Like many other passengers, we’ve been excited to see all the changes happening at Newark Liberty International Airport over the past few months. New restaurants and food options have started to appear, while boarding areas are finally getting a brand new face-lift. Excited by the new options, we decided to venture to the newly updated Saison bar in Terminal C for a light meal and beverage.
Saison is a French style restaurant, with a variety of food options from oysters to steak, to charcuteria boards and pasta. A little hesitant by the poor reviews we read online, we wanted to give Saison a fair chance and sat down with an open mind.
While strolling through Terminal C, deciding which restaurant to eat at can be slightly challenging. In this case, the hostess at Saison was enough to draw us in. She was extremely friendly and greeted us with a smile. She showed us the menu, which at first glance was enticing and took us to our seats.
We chose to sit at the bar, as the restaurant was empty and we usually enjoy interacting with the bartender. Unfortunately in this case, the bartender was preoccupied cutting lemons and was not the friendliest. We decided not to deduct too many points, as the new Ipad system seems to take away from the overall customer/server experience, making the servers job less interactive. That being said, we do expect some level of service and had to ask the bartender for everything including side plates, napkins and additional condiments. The lack of engagement during our meal was definitely a disappointment, especially considering there were only three people seated at the bar.
The highlight of our meal came when the chef came out to check on us and ask how our food was. He definitely helped to improve our overall service experience, and finally made us feel like there was a face behind the Ipad. When it comes to service, it doesn’t take much to make us happy. A simple “How’s your meal?” goes a long way.
Our expectation for food was basic as we were only looking to enjoy a simple breakfast. Nothing fancy, however something that reflected the restaurant’s French theme. The menu offered some classics such as French toast, steak n’ eggs, quiche and smoked salmon, but overall managed to have a similar feel to all the other restaurants in Terminal C, alluding to the fact that breakfast might be the same at all locations.
We eventually ordered smoked salmon, an omelet and a basic breakfast of eggs, home fries, toast and sausage. With an astounding price of $18 for a basic breakfast, we assumed the food would arrive beautifully arranged with garnishes of fruit, but not the case. Basic at best, and way overpriced.
One of our biggest complaints about our overall experience at Saison is the new Ipad system. We understand that this is not the fault of Café Saison and that Ipad’s have replaced menus in all of the restaurants in EWR, but customer service was greatly affected by this technology. Our waiter/bartender became more of an observer, no longer feeling the need to check in, and the overall menu lost its appeal when arranged in a generic online format.
We can’t deny that Ipads in restaurants are a great feature for travelers waiting to catch a flight. You can surf the Internet, check your flight status or pass time playing a game. It even makes sense to order food over an Ipad at an airport as it speeds up the wait time when you have a tight connection to make and ensures that travelers don’t leave without paying. However restaurants should still provide some sort of customer experience, and we worry that this is being lost to technology.
We would like to give Saison the benefit of the doubt and assume their dinner menu provides a more authentic French dining experience. We also recognize that we are basing our review on breakfast alone and that every restaurant has their bad days. That being said, the bad reviews online far outweigh the good, and we can’t help but recognize that our experience offered a similar story. Unfortunately in the case of Saison, the service was mediocre at best and the prices were enough to keep us away from coming back for dinner.
Share your experience of Saison with us below! We’d love to hear what you loved or hope to see improved!