When I go to a restaurant I expect two things: good food, and good service.
I may be having someone else do the cooking so that I can enjoy something wonderful that they prepared, or I may be out because I'm celebrating something or just want some time away from the kitchen. You never know.
But last night, well, last night...
My dad died not quite 4 months ago, and yesterday would have been my parents 45th wedding anniversary. Mom has been handling things remarkably well, and it didn't seem like we should let the occasion pass without recognition. So I invited mom down to take her out for a meal she would enjoy.
Mom loves seafood, so I choose a popular seafood restaurant in town that seemed right up her alley. With a reputation for good fish and good service, I planned what I hoped would be an enjoyable evening for all of us.
I planned ahead (not something I usually do) and made a reservation very easily. We even bumped up the reservation a tiny bit earlier in the day with no issues at all. So far, so good.
After arriving on time, we were shown to our table and had a seat. I had heard the the prices were steep (and they were), but my husband and I have always been willing to pay for good food and a good night out, and I was hoping that it would be great for mom. That's all I wanted: Mom to have a great time.
Our server was irritated right off the bat, when we decided to skip the alcohol (8 bucks for a glass of Ecco Domani? No thanks, and mom doesn't drink). Without going into painful, irritatingly long detail (the food glued to the side of my glass, the server snatching it out of my hand without a word and all but stomping from the table, forgotten food, and so on) I'll just say that the service? Not what I'd hoped.
When I go to Black Hog, I know what I'm getting. Good food, friendly service, and a tasty meal. When I go to Nola, I also know what I'm getting: delicious coffee et al, and friendly service that's a tiny bit slow, but I'm prepared for that. Acacia or The Tasting Room? Usually primo service and food, which I love.
When I go to an expensive seafood restaurant, I want the server to be nice to us, and especially nice to my mom, and anything less, well, is unacceptable. I don't mind spending almost $300 for a meal on a special occasion, but I do expect that we'll be treated well. Because service can make or break the experience. And last night, it broke it. A special occasion, ruined, because someone had a bad day. I can forgive a dirty glass and forgotten food (hey, I've waitressed), but I can't forgive a brusque attitude and being made to feel like our table just didn't matter.
I sound a bit whiny - I know. A little petulant and maybe just irritating. Sorry 'bout that. But fancyish seafood restaurant? Never again. Great downtown Frederick restaurants? Yes please!
Even if your food is good, if you don't have good service, you don't really have anything.