A few minutes later, the wait staff came over and asked me how many. I told them we had reservations, gave them the name, and she looked a bit confused. "Do you see your party sitting down?" I told her no, and she seemed to get really confused and told me she'd be back in a moment. She walked to the back, and started a conversation with her boss (?), came back, and told me it would be a few minutes. At this point, I was willing to be flexible because the rest of the party had not arrived yet, I know that mistakes happen, and they were going to try and make it right. The rest of the party started to arrive within a 5 - 10 minutes of the reservation though, and I shared with them my take on what had just happened. Also within that time frame, a waiter came over, explained that our table would be setup within minutes (only hinting at the problem), and we proceeded to wait.
About 20 or 30 minutes after the reservations, they finally showed us to the table they had assembled for us. Although they had been late with our reservations, we were seated, and we could begin to get our minds off the rocky start by reading the menu, starting idle conversation, and enjoying the meal. The problem was, we had no menus, we had no water, we had no silverware. The only thing we had was the crayons left at the tables for guests to doodle with. While the children enjoyed this, the adults were only marginally entertained. Finally, after about 10+ minutes of waiting for something to happen, I flagged down a waitress and explained that we'd like some water, menus, and perhaps even be given a chance to place orders for drinks. The water came within a few minutes of that request, and menus a little bit later. Nobody ever asked for a drink order.
When the waiter finally came over to take our order (we had more than ample time to decide), we were all quite happy to do so. We ordered drinks and food at the same time. The drinks arrived a fair bit later, and a few people noticed some black specks within their drinks. Coffee grinds perhaps? Maybe something else? Nobody was sure, but it clearly shouldn't have been there, nor should it have been in so many cups. The waiter quickly replaced those drinks with clean ones. The food eventually came, and things seemed mostly correct (although the sun-dried tomato & artichoke pasta came without artichokes, (and doesn't normally come with artichokes) but that was corrected once we pointed it out).
That's probably the second worst let-down at a restaurant I've ever had. How about you all?