Wednesday, February 25, 2009

When Trotter and Keller Whiff It

Two friends told me recently about hugely disappointing experiences at restaurants any foodie would have looked forward to for weeks. The first case was a couple we know from Austin who were in town over Valentine's weekend. As former Chicagoans (and one once a sous chef), they couldn't imagine a better way to celebrate than at Charlie Trotter's, so they booked for the first seating that Saturday night. Their verdict? Cold food courses that shouldn't have been and terrible service. The second case was my friend Don, the owner of Just Grapes wine store, who dined at The French Laundry a few days ago with his wife. They were surprised to find it so lacking that they actually spoke to the general manager after the meal.

Most Americans have much bigger problems at the moment, but it is an enormous letdown when you've earmarked the cash - and in both of these cases, booked the flights - to make a pilgrimage to a sacred temple of gastronomy for naught. Terrible service and dumb food mistakes just shouldn't happen in some places, and if they do, they should be addressed by the management immediately...not in a lukewarm apology on the way out.

Naturally, no diner should passively sit back and watch the suckitude continue. As a waiter, I always appreciated the guests who swiftly, quietly, and respectfully told me exactly what it was that had just ticked them off so that I could correct or make up for it on the spot. You can't imagine the things I'd produce for these kind people, with the blessing of my manager.

As for the distasteful jerks, chronic complainers, and people who claim to have received 2+ bottles of corked wine? They are haters who deserve whatever circle of dining hell they land in.


  1. You were the queen of extra strawberries... (not that you ever had a complaint)

  2. Seriously? I don't remember that. I do remember comping a filet mignon, delivering a mountain of fresh cream to the point, and getting Ray to clear half the dining room of staff before close so a couple could have a moment with their Dom. I was also Jamie Pas y Puente's bread wench, but then weren't we all?

  3. ah, the point. such grandeur. I remember the people I worked with and for, but have pretty much blocked-out the rest. I do, however, remember scooping sorbet in the walk-in and Curtis using up a couple of bottles of Pernod a night (it all couldn't have made it into the food, right?)

    I was back in ABQ two weeks ago and was at the Hyatt daily, it totally brought me back.

  4. oh and stealing cookies from the old ladies during Thursday(?) bridge games...

  5. Oh, don't get me stcharted on misthusus Keeler!

  6. *Laugh Out loud* (if I had been drinikng when I read this, I would have had a big problem)