Jump to content


Photo

Bitchin' to the Kitchen


  • Please log in to reply
24 replies to this topic

#1 ariel88

ariel88
  • Members
  • 1,119 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Pearl District

Posted 13 November 2012 - 08:48 AM

Hands down the worst steak I've ever had in Portland. Weird textured meat, supposedly bavette but not like any bavette I've ever had. And even worse cook job. Not one bit of char or sear on that sad thing. Damn good fries though.

Did you say anything to them?

#2 sacman

sacman
  • Moderator
  • 684 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Gladstone, OR
  • Interests:FOOD

Posted 13 November 2012 - 09:14 AM

No.

-sacman
- I am an employee of a Portland-based firm that has business relationships with several local food-related businesses.

#3 jennifer

jennifer
  • Moderator
  • 3,262 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Beaverton

Posted 13 November 2012 - 10:02 AM

I will usually say something if I order steak rare and it comes out anything more well done than medium. But I didn't figure saying something would fix anything in this case because 1) the texture of the meat was odd and 2) there wasn't a lot of skill in cooking it. I didn't figure either of those things could be fixed. Is it fair for me to not say anything then mention it here? Maybe, maybe not. This is a forum where we report our experiences. So that's what I did.

Last time I "complained" at DST was about a year ago over 2 desserts that sucked harder than that steak yesterday. I think that convo is up thread somewhere. Their answer to me on the almost-all-melted ice cream was that the salt in the salted caramel flavor melts the ice cream faster, so that's why it's almost melted and pooled all over the plate. Umm, okay. Next.

#4 ariel88

ariel88
  • Members
  • 1,119 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Pearl District

Posted 13 November 2012 - 10:31 AM

Is it fair for me to not say anything then mention it here? Maybe, maybe not. This is a forum where we report our experiences. So that's what I did.

I'm not knocking on you for posting your experience. I was just curious whether you said anything to them about the steak, since "Hands down the worst steak I've ever had in Portland" is a pretty strong descriptor. :)

#5 Quo Vadis

Quo Vadis
  • Members
  • 1,854 posts
  • Location:413 NW21st
  • Interests:You live to serve this ship<br />So serve well, and live<br />-Ben Hur

Posted 13 November 2012 - 10:55 AM


Is it fair for me to not say anything then mention it here? Maybe, maybe not. This is a forum where we report our experiences. So that's what I did.

I'm not knocking on you for posting your experience. I was just curious whether you said anything to them about the steak, since "Hands down the worst steak I've ever had in Portland" is a pretty strong descriptor. :)


Even when a bad report is posted it is nice to know whether a complaint was made and if so how the complaint was handled.
Methinks I am like a man, who having struck on many shoals, and having narrowly escap'd shipwreck in passing a small frith, has yet the temerity to put out to sea in the same leaky weather-beaten vessel, and even carries his ambition so far as to think of compassing the globe under these disadvantageous circumstances-Hume

#6 loki

loki
  • Members
  • 90 posts

Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:04 AM

I am always interested to hear how complaints are handled. From Pata Negra to Paley's Place one can often see the true colors of a restaurant by how they handle complaints. Should be it's own thread!

#7 Angelhair

Angelhair
  • Moderator
  • 7,658 posts
  • Location:downtown
  • Interests:film, cooking, literature

Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:21 AM

Wherein we discuss what to do when presented with a bad situation.

#8 Angelhair

Angelhair
  • Moderator
  • 7,658 posts
  • Location:downtown
  • Interests:film, cooking, literature

Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:33 AM

I am always interested to hear how complaints are handled. From Pata Negra to Paley's Place one can often see the true colors of a restaurant by how they handle complaints. Should be it's own thread!


I almost never send anything back any more. Instead I seethe for a while and then post hateful things on the internet.

Almost every time I've send something back, I get that look from a server. You know, the eye-roll and the long exhale. Sometimes the server would bitch back, "that's the way it comes". Or I would send it back and then not receive a new plate until everyone else was done with their meal. I hate to be 'that person'. It ruins a meal worse than bad food. To tell you the truth, servers ASK if everything's OK, but most of the time they don't want to make it right if it isn't.

So now, I just don't eat it. If the server says something like, "was something wrong?" Then maybe I tell them. But often times, no, I just never return and bad mouth you to everyone I know.

The bottom line is this, chefs, it's your fucking kitchen. You know what you sent out. And if you don't, well, then you deserve to have an empty dining room.

#9 Angelhair

Angelhair
  • Moderator
  • 7,658 posts
  • Location:downtown
  • Interests:film, cooking, literature

Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:50 AM

Ha! A friend who read this just sent me a text, "How can a place make something right if you don't point it out when something is wrong?!"

My reply? They had a chance to make it right the first time!

#10 Quo Vadis

Quo Vadis
  • Members
  • 1,854 posts
  • Location:413 NW21st
  • Interests:You live to serve this ship<br />So serve well, and live<br />-Ben Hur

Posted 13 November 2012 - 12:42 PM

So now, I just don't eat it. If the server says something like, "was something wrong?" Then maybe I tell them. But often times, no, I just never return and bad mouth you to everyone I know.

The bottom line is this, chefs, it's your fucking kitchen. You know what you sent out. And if you don't, well, then you deserve to have an empty dining room.


There are things that are a bit difficult to know, no matter how attentive one is.
For example, you can make it a policy to taste a dish frequently but you can't literally take a bite of every thing that goes on every plate.
Every get a bag of pistachios with a couple random rancid nuts in it?
Or a pack of steaks where one steak is oddly flavorless?
Or a pack of sausages where one piece has a strange, appetite destroying piece of gristle in it?
....I could go on....

It sounds like you are demanding a level of perfection that is unrealistic to ask of anyone.

Have you never, despite the best of intentions, caused offense to someone? Would you not want that person to let you know and give you a chance to make it right before they go to all your other friends telling exaggerated stories of what a dirtbag you are? For a thing you may well be unaware of?
Methinks I am like a man, who having struck on many shoals, and having narrowly escap'd shipwreck in passing a small frith, has yet the temerity to put out to sea in the same leaky weather-beaten vessel, and even carries his ambition so far as to think of compassing the globe under these disadvantageous circumstances-Hume

#11 TastyTidbits1

TastyTidbits1
  • Members
  • 445 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Outer Lents/Mt. Scott

Posted 13 November 2012 - 01:54 PM

Their answer to me on the almost-all-melted ice cream was that the salt in the salted caramel flavor melts the ice cream faster, so that's why it's almost melted and pooled all over the plate. Umm, okay. Next.

They should have passed it off as a drinking custard ;)

#12 nervousxtian

nervousxtian
  • Members
  • 2,127 posts

Posted 13 November 2012 - 02:36 PM

I don't want to speak for Angelhair, but if someone served me that steak then I might be her boat.

If something just has an off taste, but looks executed by something is wrong, say burnt, bitter, etc.. I'll speak up.. but just horrible execution? Not worth my time.. someone sent that steak out knowing it was crap.

#13 ExtraMSG

ExtraMSG
  • Admin
  • 18,340 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Felony Flats
  • Interests:Me like food.

Posted 13 November 2012 - 03:53 PM

It's not an easy issue. I think it takes effort on both the part of the restaurant and the diner. I think you can get a sense for whether a server is truly interested in how your meal or food is and whether they're just checking in as part of their routine, more a matter of seeing if they can sell you another drink or dessert. Good servers will check in soon after you've tasted your food to make sure it's okay and it will come across as an earnest question. If you don't eat something or eat only a small portion of something, a good server will ask you specifically about that item. It's a matter of training and a matter of professionalism. It can be difficult as a restaurateur or chef to make sure it's happening, though. I don't worry about Pablo checking in with people and being aware of their plates, but Christian, eg, is still young and relatively inexperienced. So we advise him on how to approach customers, to look at their food, to look into each of the customer's eyes when he asks about their food and wait for an answer, and not be settled with a "yeah, it was okay" and no eye contact. But it's hard to monitor. The server also has to put the customer at ease when they ask so the customer feels like they can give an honest answer. I will often let the customer know immediately that if they didn't like something I will gladly swap it out and that if they didn't want to do that that the next time they come in that they can taste things ahead of time and swap them out if they don't like them. I think it just creates a safer environment for honest feedback.

Customers need to be honest and specific, though, too. "Just didn't wow me" doesn't mean much and it's not something that can be corrected for. One of the problems is that most customers don't understand or can't verbalize what exactly they don't like. To me, that's the main reason why most people make bad critics. It's not so much their taste, but their ability to explain why they do or don't like something. The other part is context. A lot of people -- and this includes foodies -- have a hard time distinguishing between their prejudices and more general standards. They don't understand the difference between being picky and particular -- ie, the difference between thinking something is good based on the quality of the cooking, the ingredients, the seasoning, how well it conforms to a tradition, and thinking something is good because it conforms to a very specific idea of what it should be, usually based on limited experience. The most prevalent example is something like ketchup. People might think a homemade version "isn't ketchup" or "tastes wrong" just because they have such a particular idea of what ketchup should be. I find this happens a lot with ethnic cuisines, too, because what you get in the United States is so often very uniform renditions, whereas in the home countries, each town and each family in that town, have the way they make the dish. The tradition is much broader than what you get here.

I generally won't complain or send something back if it seems to be an issue of conception or taste. If it's my taste, I will eat it and I feel like I took the risk and don't hold it against the restaurant if I paid for something I didn't like. I'm an adventurous diner and I'm fine with that. If it's conception, I will hold it against them, but there's not really anything that can be done about it. In some cases, say if a chef or owner talks to me about it, I will discuss my issues with the dish. It's not really appropriate conversation with a server, I don't think. If it's execution -- such as steak or burger being cooked incorrectly, or something being waaay salty, I think that's the most appropriate time to complain and I think out of courtesy an egregious error should be mentioned and they should be allowed to rectify it, either by replacing it or comping it. As QV points out, you can't be on top of everything and sometimes you just aren't going to know or you just fuck up.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#14 Angelhair

Angelhair
  • Moderator
  • 7,658 posts
  • Location:downtown
  • Interests:film, cooking, literature

Posted 13 November 2012 - 04:14 PM

A lot of people -- and this includes foodies -- have a hard time distinguishing between their prejudices and more general standards. They don't understand the difference between being picky and particular -- ie, the difference between thinking something is good based on the quality of the cooking, the ingredients, the seasoning, how well it conforms to a tradition, and thinking something is good because it conforms to a very specific idea of what it should be, usually based on limited experience.


Once at our first time at a place, we ordered tons. Several apps and three entrees. Two of the apps were barely touched and we ate all of the entrees. I can't remember what the second app was, now, but the first was the case of an overcooked egg, where a runnier one should be. It was clear from looking at the plate that that's what happened. Anyway, the server, who never checked in on us because it was busy, asked if everything was OK (and she gestured to the untouched food). I said something like, the egg was overcooked on this one and this one was just a terrible concept. She apologized, and then came back with a check where just the egg dish had been removed.

But enough was bad about that place (regardless of my 'limited experience') that we've never been back. There's only so much time and money. Why throw good after bad?

#15 Angelhair

Angelhair
  • Moderator
  • 7,658 posts
  • Location:downtown
  • Interests:film, cooking, literature

Posted 13 November 2012 - 04:34 PM

It sounds like you are demanding a level of perfection that is unrealistic to ask of anyone.

Have you never, despite the best of intentions, caused offense to someone? Would you not want that person to let you know and give you a chance to make it right before they go to all your other friends telling exaggerated stories of what a dirtbag you are? For a thing you may well be unaware of?


I'm exaggerating when I say that I badmouth every bad experience on the internet! I know the amount of sweat and money it takes to make a place work. But do I tell my friends about a bad experience? Hell yes! Do I return? Maybe. Depends on what friends' experiences have been like.

But in this day and age, where every customer is a few clicks away from being a Yelper, it's in a kitchen's best interest to be on top of what they send out.

#16 StMaximo

StMaximo
  • Members
  • 2,700 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NE PDX

Posted 13 November 2012 - 04:43 PM

There is a difference between okay and eating some of it or even all of it and being disgruntled and leaving it virtually untouched, having a server that's indifferent and never coming back to a place etc. I don't think it's about having unrealistic expectations of perfection, unless you're at Per Se, Le Bernardin or Tanuki ;)

A good server notices, makes it right, gets a larger tip and gets the return customer. Some places give you the choice of making it right and being comfortable doing it other places make we want to do just as Angelhair described.

And yes I have in spite of my best intentions caused offense to someone. Too often unfortunately. I do appreciate the opportunity to make it right and try to give folks the same opportunity.

It's good to see a discussion like this with both the customer, owners and chefs contributing.

#17 ExtraMSG

ExtraMSG
  • Admin
  • 18,340 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Felony Flats
  • Interests:Me like food.

Posted 13 November 2012 - 05:25 PM

There's only so much time and money. Why throw good after bad?


Limited time and money sure, but probably enough to go back to most places if there's reason to. ;)

I think it's also important to recognize that taste develops. The first time that I had Indian food, I found the spicing jarring an unpalatable. I found Vietnamese totally bland and boring by comparison to Thai food, which I started enjoying first. I hated mole the first time I had it. I have a hard time believing most people "enjoy" an IPA their first time.

If I had never tried mole again, how much more empty (of long hours for little pay) would my life be?

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#18 Quo Vadis

Quo Vadis
  • Members
  • 1,854 posts
  • Location:413 NW21st
  • Interests:You live to serve this ship<br />So serve well, and live<br />-Ben Hur

Posted 13 November 2012 - 06:24 PM

But in this day and age, where every customer is a few clicks away from being a Yelper, it's in a kitchen's best interest to be on top of what they send out.


It's kust that you seem to take it very seriously and personally
like this:
"The bottom line is this, chefs, it's your fucking kitchen. You know what you sent out. And if you don't, well, then you deserve to have an empty dining room."

Saturday I happened to notice 3 plates of shishitos come back almost full (I am the only cook and also the dishwasher)
No one at the tables complained or offered any information when the waiters asked.
I tasted a couple. A couple were good (I always check my food) but a couple were horribly inedibly bitter.
There was NO WAY I could have known. I check the peppers but can't take a nibble of every single one. It was apparently a bad batch that had many bitter ones in it.
I caught it in time and had the servers take them off the tables' checks.
But I really wish the tables had said something.

And I would hate to think someone thinks I deserve to go out of business because of it.
Methinks I am like a man, who having struck on many shoals, and having narrowly escap'd shipwreck in passing a small frith, has yet the temerity to put out to sea in the same leaky weather-beaten vessel, and even carries his ambition so far as to think of compassing the globe under these disadvantageous circumstances-Hume

#19 nervousxtian

nervousxtian
  • Members
  • 2,127 posts

Posted 13 November 2012 - 06:57 PM

QV,

I would have said something in that case, but there is a difference between something you couldn't know and something you shouldknow.. as is the case of the steak that started this debate.

#20 Flynn

Flynn
  • Secondary Admin
  • 3,679 posts
  • Location:SW Portland

Posted 13 November 2012 - 07:42 PM

It's pretty infrequent that I send something back or need to have a big 'ol discussion with the server. But I think it's helpful to know what you want as a remedy when you bring it up. Removed from the check? A redone dish of the same type? Something else? I think servers get frustrated trying to guess how you'd like to make things right.

If I don't want my compatriots to watch me eat, I'll sometimes just ask for a whiskey or glass of wine.