Sunday, October 11, 2009

Apology Accepted

On Saturday night Brenden, Allison, Fred, Robin, Linzy and I went out to eat at Crave at the Mall of America. The evening had been in the plans for over a month, due to all of our busy schedules, and Linzy and I were looking forward to it.

We had made a reservation for 7pm, which turned out to be good because the restaurant was packed. After starting the wine that Fred and Robin brought, we ordered our meal and then waited for our starter salads. And waited, and then waited some more.

Eventually it got to the point where I was commenting to Fred and Linzy that I was starting to get worried that the salad would end up coming at the same time as my steak. Shortly after, however, our salads came and everything seemed OK again. We ate the salads and then waited for our main course. And waited, and then waited some more, and then waited even longer.

By this point the tables around us had been seated after us, eaten, left, and had the second round of guests well on their way through dinner. We started looking around trying to figure out what was going on. Our waitress was spending a lot of time checking over meals on the counter, and discussing something with the chefs. At the end of one of the conversations, she handed the chef a list which he grabbed and threw down on the counter in anger.

At that point the waitress talked to the manager, which was clearly not a good sign. The manager came over and explained that they had thought they lost our meal order, found it but had thrown away the food because it had sat too long, and had just figured all of this out. She was very apologetic and immediately offered up taking care of our entire meal including wine (which happened to be only a corking fee, but she didn't know), and desert.

While they were remaking the meal, the executive chef came out and apologized profusely, they brought two baskets of bread (which are extra cost) and brought everyone at the table another salad. In addition we ordered another bottle of wine.

Our dinners came eventually and were very good. My steak was perhaps not quite on par with Flemmings, but was certainly as good as Porterhouse in Lakeville. Then on top of two salads and bread, we all couldn't resist ordering deserts to share. I was extremely full, but it was a very tasty dinner.

None of us could believe that with no complaint, or suggestion they picked up our entire bill that probably ended up pushing $400. The consensus was that we would have expected free desert, or perhaps a discount or free bread baskets. But covering everything we had ordered plus allowing us to order more was more then anyone would have expected. It definitely took a situation where we would have been frustrated with the experience to one where all we could talk about was how well they treated us.

Which I suppose was the point, and probably something that a restaurant that is charging the prices they charge needs to do to maintain a reputation for service, but it was still a pleasant surprise. Overall it ended up to be a very enjoyable evening with friends, regardless of the fact that dinner took well over three hours.

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