Recently, I returned to a restaurant that I’ve liked in the past. However, this particular evening, the chef was not there. Note to self, find out if chef is working before going to a restaurant. Everything seemed off: service, the food, the reception. Meh. All of the excellent allergen practices were in place and my meal was safe but it wasn’t a great dining experience. Less than great to be honest.
I ordered off the menu, something the chef had previously suggested I try, or at least I thought that’s what he had said. Turns out the restaurant makes no such dish and had no idea how to do it; at least the sous chef working that night had no clue. They made me a "special order", which was very sweet but it was bizarre. The "special" meat patty came out raw inside (I sent it back for more fire), and as if someone hadn’t actually packed it. It was in floppy sections. Very unappetizing.
I probably should have sent it back a second time but I ate it. I felt badly that they went to all the trouble. I wished they just told me they didn’t have that item on the menu and offered other options. I deeply appreciated that they wanted to please me but...ugh.
Chalk it up to major miscommunication on both sides.
My dining companion (who works in the foodservice industry) and I were talking about this New York Times article: the 100 rules of service (part 1 and part 2 and readers' comments on the article). We remarked that sadly a few were broken right in front of our eyes, like #21. Never serve anything that looks creepy or runny or wrong. My dinner was creepy and wrong and raw. My dinner companion summed it up perfectly when emailing the next day: “I would like to add a rule: #101. Never serve a naked meat patty that looks like it was made by a first grader, and raw inside.”
Do you have any rules to add? About food allergies and service? Or just service in general? I’m curious.