April 4th, 2007

boom

I Learned my Lesson

First of all, let me preface by pointing out that despite what others may say, I am one to provide a person or business one or two chances to proove themselves to me. I will accept one error from a business, depending on how they respond to that error when it's pointed out to me. If a second error is very obviously a problem of an employee rather than the management, I'll give them another chance. But thereafter, I am unlikely to give them any more chances.

Izzy's, a small Northwestern Pizza/Buffet joint, has had their last chance, after the second strike.

I'd heard they weren't one of the better buffet restaurants, but they were close to where I lived, fairly priced, and my husband loves pizza, which they serve on their buffet. Plus, he'd eaten there a few times and seemed content.

On my first visit I was a bit dissapointed with their selection, but was willing to live with it. When I went to get my dessert, tapioca pudding, I found my first problem.

The pudding was sour. The dessert table isn't refrigerated, they serve both hot and chilled foods on the same station. The tapioca, which isn't usually a very popular dessert (in my experience) was one that usually is sold in tubs at the grocery store, had spoiled.

I pointed out the problem to our floor/wait person and she apologised and said she'd have it taken care of right away. As we left I was surprised but pleased to find that in compensation they comp'd my entire meal. Score one for Izzy's. I'd return.

This last Sunday, however, they had their second strike and utterly blew it.

I should note that this is the restaurant in Everett. Apparently these are privately-owned franchizes, so possibly reporting one shouldn't reflect on all. Caveat emptor.

My husband and I attended a late dinner with a coupon. On their hot food table they were offering fish and sirloin cuts, but when my husband and I tried to get portions, they were out of one or the other. Finally, my husband stood at the table for five or ten minutes so he could immediately get a portion of both when it was served. I wanted the fish, he'd really wanted the sirloin.

When they finally got the servings out, he snagged what we wanted, one portion of fish for me, one slice of sirloin for himself, he returned to our table. He served the fish to me and at the same time I noticed his slice of sirloin, compared to the slices I'd already managed to get (they were always out when he went up), was very rare-looking. Then I looked at the fish on my plate.

It SEEMED to be salmon, but there was something wrong with the color. It wasn't quite that cooked-salmon pink color. I took a bite, and confirmed that it was salmon... but to my horror discovered that the interior, save for a thin "skin", was RAW.

I hadn't expected sushi.

I pointed out the problem to a floor/waitperson, who apologised, took the portion away and said she'd bring me a fully cooked portion as soon as possible.

In the meantime my husband gradually got to his piece of sirloin... to discover it wasn't just RARE, it was TRUE BLUE/RAW in the center!

This was just too much. Ther waitperson brought me my salmon portion, fully cooked, but by this time my appetite had left. My husband and I decided that it was time to leave.

I went out to the car while my husband paid our bill, intent on speaking to the manager about this unacceptable and risky quality of the food. He exited in disgust. Apparently upon hearing his complaint the manager passed it off with an "Oh well" attitude, and hadn't apologized.

Grr.

I shall never go back to that restaurant.

I let my temper settle for a couple of days, and then contacted the corporate office via their website. I did get an apology and a promise that the owner/manager of the store would be contacted. I also, however, reported the matter to the Health Department, since I KNOW meats are not supposed to be served unless they are at a particular temperature.

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of confidence about the Health Department doing anything about this, as the guy I spoke to pointed out that the restaurant would simply claim the food was served "rare". I pointed out no, it was RAW. They said they would look into it, but didn't ask for any of my info... which I'm not sure if that's typical.

I've also contacted my local news agency, suggesting a general investigation into safe food handling practices at buffets...
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