I dined at a formerly favorite restaurant and had a meal that was so
outrageous it would make a funny documentary.
We arrived and they had our reservation. There were only two other
tables filled in this lovely upscale restaurant.
I choose the 7 course degustation menu. After an elaborate (it seemed
like a 15 minute lesson) explanation of the menu choices. I finally
The head waiter came by and explained they served an unsalted butter
from France. It was beautifully presented on a square glass crystal
Then he offered to "salt" our butter to our specifications with "FLEUR DE SEL".
I was so impressed as I watched him carely grind the special salt on
our butter square.
My second course was a peppery puck that tasted like cardboard. I
could not discern any other ingeredient besides pepper. When the
server noticed I had only taken one bite, he asked if I was enjoying
my mysterious pepper puck. I said that although it may have been well
prepared, it was just too peppery for my taste.
He replied that a lot of the diners felt that way.
(shouldn't he tell the chef--not me?)
By the third course my companion asked what I thought we were supposed
to do with the butter? I teasingly said dunk our fingers in and then
After the third course, the girl who was busing tables came over and
asked if we would like more bread. MORE BREAD? We had never even
THE SECRET INGREDIENT
My fourth course was a corn risotto with pancetta. It seemed to have a
smokey, off taste. When I found a piece of plastic in the dish, I put
it on my bread plate and gave it to the buss girl. I suggested she
give it to the chef so that none of the other diners would get that
No one apologized. No one offered to replace the dish or bring me
The meal just continued.
My dinning companion said--it is a shame they are already comping us
because we really deserve to be comped for this meal. My meal alone
was $125 without wine.
After more courses and a not very exciting dessert--when I leave a
chocolate dessert it is definately below par--
The waiter brought a check. Without opening it, I said, " I would like to put a tip for you on American Express."
He then asked me how I would like to pay the rest of the bill. The bill was close to $300 without tip
I explained that we had been invited to be guests by the Public Relations person.
They said no one had told them.
I suggested they check.
After about 20 minutes of wandering around, they finally came back and
said we were right--the meal was supposed to be comped.
I again told the server I would like to leave a tip on my American Express.
He replied, No, Mam, you can't tip us. We don't deserve it.
It was the first thing I think he did right.