Review: Tea Station Fails to Please Its Customers

The long-anticipated Tea Station on Las Tunas finally opens, only to disappoint its customers.

Written by RAYMOND TRAN / Published October 22, 2010

Despite its innovative approach to traditional café style cuisine, Las Tunas’ Tea Station falls short in meeting its customers’ needs.

I entered the restaurant on the week of its grand opening expecting to be blown away by its hip yet sophisticated appeal, but I left convinced that I would not return for a long time.

When you first enter the teahouse, you’ll notice how elegant the interior is. The setting personifies the ideal afterschool hangout spot. Lavish tables are scattered across the roomy interior, and beautiful wood-carved walls separate the restaurant into its private and public settings. Upon entering the restaurant, one the first things that caught my eye was the beautiful tea set display near the cash register. I curiously gazed at the china contemplating how old and valuable it must have been, and I immediately became eager to try the restaurant’s drinks and other popular snacks.

Tea Station’s menu is one of the most interesting menus I’ve seen at a café style chain restaurant. One of my favorite Asian snacks, spicy fried chicken, is offered as tea-flavored spicy chicken. Of all things, I did not expect my chicken to have tea in it. But I ended up paying a pricy twelve dollars for an order of tea spicy fried chicken and milk tea, and I patiently waited to get my order. Although I was among the few people there, it was not until fifteen minutes later when I finally had my order.

At my first glance of the tea leave-crusted fried chicken, I immediately thought that this would either turn out to taste really good or really bad. It was neither. The flavor of the chicken is very subtle despite the spicy breading and the tea leaves. The chicken was cooked perfectly and looked appetizing, but I felt as if the dish’s flavor profile was thrown off by the addition of the tea leaves. In short, this dish might work for some people and be totally disgusting for others. As for the milk tea, it was one of the best milk teas I’ve had in a while. The sweetness of the drink was not overpowering and I could taste the tea. However, the regular size milk tea cost me a good five dollars, whereas I can get two milk teas for that price at other restaurants.

My biggest issue with Tea Station is not really the unaffordable prices, but rather the poor service. During my agonizing fifteen-minute wait for my order, I watched a full staff of baristas working on one drink at a time. There were less than 3 customers waiting for their order, yet the workers had problems communicating. One worker did not know which flavors to use for a drink, and she ended up holding each bottle up to her nose to sniff out which flavor it was. Gross.

And not to mention, I asked for a cup of water after I received my order. The workers refused me at first, but eventually gave in, warning me, “This is only because it’s your first time.” So I can’t have a cup of water after paying 12 dollars? Ridiculous. That’s just poor service.

The day I return to Tea Station is the day the staff starts caring about their customers.

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