Hungry and Cranky

I get cranky when I’m dieting.  I always have.  I probably always will.  I just hate that I can’t have what I want, when I want it.  But of course it was this thinking that caused me to get fat in the first place.  I try to be sensible throughout the day.  I eat a decent breakfast and I usually have a salad or something light for lunch.  My one “good” meal of the day is dinner.  I plan it out.  I put if off.  I wait as long as I can to have it because I know it’s the one that counts.  Therefore I want it to be just right.  Of course it needs to be within the guidelines of my diet, but it needs to be good and it needs to be enough food to sustain me till the next morning.

When I’m cooking myself I tend to do the same things over and over.  I fall into a rut and I just live there.  I don’t mind this and it works for me.  It takes the guess work out of figuring out exactly what I’m going to have.  I break this up by going out to dinner.  I’d known all night that Michelle (she got home today) and I were going out for dinner tonight.  I looked forward to eating something different and more tasty (I’m not a very good cook) than what I get at home.  Unfortunately Michelle pulled her back yesterday and so wanted to stay close to home.  That was okay with me…The Front Room down the street is delicious and they have a couple of dishes that I can eat on my diet.

I say a couple of dishes, because I don’t like seafood.  Salmon is the closest I get and I don’t eat that very often.  I had a bad experience with both fish and shell fish as a child and it’s stuck with me.  So when I go out to eat, I’m limited to the meat choices that are not fried, or breaded, or covered in other high fat/high carb ingredients.  At The Front Room, the one thing on their menu that works for me is the pork chop.  I’ve had it now the last ten times I’ve been there.  So tonight as we walked down the street, I had my heart set on anything, anything at all other than the pork chop.

So we get to the restaurant and are seated right away.  It’s not a great location, but it’s okay.  The waiter finally comes by and takes our drink order.  I noticed at the time he wasn’t very friendly but attributed it to the fact they were busy as usual.  Eventually our drinks come and we are told the specials.  At the Front Room, 99% of the specials are seafood.  I tend to tune out while they are being described.  Tonight though, the first special was lamb.  I love lamb, and I have not had it in a long time.  So immediately I knew what I was having for dinner.

A few minutes later the waiter comes back to take our order.  Michelle goes first and is quite easy.  It becomes my turn and I start.  I wanted the Caesar Salad to start and then the lamb.  However, instead of the polenta could I please have the grilled vegetables you serve with several of your other dishes.  You would have thought that I’d asked to have deep fried cat.  The waiter immediately got indignant and stuffy and announced that they do not do substitutions on specials.  It’s the chef’s desire that the meal be served as he intended it or to get something else.  I was told that I could get a side of grilled vegetable for $3.50, but that I must get the polenta as well.  I was sort of taken aback.  I’ve been in some of the nicest NYC restaurants and it’s generally understood that the restaurant is there to make you happy.  I wasn’t asking for anything that wasn’t on the menu, in fact I was asking for something that probably cost them about 35 cents to buy at the market.  I know this because the last time I got a side of grilled vegetables it was all carrot and potatoes with a few string beans for color.  And all of this was made far worse by the waiter being such an ass.

I said fine.  Skip the lamb.  I’ll have the pork chop.

And this is where they really got me.  I’m sorry, we are out of the pork chop tonight.  Well Fuck.  I didn’t say this, but I thought it.  What I did say, was fine.  Then I guess I’ll skip dinner here tonight.  At this point, I would have been perfectly happy to come home and grill a chicken breast and call it an evening.  Michelle looked at me and then the waiter and said, never mind then, I guess I won’t eat here either.   At this point the waiter brought us our check for our drinks and we left.  I asked to speak to the manager on the way out and she was about as helpful as a rock.  At no point were they apologetic nor did they try to appease the situation.  It really was a case of….”we are too busy to worry about the likes of you.”

And with that we left and went up the street two blocks to The Blue Spoon.  There we were treated like royalty.  We were told substitutions wouldn’t be a problem and we were told that they’d be happy to accommodate me in anyway they could.  As it turns out, I was able to find something on the menu that needed no substitutions and was delicious.

So the question I ask.  Did I over react by not just ordering something else.  Michelle was supportive, but she thought I over reacted a little.  I don’t know.  I know that as I said I get cranky when I’m dieting and it’s multiplied ten times over when I’m hungry AND I’m dieting.  I’m still a little pissed at how unreasonable they were.  I have a hard time believing that I’m the first person to come into their restaurant on a low carb diet that had requests of the kitchen.  As I said this wouldn’t work in New York.  Everyone I know is on some form of low carb diet.

Now I just have to decide if I’m ever going back.

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5 thoughts on “Hungry and Cranky

  1. ink2metal August 16, 2007 / 01:50

    you had every right to react the way you did! i am actual livid from reading about your experience. i used to own a small restaurant and catering business. and that would never have happened with us. the least the waiter could have done was go ask the chef/kitchen staff if they could make the substitution, especially for something as easy as grilled veggies instead of polenta.

    sometimes a restaurant cannot accommodate substitutions or other special requests because certain dishes have to be prepped prior to an order and cannot easily be changed, but there is a polite way to deliver that news to a customer. and it certainly isn’t the way that the waiter did it.

  2. Lemuel August 16, 2007 / 05:13

    You and Michelle were absolutely correct to react as you did!! The restaurant is not MickeyD’s. They are in business to serve the customer, not the other way around! You are right to have left. You are right to have spoken with the manager.

    I would have been tempted to have added (to the manager) that they have now not only lost two customers because they “were too busy”, but that they have lost others as well – that you intend(ed) to tell all your many friends about your experience and to dissuade them from going there. And you have you have. You have told us. And we will tell others.

  3. Mikell August 16, 2007 / 05:55

    Spot on. You weren’t asking to have the lamb cooked in a way that they weren’t offering, you were asking that a side dish be substituted.

    The waiter, the manager, and the restaurant as a whole are all wrong in this situation. I’m reminded of that 70’s shampoo commercial:

    … and I told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on…

  4. Kelly August 16, 2007 / 06:03

    what the hell is polenta?!?! I think you were right in what you did… I just think that if I were as hungry as you, I probably would not have had the balls to leave… but you were right…and I love the fact that your friend supported you… that is the best part of this whole story… think of the good out of this experience…

  5. Cincy Diva August 17, 2007 / 11:23

    You certainly did not over react! I hate when restaurants act like you are not worth their time. Now I know where not to eat if I ever make it to NYC

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