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Review from a Guest: Villa @ Mountain Lakes (Long)

My H & I went to a wedding at this venue today. I'll leave the venue appearance alone, since that's all subjective. Not our taste, but mostly inoffensive. The cocktail hour had mostly good food, though we didn't like that it was in two rooms, making it tough to mingle. There was a Chinese food "takeout" station, and I thought it was cute that they were serving in takeout boxes. I didn't taste it, but my sister loved the mashed potato station. The filet mignon and tuna tartar from one station were good, but the lamb chops from the same place were tough and had cartilage - and I LOVE lamb chops normally. The pasta was ok, nothing spectacular. H liked the oysters, though I thought they were "eh" tasting and they were really tough to separate from the shells. Passed crab cakes and stuffed mushrooms were great, and the crab claw was very good. Dinner was a 3-course meal. I don't know if the couple had an option for more, I do know that our wedding at The Manor was 4 courses. Ours was salad, appetizer, entree, dessert. This was salad, entree, dessert. The salad was very good, with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It was served in a thin pastry bowl (filo?), which made for very pretty presentation, though it was a little difficult to eat because of that. H's bowl "attacked" him and sent a piece flying at him. It was more funny than anything, and didn't dirty his suit. H's filet mignon was good. I had a bite and liked it, he ate the whole thing. He did comment, though, that the port reduction sauce tasted like plain old beef gravy, no port. My salmon was fishy tasting, so I didn't eat it after the first bite. It scared me; I once - just ONCE - made the mistake of eating fishy salmon and had horrible food poisoning. I wasn't hungry enough to send it back for something else. I did eat my mashed potatoes and carrots, which were fine. I started to eat my asparagus, but I'm not a fan of asparagus unless it's done REALLY well, and this was just kind of bitter. Dessert was a plate of cookies for the table and a 3-tiered tray of pastries. I had one pastry and it was vaguely awful, so I didn't bother with anything else. The wedding cake was pretty good, a very dense, pretty moist cake with buttercream frosting (it was also really pretty pre-cutting). I liked the cake, some others at the table weren't crazy about it. The coffee was very good. Table service there... was annoying. The girl kept coming back and re-folding the napkins and straightening our silverware, even while we were sitting right there, reaching over us to do it. It was like she was OCD. Water was refilled regularly, but no drink orders were taken throughout the entirety of the reception. We had to go get our own drinks at the bar across the room. Honestly, my dream wedding venue had been Skylands Manor, but it was too expensive for us. Both Skylands and the Villa use Frungillo caterers, and I have to say, when we got home tonight I told H in all honesty that I was glad we didn't end up there.

Re: Review from a Guest: Villa @ Mountain Lakes (Long)

  • edited December 2011
    Whoa...that is some (extensive) review. I'd appreciate it if that was my venue.
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  • edited December 2011
    I can tell you that Skylands is not worth the huge price tag attached to it!  My MOH got married there a year and a half ago, and they had quite a few issues.  Once they booked, the people became somewhat difficult to work with and there were more issues on the day of than necessary.  If you don't like the cocktail hour split up, you would have hated the one at Skylands. I personally liked it, but it was in like 5 different small rooms in the original part of the "castle".  After that wedding, I also left unimpressed with Frungillio.
  • kewltifkewltif member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Which room was the wedding in? At my wedding in the larger ballroom the cocktail hour was technically in two rooms, but it really was like one large room.  The only difference was there was like a step in the middle of the room and they could close the doors and make two rooms. I don't remember the layout of the smaller room.The menu gives you the option of a 3 course meal or a 4 course meal (for additional money). I personally chose the 3 course meal because I couldn't imagine being hungry after cocktail hour and I wanted the flow of the evening to move along. I wanted people to be up and dancing, not sitting at their table waiting for pasta to be served.This is quite the review. It sounds to me like it must have been a pretty awful wedding with bad music or you didn't know anyone. I don't think I've ever left a wedding with the ability to review individual cocktail hour options.
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  • LarissaAnnLarissaAnn member
    1000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    Tiff, when you went in the front door of the place, the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception were all in rooms to the left. They had about 140 people, if that helps to tell you what room it was in. The wedding was... a wedding. The stereotype is good cocktail hour and "eh" dinner. This pretty much lived up to that. As far as the review of individual foods, that's easy. Why wouldn't I remember what I ate just a few hours later? The lamb chops especially disappointed me because I was so happy to see them. Like I said, I'm a HUGE fan of lamb, so when I could barely bite through it, it was bound to disappoint. The music was mostly good; I danced a lot. H was sick as a dog & stayed at the table, so I danced with other people or my father. The DJ was annoying as hell (WAY too talky), but I didn't get the company's name so I wasn't mentioning them. It was my cousin's wedding, and I knew everyone at my table - me, H, my sis & BIL, my parents, my cousin, and my grandfather's sister & her husband. I actually had a great time chatting and dancing (despite wanting to slap the DJ silly); I was just disappointed in a lot of the venue-related stuff. having wanted a Frungillo venue myself. I expected to be wowed and jealous as hell. (Oh... the salmon & whitefish at the cocktail hour were also great, as were the little passed salmon canapes.) It was just kind of all over the board - some things great, some things not so much. The scariest was my main course salmon. I just remember my food poisoning incident WAY too well.
  • kewltifkewltif member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I don't mean to take offense- but the wording of your review is just very negative and sounds like you're looking for a problem.Your husband hitting himself with food doesn't really justify "I wouldn't put salad in that type of pastry bowl."Your waitress being over zealous is probably more her than a statement on how all the waiters in the place are.  Why didn't you ask her to take a drink order if she was next to your table all night cleaning?The decor was "mostly inoffensive"- it's just your wording on things.I have honestly been to 15 weddings this year and if I evaluated venues like this then I can think of only 1 out of 15 that I would even recommend.
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  • LarissaAnnLarissaAnn member
    1000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    I didn't mean to offend, and I'm serious about that. I thought I was being pretty fair. I said the salad was great and the pastry bowl made for beautiful presentation, just a little difficulty in getting to the salad; mine didn't break but I still had some trouble stabbing the greens in the bowl. If it helps, I honestly still think it was worth it and I'd choose my salad to be presented the same way if I had the choice. (If high heels are worth it for the looks, then why not a cool, if fragile, pastry bowl?) The thing about H's bowl was funny as far as we were concerned, not damning. The waitress was a speed demon and hard to pin down. She wasn't by the table most of the night either. She just kept appearing, reaching over us, refolding our napkins, and then disappearing again. And honestly, I'm used to being asked if I want a drink, not having to tackle the waitstaff to get one. I just got up & got my own drinks, and some for the other people at my table. I don't know how the rest of the waitstaff was. I can only speak from my own experience. If someone at the next table posts a review saying that the waitress was terrific, we know it was just inconsistent service table-to-table. Hey, my review of MY OWN venue evidences inconsistent table service also. It happens. I said the decor was subjective. And it is, totally. Look, I got married at The Manor. I've heard it repeatedly called "old fashioned" on here. I don't argue with that because I know it's coming from chicks who aren't into it. I was raised by antique dealers, so I appreciate the dark wood and cabinets full of sterling silver pieces. They work for me. For others, it's modern clubby loft space, which is cool too. For others it's The Tides or The Villa or wherever. That's why it's good there are so many different kinds of venues.
  • melissa82melissa82 member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    Are there any of these you recommend discussing with the venue? As I read through, some of them seem situational and some don't seem to lend well to discussion if that makes sense.My CH is in two rooms, but that was a plus to me--more places to sit, etc. (I want to add more tables than the norm, I hate not having a place to put my stuff down). I never really thought someone might not like it.I'm doing three courses simply because it's NYE and we're starting late, so I don't want people served dinner at 10 pm. I'm not doing the pastry tray on the table (because we'll have a Viennese).
  • edited December 2011
    i'm glad you weren't a guest at my wedding.  you are one tough cookie to please.
  • Lola MinnieLola Minnie member
    1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I'm just curious why you didn't ask for another piece or salmon or a different entree after not liking yours? Because some of these critiques could have been adverted.
  • LarissaAnnLarissaAnn member
    1000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    Wow, I know I'm sounding that way, but I'm actually not tough to please. I just want good food, good music, and not to be annoyed. Fishy salmon scares me, and reaching over my head to mess with my napkin annoys me. Melissa, it is situational, but I don't think it hurts to mention to a venue (if it's yours), "Hey, I heard someone at a wedding here recently had an issue with the fish not being fresh. Please talk to the chef about ensuring that my guests will get the best." or "Please make sure your waitstaff takes tableside drink orders. I hear that doesn't always happen." To me, the fishy salmon was the biggest problem. The rest I could easily have lived with. I posted the negatives and positives about my venue too, knowing that some of the chicks were getting married there not long after me. I wanted them to be able to talk to the place about it and head off any issues. Can't improve things without a critique. It's been passed by, but there were positives about this place - much of the cocktail hour, the beef entree, the carrots & mashed potatoes. Oh, and H just told me the cannoli he had was good. And the cake. The cake at my wedding was just as pretty as this one, but not as good tasting. This one was good, IMO. I just didn't like the other pastries. I'd imagine the Viennese tables head that off, since the cakes probably come from the same baker as the wedding cake and I'd expect them to be really good.
  • LarissaAnnLarissaAnn member
    1000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    Asking for another piece of salmon or a different entree would not have stopped me from mentioning that my first piece of salmon was fishy. I don't care where you are, fish that's not fresh should not be served; it's a health hazard. So no, the critique there would not have been averted if I just asked for a new dinner. And yes, I considered asking for a new dinner, but like I said in my OP, I wasn't hungry enough to bother. I just ate the sides, and I didn't walk away hungry. I'm not saying they were trying to starve me or anything.
  • kewltifkewltif member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    You keep comparing it to things at your wedding. I don't think it really matters what the cake looks or tastes like in comparison to your wedding. I'll be honest- I don't generally have a problem with your reviews of things or personality in general- but it kind of sounds like you were upset that you couldn't afford Skylands (a totally different venue and price point btw) and you walked in looking to find problems so you could say, "Thank god we didn't book that company!"
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  • Lola MinnieLola Minnie member
    1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Please don't take offense, but, I eat alot of fish and some fish taste fishy / others don't. Salmon is one that does - it does not mean it isn't fresh.  Tilapia and other white fish typically have no taste - the taste comes from how it is cooked.  Overall though, I'm sure some girls will enjoy your input above.
  • LarissaAnnLarissaAnn member
    1000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    I guess it does sound like that. It's not accurate. That's actually why I'm comparing some things to my wedding - to say, hey, I'm perfectly willing to admit that there were things about theirs that were better. Their cake was better than *most* wedding cake I've had, if that helps. But we nixed Skylands pretty much before we found out the price, when H tried repeatedly to get in contact with Frungillo for information and couldn't get a hold of them and we got annoyed by their lack of response. The price tag was the icing on the cake. "We'd pay WHAT for such lack of service?!" was more the reaction. I wasn't looking for negatives. This was my cousin's wedding, and I wanted it to be beautiful and wonderful for her. I'm never looking to be at a bad party. Never. I'm not like that. I was honestly surprised at anything I didn't like. I was definitely curious going in, since I've heard very mixed reviews on Frungillo venues. I wish I loved it. I really, truly do. I don't care if someone can have something I can't have, but they should get what they're paying for. If anything, I'm pissed off on behalf of my cousin and hope she had a great time and never hears about any of the negatives. I want her to have had "the best wedding ever."
  • edited December 2011
    agreed.  imo, salmon is a fishy fish, lol!
  • LarissaAnnLarissaAnn member
    1000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    I eat a lot of fish too, and a LOT of salmon, and this was different. It made me nervous. I made the mistake of dismissing fishy salmon once (at my friend's mom's house, no less) and eating it, and holy crow did I regret it. I wasn't taking any chances. For the record, the smoked salmon canapes and smoked salmon at the fish station in the cocktail hour were NOT fishy and were excellent.
  • kewltifkewltif member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I negotiated there and paid less than most girl on here do for their venues.
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  • Dizzy1687Dizzy1687 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    If it smells like fish "EAT IT", saw that on a delivery truck today.
  • LarissaAnnLarissaAnn member
    1000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    Good! I hope my cousin did too. Honestly, I think all these venues are overpriced to an insane degree. The wedding industry is crazy expensive. It annoys the crap out of me that flowers are $X until you mention "wedding" and then they're $Y. Same for DJs and everything else. Is it really that different? Really?
  • edited December 2011
    I'm not surprised that the food wasn't that good with that catering company.  I looked at Skylands, but the manager lost me when she couldn't pronounce "ceviche" correctly.  Um, lady, you work in the food industry!  (She is the blonde who is on the TV show on TLC).  I appreciate your review and don't think you were being too harsh.  Frungilio caterers are, in my opinion, over priced for the quality of food you can find in other NJ banquet halls. 
  • NJgurl19NJgurl19 member
    500 Comments Third Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    LarissaAnn, just my two cents, you give really good reviews, thanks now if i were to concider these people for my wedding i will def know what to look for.
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