolate custard served with vanilla bean ice cream, homemade chocolate syrup, Arequipe caramel, raspberry sauce and pecan crocante) $8.25~
This was delicious. The cake was super moist and rich and chocolatey. It needed a lot more ice cream on top though.
Duni Banana Split (caramelized bananas, vanilla bean ice cream, homemade chocolate syrup, Arequipe caramel and crystallized toasted pecans) $8~
This was totally not worth it. The scoops of ice cream were pretty small and only 2 halves of banana for $8?? I can make this at home pretty easily I think. Or I can go to Braums and get a banana split triple the size and half the price... I mean it tasted good, but not worth it.
Even though the desserts tasted good, the entire dining experience left a bitter taste in our mouths. As we were finishing up the desserts, the waiter came by and put the check on the table. We hadn't even ask for it yet. It was like they wanted to get rid of us.
I will NOT be going back to La Duni Northpark in the future. It's unfortunate because I used to love it so much. And I will most definitely be telling other people NOT to go either. It's not worth the frustration and anger. Absolutely ridiculous!!! I hope they see this and do some SERIOUS assessment on how they do their business!
Quality of Food:
~~ CHOMP CHOMP ~~