Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Evil Blob. Happy Ending

Last week, my allergic family all went to Restone American Grill in Marlton, NJ. We'd been there over the summer and had wonderful food and a nice dining experience, so I was confident in their abilities to handle my allergies.
When I ordered, I told our waitress to please "bring my salmon and baked potato as plain as possible, no dairy, no oil, no seasoning on anything, and please tell the chef to resist the urge to make it look pretty as it leaves the kitchen. Most importantly, the vegetable side with the tomato marmalade (coulis?) can not GO ANYWHERE NEAR/ON MY PLATE. I have terrible allergies (cue showing of med-alert bracelet here)"
The last time we went, I took pictures of how lovely the food looked. You'll note that there are no pictures this time. As everyone was handed their plates, mine was given to me by a different runner. It was evident that my plate had been kept separate so they could monitor it more carefully, and this made me very happy. Until I actually looked at my plate. There it was, about 2 inches wide. An evil red blob of tomato-ness. The waitress, who had come up behind the runner to check on our table caught my look of horror and said "is everything alright?"
"NO. There is tomato on the plate. I can't eat this. Please take it back."
Under my breath I muttered to NAH that I would simply eat at home, that after a mistake like this I wasn't feeling comfortable enough to eat.
She insisted upon having a new plate made for me.
ME: "You don't understand how serious this is. I appreciate that this isn't your fault, but I need you to make sure that the fish and potato aren't simply rinsed off and put on a clean plate. I also need you to make sure that the tomato isn't simply removed from the plate and the plate wiped clean. If you want to re-do this, please please please make sure it's a clean plate and brand new piece of fish and potato."
The manager comes over--the waitress disappears (I assure you I wasn't making a scene). He was alerted by the runner that there had been a problem. "What can I do to make this better?" Waitress reappears. I wanted to crawl into the nearby fireplace. Appetite was long gone, to say the least.
ME: "Honestly? I would like the same meal with the reassurance that it is a clean plate, new piece of fish, and new potato. I don't need anything other than that, honest."
Waitress: "I just went back there and personally disposed of both the fish and the potato, and put the plate in the dish pile. They're currently cooking you a new fish and potato, and they'll be fired and out here in 10 minutes."
Damn, was I impressed.
10 minutes later, brand new dinner, sparkling clean plate, no traces of butter,oil, or evil blobs. And I believed her, and trusted them, and ate it with no anxiety, and it was delicious.
As I was eating, Mr. Manager reappeared, leaned into my ear, and said very quietly "the house would like to treat you to your next glass of wine as an apology for what happened, and please let me know if there is anything else we can do to turn this experience around for you."
WOW. And completely unnecessary.
ME: "That's very sweet, but there is no way I can have a second glass of wine, and you don't need to comp me anything. I just needed a safe meal. I really appreciate your attention to all of this."
Evil Blob. Happy Ending.

1 comment:

PK said...

I'm glad they took you seriously and cared about making it right. Treating each customer like he or she is the most important one takes a lot more effort (and therefore is rarely done), so I too appreciate when that happens.