I've talked before about service in restaurants. I have come to consider good service as my own personal bellwether of a good restaurant experience. Obviously, good food SHOULD be a given. It IS supposedly being prepared by PROFESSIONALS, after all. So why should we expect less in the dining room where PROFESSIONALS should work too?
With all that in mind, you simply are not going to believe where I’m about to tell you is the place where we had the best service in months. In fact, I don’t really believe it myself. It was none other than here!
Months ago, I had had an indifferent lunch there (particularly in the service department) and another time not great take-out, but this was the first time H and I had gone for dinner.
We got there a little before 10 pm and they were packed. Luckily, there were seats at the bar, so I could start knocking back a few before we were seated. (Just kidding, I have about a 7 ½ oz. capacity). The strict instructions I gave for my Cosmo were followed perfectly...just kidding about that too. You could give me a mix from Wal-Mart and I’d be happy. Okay, that’s not true. I do prefer mine with Absolut Citron, which my trendy daughter tells me is NOT the vodka of choice in this decade, but I don’t care, I like it.
Anyway, our buzzer went off and we were seated when we told we were going to be. Our server, Alaina, was quickly at our side with a spiel about the condiments. Frankly, I don’t really care that it was a canned speech. She was THERE, and even asked if there were any food allergies or preferences that they should be aware of. (I didn’t go into my food peccadilloes. We had only JUST been introduced.) Shortly after, the starters were brought - spring rolls (which were a bit greasy but very flavorful and HOT, in temperature) - Alaina came back to check on us.
After the entrees were served, she inquired if we needed new drinks…I didn’t NEED one, and I wouldn’t have ordered one if she hadn’t asked, but since she did…
I don't know what it was. She came around when she was supposed to. There was absolutely no extraneous conversation (except by me, at the end) and she knew what she was doing. AND she didn't disappear for 20 minutes during the meal.
At the end of the night, I told her the service had been wonderful and I asked her about her training. The fact that there actually WAS training was a good thing. She told us that they have to train for 2 weeks, before actually waiting on a table. They have to taste every dish and, obviously, they are given a script, but it all worked perfectly.
I was amazed at how the service at this chain restaurant could surpass our appalling experience at Senderens in Paris, or even dinner at a fancy (and expensive) local restaurant when the server NEVER came back to us when one dish was totally unsatisfactory. Anyway, kudos to Alaina, and to all who trained her. She and they did a really good job.
PS The food wasn’t bad either. Good spring rolls; Chicken with Potatoes (odd combo, didn’t really need the potatoes); Ma Po Tofu was super and it was served with brown rice, as requested.