Sambuca Restaurant | Rehearsal Dinners, Bridal Showers & Parties

Sambucca seemed like a good idea for a rehearsal dinner in theory, being right off McKinney Avenue and close to several hotels where our guests were staying. In practice, we were sorely disappointed. The evening started off nicely with drinks…

in an interior courtyard, which everyone enjoyed. That being said, there were only two waiters serving over 50 people, meaning many cocktails ran (and stayed) empty.
Once we were seated in our “room,” we had a very rude awakening. Unfortunately, when the catering staff told my husband that there is live music on Friday nights, he didn’t consider how that would affect the rehearsal dinner speeches. (Kind of a key component to a rehearsal dinner.) The slideshow was completely drowned out by the restaurant’s music (not the band – they hadn’t even started playing at this point). Despite my husband asking the staff to turn down the volume (not turn off, just turn down) three times, it just got louder. The fourth time my husband approached a waiter, he asked to speak to a manager. The waiter did not oblige and asked why. My husband responded that he had asked the music to be turned down, and that instead it kept getting louder. The waiter’s reponse: “So? This is a jazz club. We can’t turn down the music.” (Reminder, the live band hadn’t even started playing at this point.) My husband was infuriated, but in my mind, the slideshow music wasn’t really integral to viewing the slideshow. But, lo and behold, our “room” was not at all private, and customers and waiters walked through our room and in front of the slideshow the ENTIRE night. Because the live band would start during our dinner, we had to wait and do speeches during their break. The people who gave speeches were completely rushed, fearing they’d be cut off when the band would start playing again. Others told us later they decided to not give a speech they had planned for the same reason (i.e. that they would stand up and be cut off by the music).
Drink service was bad for the rest of the night. People would ask to have their drinks refilled, and the staff would flat out tell them, “No, we’re not serving drinks again until we serve dinner.” Call me crazy, but providing people with drinks while they wait (a) keeps customers happy and (b) increases the restaurant’s liquor sales. Why they would say this to our guests is beyond me. The one redeeming quality about the night was that people enjoyed the food, or so they said. The service we received was so bad, and so far beneath our exepctations, that it flat out ruined our rehearsal dinner. If I could do it over again, I would not pick Sambucca, and I strongly urge brides, grooms, and their families to look into other options.