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Old 10-12-2005, 01:46 AM   #1
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Bad Restaurant Experiences....

Do any of you have a friend who is IMPOSSIBLE to please when it comes to dining out? I have a few, but one in particular who would find something wrong with anything. It matters not. They could be in a prime Chicago steakhouse and be served a perfectly cooked NY Strip with an a la minute Whisky Bordaliase.

"Ahhh... It's OK I guess. It's a little too fatty for me."

"It's a little too thick."

"It's a little too red inside."

"It's a little too cold."

"It's a little too hot."

"The spices are a little weird I think."

Here's a little info on me. I don't get to eat out at nice restaurants much. I'm usually working in one or too broke to even pay for the tip if I am able to go. The thing is, I appreciate good food. I always have. I try not to complain for little things and I understand that the type of place dictates the level of quality I am receiving for the amount paid. I am not gonna eat garbage, but I am willing to overlook lots of things and do it with a smile. If I don't have to cook it or clean up afterwards, chances are I will be chewing with a smile on my face. I celebrate every meal placed in front of me and I thank God for the experience. That's first and foremost.

However, sometimes plates don't turn out as good as they should, and I am talking about minimum requirements. Have you ever been the recipient of said plates, and if so, what did you do about it?

I recently had dinner at this Italian place my Father LOVES. Why he loves it is beyond me. It is near a community college and there are ALWAYS roudy "young adults" in there every time I've been in there. The tables are always off balance and there isn't a chef coat in the kitchen. Just a bunch of aprons and baseball hats worn backwards. (This may be trival to some, but it speaks volumes to me.)

Anyway, after scanning the menu for something other than the run of the mill pizza or baked beef sandwich, I settled on Fettucini Alfredo.

What arrived to our table was something a little different than I expected.

I was given Spaghetti with some 1/2 and 1/2, a sprinkling of grated cheese and a discolored looking pinch of parsley all centered on top. You could even see the indentations from someone's fingers in the parsley.

I sat there for a minute looking at my plate and pondered my next move. As my family was starting to eat their food, I tried not to make a big deal of it, but I couldn't stand it anymore. I walked my plate to the kitchen pickup window and asked to talk to who made it. The three cooks stared at me, but no one answered me. The waitress came up to me and aked me what the matter was. I asked her if she would eat this. The 1/2 and 1/2 looked more like skim milk at this point than anything.

She looked at it, made that "ick" face , and then told me this. "Ya know what, I'll put a refire order in for you."

"Thank you," I said. I walked back to my table and sat there with my family.

When the plate arrived a second time, the portion was twice as huge and the pasta was indeed Fetuccini, but the sauce was so thick you could have used it as plaster. I was so turned off by it, I could only handle one forkful of it. It was horrible tasting too. No seasoning whatsoever. I didn't complain a second time. I just had a few pieces of pizza and finished up the breaded mushrooms my family got as an appetizer.

I sat there dreaming of that small Italian place I long to open someday. I can smell the heavy cream reducing right now actually.


Can anyone relate?



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Old 10-12-2005, 02:56 AM   #2
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Sounds dreadful. Not a good dining experience. It shouldn't matter HOW MUCH you are charged for a dish, it should be well cooked and if it purports to be a certain recipe, then you are right to expect just that.

BTW - What's half half?

We have a joke in our family when we go out to eat. Everyone waits until I order - then ensure they order something different. The reason? Because (and it has proved true all my life) IF there is going to be something wrong with a dish, or an order for a dish - then it's MY order that gets forgotten, badly cooked, badly served.... well, you get the picture.

I am fortunate because as part of my job I often get to eat at very good five star restaurants. The above applies even to this type of establishment! Doesn't happen every time, of course, but at least 3 or 4 times a year!

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Old 10-12-2005, 07:21 AM   #3
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My most recent bad restaurant experience was not bad because of the food. The food was actually excellent. The waiter on the other hand was not very proficient.

My grandparent were up from FL visiting and my Aunt and Uncle from NJ were in town for the night on their way to Maine for vacation. Grandpa wanted to take us all (10 people) out for a nice meal as he always does.

We went to a Greek restaurant that I had never been to before. There was a gentleman playing Greek music on some sort of mandolin type of instrument. The place was beautifully decorated and smelled fantastic. Since we had a large party we were seated in a small room off the main dining area. There were a few other people in that room, but we took up most of the space.

The waiter brought our menus and our drink orders. My mom ordered her usual drink, diet coke, no ice, with lemon. She hates ice in her soda. The soda comes out of the machine cold enough for her and she does not chug her drinks so she does not want ice diluting it. She can always tell what her experience at a particular restaurant will be like when she gets her drink. The good places will remember she does not want ice. Well when she got her soda there was ice in it. OK not the biggest deal admittedly.

We place our orders. I was planning on ordering off the menu, but once I heard the special I decided to go with one of those. For sides I was getting the rice and vegetables. My dinner also came with soup. I chose lemon soup as I had never had that before and it sounded really interesting. I was really looking forward to that.

Thankfully we ordered an app (a big platter with a number of Greek specialties). I say thankfully because our dinners did not come out for about 45 minutes after that. The waiter only came to our table once during that time and that was to say the meals would be out in a second. He was not even close. It was more like 20 minutes later.

Well of course I was expecting my soup first, but when the meals arrived the soup was no where to be seen. The waiter made mention of it and said he would be right back with the soup. He first finished giving everyone their meals. He would reach across the table to hand the food out instead of walking around the table. I can overlook service like that at a chain restaurant or a less classy place, but this was a nice restaurant and he should have known better.

He give me and my father our meals (we ordered the exact same thing), but neither of us got our sides. Other people were missing food as well. We had to wait till he finally came back into the room (quite a while later) to ask for the missing things. Now I can understand forgetting a dish here and there, but it seemed he forgot about half of what he was supposed to bring.

When he finally came back with the rest of the food he did not have the soup. He said to me and my father "I will talk to the manager about taking something off the bill because it is pointless to serve the soup at this point". Well I was happy that he wanted to give us a discount, but I though it should have been left up to us as to whether or not we thought it was pointless. I really wanted to taste the soup and I didn't care if it was at the end of the meal or not. Because my grandfather was paying and I was pretty full already anyway I decided to not say anything and just thank him for taking some money off.

Once we were done eating it took about a half hour for him to bring the bill. When he finally brought it his only explanation was "I am sorry, we were very busy tonight". That is never a good explanation in my book. Not to mention that while they did have a lot of people there, they were not super busy. We were close enough to the entrance to see no one was ever waiting for a table and in our room there were always a few empty tables.

The only explanation I have is that this guy must have been pretty new to being a waiter. Maybe it was his first night on his own. If that is the case then I can certainly understand the mistakes.

Overall I would not really call this a bad restaurant experience, but more of a slightly disappointing one. The food more than made up for the mistakes and I would still go back there again and give them another chance.

One thing that bothered me a little was that the tip was included in the bill because of the size of our party. I probably would have still left 20% if I were the one paying, but in a situation like this I would have liked to have the option of not giving that much.
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Old 10-12-2005, 08:13 AM   #4
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A person in my family never has an order to suit her. No matter what type of restaurant. I've started either sitting at a different table if there are enough of us, or if there are just a few, having other plans. She has ruined so many good meals for me that I no longer give her the opportunity. I also eat either before or after I go to her house. I understand each of us want good food prepared well, but to constantly gripe about it is totally insensitive to other members of the party.
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Old 10-12-2005, 08:24 AM   #5
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You are absolutely right. I have an aunt like that!

What I am talking about is: cold food, under/overcooked meat, missing me out altogether I've found HAIR in my food, on at least 3 occasions! Honestly, it is a really weird thing how it's ALWAYS me - and I'm not a difficult customer. Just give me what I've ordered, on time and properly cooked and served!
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Old 10-12-2005, 08:29 AM   #6
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My poor dad did something I couldn't believe. A group of us went to dinner and they DIDN'T bring him his dinner. We reminded them a couple of times and they said it was coming right out. It never came and dad paid anyway. He didn't want to cause the waiter any problems!!!!!!!!!!I could still kick myself for letting him go thru with that. I know things happen and should be reported, but we certainly need to make the difference in something miniscule and other problems.
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Old 10-12-2005, 09:07 AM   #7
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the bf is always like that. never says please. he sends food back and they bring him another plate he never says thank you. i'll ask him how is it this time and i get the "eh
it's okay". there have been numerous times when the server was back every 5 minutes asking if everything is okay. he never answers so i do. i'm pleased with the service most of the time. the food is great, he's just very unappreciative i guess
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Old 10-12-2005, 09:11 AM   #8
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i will put up with certain things in restaurants. after all, nobody's perfect, and i know people who work in restaurants, and i know just how stressful and hectic thier work can be.

but that does not make up for downright poor service, or rude behavior, or bad food. if the food is truly not up to par, i complain. i'm not speaking of something as little as them putting onion on my salad when i asked for no onion- i could just pick that off and there isn't any real reason to get worked up over that. but when i order a ribeye, i don't expect to find a strip steak on my plate (which has happened, and the waitress argued about it with me and my guy, and i was like, 'look, ma'am, i know my steaks and that is absolutely not a ribeye. can i please speak with the the manager?'.... we got like $20 in free coupons from the manager, so that was good, but we didn't return there for a very long while).
we always ask for the manager if the service is bad enough to warrant that, but if the waitstaff keeps thier wits about them and just handles the problem, we tip extra.

you just cannot mistreat customers. i figure employees will have thier bad days- we all do- but i draw the line when thier behavior turns rude or indifferent to my concerns. i'm a paying customer and expect to be treated as such.
i think a good resturant knows that. a good restaurant with a polite and efficient staff will develop a loyal clientele, and people will talk and thier reputation will grow, the staff will get excellent tips, etc.

in my judging of a restaurant, i take many factors into consideration. (was the food late because the staff is lazy and busy gabbing about nonsense while my food is getting cold, or is it because the place packed so full that the watress looks ready to sob?) stuff like that.
as for bad restaurants.... well..... too bad they didn't try harder. they're only hurting themselves.

just my thoughts on that matter.
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Old 10-12-2005, 09:31 AM   #9
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I've become a little wary of eating out! If you complain, the waiters or cooks might do something awful to your food says one of my daughters, who is currently waitressing in very busy, popular spot! I hope this isn't true! Sandyj
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Old 10-12-2005, 01:33 PM   #10
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Today it is raining here in Chicagoland. On top of that, it is a Wednesday. Both of these factors equate to slow restaurant business. When that happens, the cooks at the restaurant get sent home early. The prep staff is sent packing, the cooking line is cut in 1/2.... and me, the pastry guy is to go home as well.

Well, I've had alot of things to think about the past few weeks. My money problems seem to never go away. I needed a little break from all of that so when I passed a little breakfast place as I was driving home, I stopped in. I thought it would be a great place to have a little breakfast, relax and balance my checkbook.

I walked in and was greeted by a young waitress. "Hello, welcome to _________'s. Smoking or Non-Smoking?" "Non-Smoking please," I said. As I was sitting down, she poured me a cup of coffee without asking if I wanted it. I don't usually drink coffee so I kinda cringed. "Oh, did you want Decaf?" I said, "I didn't want any coffee actually, but this is fine. I will take this." As she gave me her menu, she told me she'd be back in a few minutes to take my order.

Now, I was seated in the first booth with my back to the counter seats. I was maybe 10 feet from her, a little off to the right. I was out of sight, but I wasn't hiding from her. I was sitting where she seated me. It took me all of a minute or two to decide on a tall stack of Banana Pancakes. For the next 17 minutes, I sat and listened to her chat away with another waitress. There I sat, playing Tetris on my phone when the other waitress walked past me to check on the only other customers in my section. As she walked back, she asked, "Has Becky taken your order?" I asked, "Who's Becky?" "Hold on a sec.... Beck, did you take this guy's order yet?"

"HOLY SH*T!!! Tell him I'll be there in a sec. Lemme finish my cigarette."

With that, I got up from my seat, placed a dollar on the table for my unasked for cup of coffee (that I did indeed drink), and walked out of the restaurant.

As I walked passed her, she siad,"Sorry Guy! When we girls get to chattin, ya know..."

"Yeah, I'm sorry too."

Ugh. What the heck is going on???? I think I jinxed myself with this thread!!!


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