A Tale Of Two Restaurants

Charles Dickens began his book with the famous phrase, “It was the best of times and the worst of times.”

This applies to restaurants and to a lot of businesses, for that matter.

They can have great food or wonderful products that you’re drawn to, but their customer service repulses you.

So, you use them, time and again, but you feel queasy about it, and far less than 100% satisfied.

This is my experience with a seafood company in Santa Monica, California.

It’s in a key location, parking is plentiful, and the food is good.

But their rules are utterly insane.

For example, if you walk in and there are plenty of open tables, no one is waiting, and there are no imminent reservations that are going to show up, they’ll still make you wait up to fifteen minutes to be seated.

The other day, I asked “Why?”

“We want to give our waiters a chance to catch up.”

“To catch up with what?” I wondered. Believe me, these slugs are not overworked.

If you want a nice open booth near a window, they won’t let you have it unless you’re so insistent that it spoils your appetite.

The logic?

They just gave the server in that part of the place another party, so they’d prefer to seat you in the cave like darkness in the rear to give another server some business.

Why not let that underserved server serve you in that nice booth?

Today, I saw crawlers, bug-like beings in the lettuce that accompanied my Oysters Rockefeller.

I summoned the waiter, who said he’d speak to the manager.

In a few minutes the waiter came back and said: “They’re not bugs, they’re sea shrimp, and my manager says they’re always on oysters.”

Later, I summoned the manager and said, “I want to meet the manager who says bugs on food are normal.”

He reiterated the sea shrimp tale, but added, “We try to wash them off, and the wholesaler says they can’t get them all off before we get them.”

“Change wholesalers!” I thought.

He removed them (the oysters, not sea shrimp) from the tab.

I’m interested in hearing the health department’s take on these beings.

Anyway, wouldn’t it be nice if places like this could put a stop to their schizophrenia, purvey great food and great service, and eliminate the bull along with the other critters?