, pub-8087192757053655, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Director Jewels: a true dining "experience"...

Monday, August 24, 2009

a true dining "experience"...

These days, it seems all of the businesses in the world are trying to make sure that when you visit them, you don't just buy something, or browse, or simply eat your food quickly and then leave. No, they want you to have a complete experience. (This is a huge push at the library right now...which is why I get to host a scrapbook club on work time starting in September. HA!)

So, our latest "experience" took place yesterday afternoon at 54th Street Bar and Grill. We met Andrew's parents there for lunch after church. Our server brought us drinks quickly, and we decided what to eat.

The waiter came back to take our order and we asked if we could use 2 different coupons (a free appetizer with entree purchase; and a free entree from the 54th punch card). He said no - if everything was on one ticket. So we asked him to split the ticket so that each couple could use a coupon. He said that was fine.

Now, those of you who know us, know that Andrew and I are incredibly picky eaters. It's very rare that we go somewhere and can order food without making exceptions such as "no tomatoes, no onions, no peppers, and the sauce on the side." So Andrew's order went something like this --

"We want an appetizer - potato skins, but we don't want the ranch dressing ON the skins, we'd like it on the side. And the 7-oz Sirloin, Medium-rare (...."um sir, we can't do medium-rare, just medium...") - okay, Medium is fine. And the fresh vegetables for the side instead of potatoes."

Well, the poor waiter was just SO confused about this. It took him about 2 minutes to write it down. Then I ordered my Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad. He paused, then asked me... "and what kind of dressing?" I blinked, thought "um..." and said "well, Caesar." He goes, "oh, okay!" and off he goes.

After about 15 minutes, we realize that a) we do not have our appetizer and b) we also have not been given any bread. He finally comes back to refill our drinks and we ask about this. He assures us everything is on the way.

The appetizer arrived, finally (5 small potato skins. Literally 5. It was over $1 per skin), and we ate it pretty quickly. The waiter came back and took our appetizer plates, though we still had not been given any bread. When the bread finally came, he had to get more plates, and then had to get regular butter as some of our party didn't like the honey butter. We devoured the bread in about 3 minutes. Then we waited again. We finally asked him where our salads were, and he rushed off, supposedly to get them. He came back sheepishly after a few minutes and said "um...I'm really sorry, but I just put in your order. I forgot to do it before. So, we'll get it out really soon."

Then we waited...and waited...and waited...and realized after awhile that we had been sitting at the table for close to an hour with no sign of our meal. Eventually (!) a team of people brought out some plates of food for us - a steak for Andrew's dad, a salad for his mom. Their orders were correct. Andrew was given a small side dish of steamed veggies. I was offered a regular chicken salad (way different than Caesar - it contains lots of icky things I won't eat!), with a small dish of Caesar dressing to put on it. I said, "I ordered the Caesar salad." He said, "oh - I thought you wanted this?" I said, "no." So they took the salad away and I was left without food.

It's always amusing to see how quickly food can actually be put together in a restaurant. I had my new (correct) salad within about 5 minutes. However, Andrew still had only a dish of vegetables. About this time, the manager came out to console us - though we had not really caused a fuss. He asked what was going on and when he heard about the missing steak, he said he would get it out immediately and would also remove it from our bill.

The steak finally arrived, on a plate with another set of steaming veggies. Andrew's salad also arrived about this time, with blue cheese dressing instead of ranch. We ended up boxing it and taking it home, as we were all pretty amazed at how poorly our meal had been handled!

The icing on the cake, of course, was when we had to settle up. The waiter had forgotten that we were supposed to have two separate checks, so he had to go back and have the manager take care of that. The receipt was confusing, but we ended up paying for 2 entrees, Andrew's parent's coffees.........and a $1.99 side of steamed veggies - the original "meal" they delivered to Andrew. His mom just paid for it. Who knows what would have happened if we had asked for yet more service.

We're pretty sure the waiter was new. At least...that's what we're hoping. :)

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