Monday, August 5, 2013

Sometimes you find a little SaranWrap in your food

Last nite my lovely fiance and myself met some friends for a catch-up meal at a pretty decent restaurant. Here in NYC it is Restaurant Week(month), and being budget conscious right now, we chose the RW Menu. It was a solid menu, quite tasty and prepared nicely and then we got dessert. 

I have worked in spots that do RW. It is always the same story "how do we give a taste of the place with out breaking our food costs?". You want to put your best foot forward. You want it to still feel like your food. The problem is that RW brings people in DROVES for a cheap(er) meal from a place you may not spring for on a normal day or nite. So what ends up happening is what I call "pre-plating", no idea if there is a word for it or not. 

Let's say you have an ice cream desert. Covered in a bunch of garnish and such. If you are a really busy place you MAY have someone in the walking freezer pre scooping ice cream balls and putting plastic wrap around them so your line cook can move a LITTLE bit fast during service. The problem is that when you move that fast, or are too lazy, you don't check before you plate. The plastic gets buried under marshmallow and praline aaaaaand voila you are chewing on plastic.

That being said, it has happened to ALMOST everyone. Dumb mistake but it happens. You want your food fast and they want to get you your food fast. No one would do it maliciously and I think that is the mindset you have to go into the next conversation with.

The moment you tell the server that there is a foreign object in your food one of 2 things will happen. He will either look at you like you are crazy or he will scurry to the kitchen to tell the kitchen that they screwed up. The first option is really frustrating but some people do so crazy things to get a free meal. I once had a woman, during RW, put a BRAND NEW dry wall screw in her food to try to get it for free. How did I know? IT WAS COMPLETELY CLEAN. Anyway, they see a lot of crap or mistakes all day and you are just another person they have to make happy. Not your fault, I know, but that might be it. The second option is what I think people are looking for. Yes Sir/Ma'am and run off to the kitchen to get you something new to eat, sans foreign object.

I was so pleasantly surprised how well it was handled. I was the only one at the table not freaking out or even thinking about demanding anything. As I pulled the wrap out of my mouth I thought about every way that it could have gotten there and by the time I put it on my plate I came to the conclusion it was an easy mistake. The rest of the table was outraged to a certain point and demanded I say something. I called our pretty good server over and broke the news. He was responsive and fast. Whisked the plate away and sent the manager over to make their case. He was great as well. I didn't ask for anything but they comped our pre appetizers and to me that was too much. Maybe one of them but not both. Thank you, it was very nice, but I know your bottom line and I already feel like crap that some line cook is getting his ass handed to him.

What am I trying to get at? Think about it for a second before you rage at the kitchen. Sometimes you don't find a pin bone in a fish, it does not make your meal inedible. There shouldn't be anything foreign in your food but no one is doing that to you on purpose....promise. Go out, Go Eat, Be Nice!

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