Tonight my family was to meet another family for a birthday dinner at Jeffrey's. We arrived just before 5 p.m. and my husband looked for the large booth in the back area. However the whole area was marked "reserved." The manager, Mr. Valdez, said it was reserved for a large party. The manager moved some small tables together to accommodate our party of 7. When I came with our children (we were parking the car), I asked the manager about the back area and he told us again that it was reserved and then asked where was the rest of our party (our friends had not arrived yet). Then he told us that we would need to move to a smaller booth because it was Jeffrey's policy not to reserve tables unless the whole party had arrived. He indicated it was strictly "first come first served" at Jeffrey's.
We were surprised that he would try to move us since he'd already set up the table, there was hardly anyone in the restaurant and he obviously was reserving tables for people who were not there. We asked him if it was really first come first served then why were we, who were there, told not to sit in the back area. He responded that it was reserved for a party that was due to arrive at 5:30 - over thirty minutes later. We thought this didn't meet Jeffrey's first come first served policy and he replied that part of the back area was in fact able to be reserved, but since we were not in that area, we could not take up tables until the other 3 members of our party had arrived. When we pointed out that he had in fact reserved a number of additional tables in the "first come first served area" for the mystery party, he changed his position again to say that there was a section that could be reserved plus additional tables that could be reserved if he wanted to do so. Basically, he admitted that he was making up the rules on the fly to accommodate what he wanted to do. We were mostly surprised that he was clearly annoyed with us for questioning him, and made several pointed comments to us At one point (before some of these comments) I said let's just drop it, we just want to have a nice dinner for the birthday child, but he continued to engage us (e.g., "I speak 7 languages," "I've been in the restaurant business for 25 years all over the world"). In the end the rest of our party arrived (a minute or two later) and he dropped his request for us to move. As you might guess, the large "reservation" showed up at 6 as we were leaving. At 5:45 he had been forced to remove the "reserved" signs from the tables as he was otherwise unable to seat people. All-in-all pretty poor service.
P.S. The food was good.