If I was here only to tell you about food, I would tell you how Linh’s is a good Vietnamese food place with potential and a definite niche market.
Unfortunately, I don’t just talk about food. Instead, I have to relate to you the unfortunate downside of a restaurant with poor service, poor environment and inefficiencies which are quite simply running it into the ground in a very slow, painful and embarrassing way. Linh’s has its food down. Unfortunately, its shortcomings really diminish the importance of that fact.
Linh’s suffers from very inefficient organization which seems to be seriously cutting the attractiveness of dining there. The crux of these problems seems to come out (but are not caused by) the lunch hour rush. If you make it there before noon, you’ll be just fine getting a table. Otherwise you’ll encounter a line maybe out the door and unlikely to move anytime soon. There does not seem to be an efficient designation of dining room workers, so no hostess exists to direct people to places, and none of the servers seems assigned to a group of tables. I saw a number of different groups wait 15 or more minutes for a table, at a time when there were several empty tables. The crowd is uncomfortable for everyone.
More importantly, there is no efficient way to clean anything in the restaurant. There isn’t a busboy to clean tables, so they are left dirty as people wait to sit at them, and the floor is almost too sticky to walk on. Add to that there are cleaning supplies stacked in the open around the dining room.
Regardless of these things, the food is good. Vermicelli bowls of meat and vegetables here are delicious. The soups are outstanding. The kitchen definitely has a great handle on how to cook good Vietnamese dishes. Then, the experience is promptly ruined when you are forgotten by your server and there is literally nothing coming to you after the food. I hate to trash a place with good food; it’s the main reason you’re reading this. But believe me when I say it really runs the experience into the ground.
Since there are no clear areas for the different servers, all the checks are bunched together in just such a way that forces whoever you caught at the front desk to hurriedly search through the entire stack for the right one. It’s an archaic method, and I haven’t seen it in restaurants in a long time.
I hate to sound so harsh, but the simple fact is that the line is out the door here every day. There’s a product for people to enjoy, and an audience which is willing to whether the frustrating experience for it. But we’re next to and Air Force Base here, which makes up the bulk of the customers. These people don’t have the time to wait in such a poorly organized mess, and Linh’s Restaurant has had plenty of time to get its act together.