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Resident 2B
09-14-2005, 12:10 AM
From our experience, Mike and Donna Love are "the class" of the area in the high-end food business.

We had several great dinners at Canoe over the past few years. However, our two most recent visits where totally unacceptable due to forced seating in the bar area after we told them our request was for dinner in the dining room and we had children in our party. Both were after a 40 minute wait.

We decided to never return to Canoe as a result of the rudeness and unprofessional behavior of their reception and seating staff. It was as bad as it could be. It is completely unprofesional to promise one thing, then deliver another. When we asked for seating in the dining room and not the bar, we were told we would have to go back on the bottom of the waiting list and get whatever seating was available when our name came up again. This would be after another long wait. We had a party of four and they would not take reservations for a party of that size.

Canoe will be up the creek, "in the canoe without a paddle", with the Love's departure. The owners will get what they deserve in our opinion.

That said, the food at Canoe was outstanding, with Mike as chef and Donna making her great desserts! That was the Love's contribution. If you were lucky enough to get their daughter as your server, the total experience was absolutely fantastic. However, it became so hit or miss that we decided it was no longer worth it to pay their rather high prices for a bar environment whenever we did not get into the dining room.

We cannot wait to hear more about the next move for Mike and Donna. We we will be at their establishment as often as possible. They are first class!

We wish them complete success in their new venture.

donnamatrix
09-15-2005, 10:54 AM
Mike Love departed from cooking at Canoe awhile ago, although they still purchase special desserts from Donna. Mike is now doing catering (according to Donna). If you haven't been to Donna's shop on Ossipee Mtn Road, off Route 109 in Moultonboro ... GO THERE. She is open 9-2 Wed-Fri and 8-2 Sat/Sun (at least right now, I don';t know about the winter).

Her baked goods are beyond compare. I wonder if she trained in Salzburg, because her buttercream frosting is to die for. Got a birthday cake for my sister's 50th a couple weeks ago. Let's just say that, following the Sat night party, we didn't have eggs for breakfast on Sunday, but MORE CAKE!!!!

DoTheMath
09-23-2005, 02:15 PM
From our experience, Mike and Donna Love are "the class" of the area in the high-end food business.

We had several great dinners at Canoe over the past few years. However, our two most recent visits where totally unacceptable due to forced seating in the bar area after we told them our request was for dinner in the dining room and we had children in our party. Both were after a 40 minute wait.

We decided to never return to Canoe as a result of the rudeness and unprofessional behavior of their reception and seating staff. It was as bad as it could be. It is completely unprofesional to promise one thing, then deliver another. When we asked for seating in the dining room and not the bar, we were told we would have to go back on the bottom of the waiting list and get whatever seating was available when our name came up again. This would be after another long wait. We had a party of four and they would not take reservations for a party of that size.

Canoe will be up the creek, "in the canoe without a paddle", with the Love's departure. The owners will get what they deserve in our opinion.

That said, the food at Canoe was outstanding, with Mike as chef and Donna making her great desserts! That was the Love's contribution. If you were lucky enough to get their daughter as your server, the total experience was absolutely fantastic. However, it became so hit or miss that we decided it was no longer worth it to pay their rather high prices for a bar environment whenever we did not get into the dining room.

We cannot wait to hear more about the next move for Mike and Donna. We we will be at their establishment as often as possible. They are first class!

We wish them complete success in their new venture.

Huh, how about that!? My wife and I had the EXACT same experience there this past summer. Had been to Canoe on numerous occasions before and had good food and service - the last time could be just that - the last! We have a 5 month old son that is better behaved than most adults I know. We were not only greeted and treated rudely by the hostess, (shorter - older woman with a pony-tail and a less-than-friendly disposition) but we were stuck out on the porch - downstairs - after a major run-around. We called in, asked ahead of time about the wait and seating (we are < 10 min. away) and were told "no problem", then we got there and it all changed... Finally we were told - bluntly, as my son was sound asleep in his seat, and they sat people right in front of us that came in after us - they do not seat parties in the main dining room with kids! So, reluctantly we continued on and sat out on the porch, but after that experience and being mis-lead and mis-treated, I have a feeling we will not be heading back there.

tricia1218
09-23-2005, 04:54 PM
I had a great experience at Canoe, food, service was great. As for children not being seated in the dinning room, I would have to agree. I know this sounds horrible; I would rather not be sitting next to a bunch of "well behaved" children while out for a nice dinner.

Newbiesaukee
09-23-2005, 07:23 PM
I have been following this thread with great interest and usually do not have much negative to say. We have been to Canoe many times. The food is usually excellent and the service is usually quite good. The more mature hostess has never been welcoming and appears to be doing the diners a "favor" by seating them...this is most unpleasant and if all else were perfect, I would overlook it, but it does not start the dining experience on the right foot. As the season progressed we had more OK meals than really good...the servers themselves tried, but the kitchen/management seemed either distracted or uninterested and the pacing of the meals was sometimes erratic....long waits then hurry-up. We tend to eat early so it is not just that they are busy. Unfortunately, the restaurant business is a difficult one and consistancy is difficult to achieve. But restaurants who succeed long term do so by making the diners enjoy the restaurant experience. In my opinion, the glow of success has blinded the management to this.

As far as children are concerned, this is still a busy restaurant with close together-tables and on the casual side. Well-behaved children should not be second class citizens and if there is a definite policy it should be clearly stated and not at the discretion of the hostess. While the food may be excellent it is not really a quiet, elegant, fine dining establishment and I have rarely seen children as a major issue at Canoe. It goes without saying that everyone thinks his child is well-behaved regardless of behavior, but the point still stands. And I do not have children at the Lake. :)

Janet
09-25-2005, 09:44 AM
The rudeness of the seating staff has been going on for quite some time. Two years ago we went to Canoe's and the hostess was less than friendly - in fact she was down right rude. I would have left immediately but this was sort of a family reunion so we stayed. The food and service was excellent but the greeting certainly put a damper on the evening, and that's when we decided we'd never go to Canoe's again. Hope the owners realize that first impressions mean a lot. I know they were voted the best new restaurant when they first opened by New Hampshire Magazine but that will take them just so far. :(

anne154
09-25-2005, 03:09 PM
[QUOTE=Newbiesaukee]I have been following this thread with great interest and usually do not have much negative to say. Unfortunately, the restaurant business is a difficult one and consistancy is difficult to achieve.

After reading the recommendations here, we dined at Canoe. As a party of six, we were immediately seated (did not have the horrible hostess experience others have). The waitress was excellent.

Most of the food was excellent, although the pacing could have been better. Disappointing was the meat and fish not cooked as ordered by two diners; actually, not cooked, raw meat and fish served.

Apart from that inconsistancy, the rest of the meal was excellent.

Pineedles
09-25-2005, 09:28 PM
There must be something for all of you to keep going back to this place. I'm going to try it! Albeit without reservations and at the bar, but I guess I won't have to wait. I'll let you know. :D

murph
09-26-2005, 03:05 PM
I agree about the hostess staff. They are horrible, rude and down right nasty! If you can make it by them, the rest of the night should be great. I suggest Lagos. You can't beat the friendliness of the entire staff!!!

kunamola
09-26-2005, 05:02 PM
Summer of 2004 we tried Canoe several times and were disappointed with the quality of the food. We will not go back. The Lakes Region has too many choices of good restaurants to continue patronizing one that is so disappointing after being so hyped.

Fishy Cover
09-26-2005, 08:24 PM
Wife and I have dined at Canoe 2 or three times a month for approx one year and food and service have always been superb. We go mid week an avoid Fri & Sat, perhaps this explains the difference of opinion. Whenever we go past on the weekends the parking lot is overflowing, so obviously some people like it. As Yogi Berra said "Nobody goes there anymore, its too crowded"

Pineedles
09-27-2005, 01:14 PM
:D Well, as promised I visited Canoe today and had a wonderful lunch. Lobster Roll with sweet potato fries, and a key lime pie. Not crowded at all so I took a table in the upstairs after being offered either a table or bar seat. Friendly greeting and professional wait staff. Try the lemonade, there's something unusual about it, but good unusual.

canoe
10-03-2005, 02:00 PM
I would like to thank everyone who took the time to post a reply, good or bad, about their past visits to Canoe. It has been our intention to provide the best food, service and atmosphere for our guest possible. Apparently we have fallen short of that on a few ocassions and I apologize for that.

Reading some, actually all of the postings, there seems to be some confusion regarding our reservations and policy on children. We take reservations for parties of five or more only. We have a limited number of tables (6 of our 40) that will accomodate parties of 5 or more. As for taking reservations for smaller parties, it is imposible to determine how long people will take to have dinner. Especially for some, this could be a once a week or month ocassion and I will not ask a party to hurry up and finish because the next reservation is waiting for this table. Hense our motto "sit back, relax and enjoy".

As for children, we welcome diners of all ages. There is no such thing as "second class" at Canoe. We value every customer who walks in the door, whether they are locals, vacationers, summer residents or the person just passing thru. We have 200 seats at the restaurant and 5 differant dining rooms; we reserve 50 of our 200 seats (1 of 5 dinning rooms) for adults only. We never force anyone to sit where they do not want to. The reason for the adult only dining room is that there are some /alot of people who either do not have children or for the ones who do, when they go out to dinner for a special ocassion they want to be with adults; despite as well behaved as all of your children may be. This is a policy we have had since opening and is accepted by the majority of our guest. For those who do not, I hope you can understand and have been in a situation before where you may have enjoyed a night away.

As for the greeting at the front desk, I cannot appoligize enough if you were treated rudely. Your dining experience starts when you open the door. There is no excuse for unprofessional behavior or attitudes. I again appoligize and will do everything possible to correct this.

Our motto, "we make fresh, we keep it simple, we make it great". Being the chef I can assure you we only buy the best. If something is not up to you standards I want to know about it so I can correct any problems you may be having.

Again I am sorry for any mishaps. Any and all comments, good and bad, are welcome. All of your comments are and will be discussed with managent and staff to prevent this from happening again.

I hope I have answered your concerns and hope you will give Canoe another try.

Sincerely,

Scott Ouellette
Owner/Chef

SIKSUKR
10-03-2005, 02:41 PM
It's refreshing to see the owner respond to this forum.I believe he explained pretty well some of their policies.I will take Scott at his word and try Canoe again and see if some of the problems discussed here were addressed. SS

velocity
10-03-2005, 03:22 PM
I eat at Canoe often. The service is always top notch. Every one is friendly and the food is fantastic! The specials are always so interesting that I almost never even order off the menu. We drive 45 minutes to eat there!

The adult dining room is a great idea. More restaurants should do the same. Many parents are out for dinner trying the have some time away from their demanding parenting obligations. Then someone else's "well behaved Kid" is acting up and the entire experience is diminished. There are 4 other dining rooms! I am starting to think that well behaved child is an oxymoron these days. One trip to the grocery store will speak to that.

Even when they are really busy they seem to keep their composure and serve the best meal in the lakes region. I think that more and more people are finding out just how great the place is, and they are really busy! I would rather wait a little and get a great meal then walk right in and have a mediocre meal.

The fact that Scott Ouellette responded should let you know he cares what people think. Also i think the menu and recipe's belong to Scott not the Loves. Although everyone "Loves" her deserts.

I recommend Canoe to everyone! Darn.......Maybe that's why they are so busy! I hope anyone that reads this will give them a try. They deserve the business!!! You won't be disappointed!

BroadHopper
10-03-2005, 03:41 PM
I agree with velocity. I only had a one time seating/hostess problem, but I continue to eat there nevertheless.
The specials is one of the big reason why I keep coming back. As for the 5 dining rooms and the bar, there is something for everybody.
Scott, thank you for taking the time to communicate with us. It shows that you take your job/business seriously. ;)

The Big Kahuna
10-03-2005, 06:56 PM
I have been to the Canoe with friends many times. Some times with just a party of 4 and other times with a party of 10. Every time the the service and the food were outstanding. How many places come and pick you up at the dock when you come by boat, none I know of on the lake other than Canoe, and if it happens to be early Scott himself might we driving the pick up vehicle as he did the last time we called for a ride. Tell me that is not an owner involved in all aspects of the business. For anyone that has not tried the Canoe you do not know what you are missing, you don't know because you haven't gone, maybe because of one of the bad reviews on this web-site and for that, thank you. The more people that don't go to experience the best dinning in the lakes region has to offer, the better for those of us who keep going back time and time again. I quest I should just say the place is bad stay away!
As far as their being busy and some times difficult to get the exact table you want, HELLO if the place wasn't so good why would everyone be there? The Canoe is not for everyone, only people that demand exceptional food and atmosphere. For the rest of you, there is that turkey farm thing or maybe the fried seafood trailer (what ever that is), that should be fine for you people. Me and my friends will continue to go to the Canoe!

ACutAbove
10-03-2005, 08:46 PM
Okay Canoe is my favorite restuarent in this area!!!! To me its not about where you sit, or who is sitting near or next to you. Its about the food plain and simple. And they have the best food. In my opinion. Who would of thought to put mac and cheese and lobster together???? MMMM MMMM Good.
And my compliments to Scott.....

Resident 2B
10-03-2005, 09:16 PM
When I posted to this forum, I was sharing our experiences with Canoe.

Although we had been at this restraunt many times before and had a great dining experience each time, we had a completely different experience on two visits this year, one in late July the other in September. For the record, I did not start this thread. I was posting to the existing thread about Coe House. This thread was broken off that thread from what it appears.

The facts are we were treated rudely on two ocasions this summer. It appears that other people on this forum had the same experience, so it was not an isolated case. There seems to be some unpublished decision tree about who gets a good table and who does not.

Our concern is that with two children, ages 10 and 16, we asked for seating for dinner. We did not specify, nor were we asked to specify, a particular dining room at the time they took our name. After lenghtly waits in the parking lot, our choice on warm nights and well out of the way of other guests, we waited more than 30 minutes over the projected times, then we were told we had to sit in the bar area at a high table no more that 28 inches in diameter. When we very nicely asked if we could get a different table we were told we had to go back on the bottom of the waiting list. The first time, we waited another 40 minutes and were still only offered the same type of bar table. The second time we decided enough was enough and decided to spend our money at a different establishment. This was after trying to find out why we were being treated this way and being told by the senior hostess at the front desk that if we did not like it we could go somewhere else.

For the record, we come up from the area of the lake between Weirs Beach and Governor's Island. As a result we pass through Meredith. We are able to make reservations at many establishments in Meredith and without mentioning any names, we will do this often and will continue to do this in the future. We have traveled to Canoe because of our good past experiences there.

Also for the record, we go to the turkey farm in Meredith once a year because we have been doing that for 30 years now. In fact, we enjoy it mainly due to family tradition. We have never been treated rudely at that establishment. I do not see what eating at the turkey farm has to do with anything, but it appears there is at least one forum member, The Big Kahuna, that feels this has some merit. He seems to suggest in his recent post that people not as classy as he and his friends should eat there or at an unspecified fried food trailer instead of at Canoe. Some very nice people eat at the turkey farm and some very nice people work there as well. The plus is it seems you will not run into the Big Kahuna and his friends as I did one night recently at the Ellacoya Tavern. The Big K himself gave his version of this evening in a post to this forum.

We have no hidden agenda. We only wanted to share our experience with our fellow forum members. I do hope the Canoe management more clearly posts their seating decision making tree in the future so that everyone knows the deal. We liked Canoe a lot, but we do not like to spend money to be treated rudely by the hostess. Her main job is to welcome people. There is something wrong with this picture!

To be fair. we want to acknowledge: the staff in the parking lot are great, the food is great and the wait staff is great. However, a family of four cannot enjoy the dining experience when seated at a 28 inch diameter table with a lot of very loud bar patrons within five feet of that little table. I feel they should tell you up front that that is what you are going to get. You should not have to wait 40 minutes to find out. Reasonable seating at a good eating establishment should not be a game of chance.

I am impressed by the response from the Canoe Owner/Chef. I will no longer post to this thread. Scott, contact me via PM if you want more details. I have a few ideas that may help you.

Scott, I do hope you address this opportunity to improve the overall dining experience for all your guests. I realize you do not really need me or my family as patrons because you have a great business, but over time you will lose more than us. In the past, we account for only 20 to 30 dinners a season. Staying on top involves listening to your customers.

Resident 2B

upthesaukee
10-03-2005, 11:02 PM
(edited by Upthesaukee)...Scott, I do hope you address this opportunity to improve the overall dining experience for all your guests. I realize you do not really need me or my family as patrons because you have a great business, but over time you will lose more than us. In the past, we account for only 20 to 30 dinners a season. Staying on top involves listening to your customers.

Resident 2B
Resident 2B...I appreciate your comments and your feelings can never be taken as wrong. However, as one who has done a lot of training on customer service and satisfaction, I can assure you that an owner had better be concerned about each and every customer with whom he/she and/or the staff comes in contact. When a business loses customers, only 4% complain openly...the rest just go away. Not all that leave are dissatisfied, but for every one (or four) that leave, to maintain the status quo, the owner must take in additional new business. If he misses your 20 dinners, he is going to miss many more because you (any dissatisfied customer, not just you R2b personally) will tell additional people about your experience and they may very well choose not to try that business. The owner then has many more new customers to bring in just to stay even, never mind grow and prosper even more. Trust me on this, and I don't know Chef Scott, and I have never eaten at Canoe, but from the tone of his post, he does care about you and any and every dissatisfied customer, and I hope you can give him an unannounced last chance, and see if things are any better.

Bottom line, your business should be important to the owner, whether it is one meal for four, or forty meals for four, and I think the Chef is now keenly aware that there are areas that may need to be addressed and again, I feel he does care. Thanks for your comments R2b.

beaner
10-06-2005, 10:59 AM
Interesting. I posted a message concerning my first, and last, visit to Canoe last May on chowhound. Here is the gist of what I said:

My dining partner & I have been year-round residents of the Lakes Region since 1982. We have no affiliation with any restaurant(s); we just enjoy fine dining. We have dined at The Woodshed and The Corner House Inn on numerous occasions over the last 23 years and have never had anything but a superb dining experience each time. [I would also add Mis en Place in Wolfeboro to my list of area favorites].

But, we like to try out new restaurants in the area, so we decided to check out Canoe on Saturday night (05/14/05).

Both bars were standing room only, and the dining area off the entryway was also very noisy & bustling. So, we were relieved to be seated in the small room on the Route 25 side of the building after a wait of about 20 minutes. We figured that we would have no trouble carrying on a conversation in a room with only 3 tables. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Besides our table for 2, the next table had a pair of retirees, and the furthest table held an apparently deaf party of 8-10. As the liquor flowed, the decibel level at the large table kept rising. Our waitress was pleasant & eager, but she had to lean over our table and shout to be heard over the din from across the room.

My companion ordered the beef filet, and I had the Ahi tuna. Both were ample portions, nicely presented. The tuna was tasty, but not better than what I have experienced at The Woodshed, Coe House or The Corner House Inn. My companion was disappointed with the steak, which was chewy. We noticed that the pasta dishes we saw being served to other diners were absolutely enormous portions.

Upon leaving, I noticed that there were few NH license plates in either parking lot. Lots of Mass visitors, despite the rainy weather. This place will be jammed with tourists when warm weather finally arrives.

Bottom line: if you're looking for a place to bring your starving buddies after a day of snowmobiling or pounding down beers on your Donzi, Canoe might be a good choice. But if you're looking for a nice place to bring a date, or you'd like to be able to carry on a conversation with friends, go elsewhere.

secondcurve
10-08-2005, 01:19 PM
Beaner:

What is the reference to the Massachusetts plates and pounding beers, etc. about? I'm troubled by your remarks.

Mee-n-Mac
10-09-2005, 10:10 PM
We just went again for our 2'nd time today. "Mee" had the ahi tuna and again declared it to be delicious. Others had the salmon w/lobster mashed potatoe. They loved their meals. I had the NY strip and while it was good I wouldn't say it was great. Probably because the cut was so thick it was more like a filet and I prefer strips to filets, something about the texture for me. I will say it was cooked properly. Our hostess and wait staff were fine, no problems for us. I'll echo what others have said about the portions, they are huge. Thumbs up from us.

beaner
10-10-2005, 10:16 AM
What is the reference to the Massachusetts plates and pounding beers, etc. about? I'm troubled by your remarks.

"Massachusetts plates" means exactly what it says. There appeared to be very few, if any, local patrons that evening - i.e., the folks that will keep a decent restaurant going through a long winter and mud season.

"pounding beers" means that this is a lousy place to bring a date.

The Big Kahuna
10-10-2005, 07:55 PM
It is people that say they don't have an agenda, that always have an agenda, and I think I know what your is!

Pineedles
10-10-2005, 08:18 PM
I think this dining establishment has been reviewed to death! Let's close the discussion with, MOST people prefer this establishment and a few do not. My experience was GOOD, others want to tell of their bad experience. The point is that the owner has responded to these posts and he wants to make as many people happy as possible without sacrificing the intent/purpose/articles of incorporation of the establishment. BTW, I have no connection to Canoe, its owners, staff, or any other connection that might be conceived by any conspiracy theorist.

Phantom
10-11-2005, 03:32 PM
Love the Canoe chip appetizer !!

But then again I'm a Blue Cheese lover

JDeere
10-11-2005, 08:35 PM
I have been to Canoe several times and agree that the food is good. But their attitude towards problems will eventually bring them down. I had dinner with my wife and 2 friends. One of the dinners was not cooked as it was ordered. The person picked at it but ultimately decided it was too raw to eat. I know that the food could have been sent back as soon as it was noticed but that never works out well since everyone else is eating and the dinner usually comes back in worse shape. Anyway the person in our party told the server that the food was raw. The server agrees but comes back and says there is nothing that they will do about it. As we are leaving Scott is out front and the person tells of the undercooked food. Instead of apologizing Scott explains that the food should have been sent back to be cooked more and then goes on to tell how food is cooked. No idea where he was going with his story. There was no disagreement that the food was not cooked as ordered so why the story? The mistake was his not the customers.



I have never been in any restaurant where a customer makes a legitimate complaint or even an illegitimate complaint and both the server and owner do nothing about it. The person in our party was not looking for a free meal but something should have been offered. I know the restaurant is more than busy enough not to care about the lose of 4 customers but I believe in the adage that if you do something right for a customer you will be lucky if they tell one person of how good you were but do something wrong and you can be sure that person will tell everyone they meet.

canoe
10-12-2005, 05:20 PM
I am sorry that your meal was not cooked to your liking. We never do nothing if a person is not happy with their meal, but knowing something was wrong is the fist step, second step is correcting the issue. I tend to disagree with sending it back to the kitchen it usually comes back worse, that i can assure you would not happen, we would either bting it up to temp of your liking or replace the meal, what ever the customer would like. I do remember speaking to you last night and i did apoligize, i would have gladely taken the steak off your bill if it was sent back and you did'nt want us to recook or replace the meal. Please ask for me the next time you dine with us. We never take any customer for granted, I value all of our customers, locals and vacationers and I want everyone who walks in the door to talk about what a good experience they had at Canoe.

HappyGlutton
10-27-2005, 09:09 AM
Wonderful dinner

My husband and I dined at canoe recently, we had a lovely time. The hostess was pleasant and happy to seat and greet us. Our server, katy, was professional and helpful. My husband LOVED the special soup that Gretchen made, beef barely, I believe. Our food was tasty and presented beautifully. We always go to Canoe for a special night out.

ghfromaltonbay
10-27-2005, 11:54 AM
Check out the 10/26/05 Our Gourmet column in the Union Leader. They gave Canoe an excellent rating. 2 weeks ago they also gave a good review to 51 Mill St.

mcdude
10-27-2005, 12:41 PM
CLICK HERE for the Union Leader Review (http://www.theunionleader.com/gourmet.html)

DoTheMath
11-08-2005, 04:56 PM
Huh, well it's been a while since I have been on this forum and I can see I missed a bit. Scott, nice of you to post and address the concerns of your patrons, it shows good business practices. Aside of that, the food is good - or at least I have never been disappointed with it, but yes, the service (more so the hostess') and communication to the customer needs some "tuning up". I would consider going back - sans my little guy - to give it another try and see what happens, it's hard to dispute the efforts of the owner in this case trying to make it right.

And on a side note, to all of you that commented on the well or ill behaved nature of a child, keep one thing in mind... there are NO bad children, only bad parents. Children are a product of their environment and they are what they learn / are taught. So, next time you are in a supermarket or out having dinner, take a look at that kid running around and see how the 'rents are handling it, you'll be surprised - I assure you! :)

islandAl
11-08-2005, 06:15 PM
take a look at that kid running around and see how the 'rents are handling it, you'll be surprised - I assure you! :)

No not surprised, I agree that 95% of the time, the situation could/should have been handled differently and the rusults would be better for all.