So last night, my husband and I went to a restaurant for dinner. It's quite a ways away from where we live so we don't go there often, but we happened to be on that side of town last night. We've been there a few times before and while the food is good and the service is pretty even, I've noticed that there tends to be miscommunication issues with the waitstaff and the kitchen. Never has it been this bad, though!
The first thing I realised was that we would be in for a wait. This became clear when the waiter assured the couple at the table next to ours that their food would be out 'any minute now' three different times. I'd noticed the waiter take that couple's order when my husband and I arrived (the woman's pretty blouse caught my eye), which was almost half an hour before we were seated. A good fifteen minutes after my husband and I ordered, that couple's food made it to their table.
Okay, so the kitchen is backed up. No problem; the husband's been at a workshop and will certainly be able to pass the time telling me technical details of things I don't entirely understand (and so he did).
Roughly twenty minutes after we placed our order, the waiter came out to tell me that the item I'd ordered (a vegetarian chalupa with black beans and rice, no cilantro) was messed up and was going to be re-made since the chef had just noticed the 'NO cilantro' on the ticket and both the beans and rice contain cilantro (which the waiter did not know, nor was he able to tell me if the beans and rice contained meat products without asking the chef). Okay, mistakes happen; he offered to have them substitute vegetables and a side salad for the thing I couldn't have. No problem!
So we wait. Around another twenty minutes later, we're the only table left on the outdoor patio; it's a little after 9 PM now. The food arrives -- fantastic! I cut into my chalupa. The chef substituted for the black beans, all right. . .with beef. You'll notice I bolded the vegetarian bit further up? That's right. So the waiter takes it back.
Not long after, the chef emerges. He wants to know what the problem was. I'd substituted a side salad, right? Did I not want the salad? I explained that the problem was that I'd ordered a vegetarian meal and received beef. He acted as if I'd said nothing and repeated his question about the side salad. I repeated the real issue. He then walked away.
The manager appeared, and he did his best to fix things. Did I want another meal? Anything? After trying to communicate with the chef (and there was no language barrier) and getting the feeling that he was simply incapable of understanding the problem, I certainly didn't feel comfortable trying to play that game again. We asked for a box for my husband's food and the check. He brought us a box and said not to worry about the check. Now, it's almost half-past nine. I am hungry and irritated. The manager and waiter did their best to offer good service, but really -- there's no need to bend over backward to please a customer if you can just keep from screwing up their order in the first place.
I plan to email the restaurant today and let them know about the unhappy experience we had last night, but I really don't think I'll ever want to eat again at a place where the chef can't be bothered with the difference between grilled vegetables and beef.