John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

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Bad service

The weight loss plan I'm on discourages me from doing so, but some days it's impractical to not eat at a restaurant. Today was such a day. I had a Cathedral Choral Society rehearsal tonight, and thus I had no time to go home after work and fix dinner for myself. And I didn't have time last night to prepare a dinner to take with me. So a restaurant seemed like the best option.

Since my car was at the West Falls Church Metrorail station, I decided to have dinner at a place near there, the Broad Street Grill. Back when I was taking my MCSA course in Alexandria, I used to drive past it two to four times a week, and I'd always wanted to eat there. Why it caught my eye more than the dozens of other restaurants I passed just as often, I couldn't really say. Regardless, this was my chance.

The good news is that the food was very good. I had a tasty grilled chicken salad topped with diced tomatoes, uncooked snap beans, strawberries, and pecans. Sounds like an odd mix, but it was mighty fine. And the side order of mixed vegetables -- green beans, carrots, and yellow squash -- was delicious.

Unfortunately, the service was abysmal. There was no one at the greeter's stand when I came in, and it took a couple of minutes for the server to see me standing there. She forgot to put in the order for my side of veggies. And once she finally brought out the veggies, it was another 30 minutes at least before she came over to see how I was doing. I'm not saying I wanted her hanging over me the whole time, but would it have killed her to offer to refill my water?

But the worst part of the experience came when I asked for the check. Five minutes passed. She did not bring the check. Time was running short, and given her performance thus far I didn't want to contemplate how long it would take her to run a credit card, so I went to the bar to break a twenty. The bar was really crowded -- Happy Mardi Gras! -- so it took a couple of minutes. But when I returned to the table, the server still had not brought my check. When I saw her come around the corner from the bar area, I got up and intercepted her at the kitchen door. "A less honest person would have left without paying by now," I said.

She was very apologetic, and explained that she had only been on the job for three days. (Which isn't much of an excuse, in my opinion. On the other hand, it's not her fault that she was the only server on duty.) She turned to the computer console and brought up my check, which for some reason had several items on it that I had not ordered. She poked at the screen a few times, then, amazingly, left to help another customer who had come up to ask her a question. I happened to be standing next to a pass-through to the bar, so I stuck my head through it, got the attention of one of the bartenders, and pleaded with him to come help me get my check so I could pay. He did. I threw a couple of bills on the table and headed for the door. As I left, the bartender and the server were still standing in front of the computer terminal, going through a quick tutorial on how to use the damn thing.

I ended up getting to rehearsal on schedule, so in the long run I guess it wasn't that big a deal. Still, it was not a pleasant dining experience. I guess that's what I get for bending the rules of the program.

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