Restaurant Follies

I know a lot of restaurants are closed on Mondays.  It makes sense, they had a busy weekend and even they need a day off, and I would assume that Monday is the least busiest day of the week, especially after a holiday like Easter/Passover, which, like any holiday is a lot of eating.

Ironically, Easter came so late this year, my birthday was actually the day after.  I can’t ever recall that happening as long as I could remember.  I always keep a mental list of new and interesting restaurants I want to visit. Something I honestly say I have not tried is Peruvian food.  Sure, I have had rice, beans, fresh seafood and I am sure I had it in one form or another, but to have a restaurant strictly dedicated to Peruvian food is unique and the online menu looked interesting.  I passed by it on Easter Sunday because I was in the area and saw they were even open then.  So, as their website advertises, they are closed Monday but open Tuesday-Sunday.  Today I called there five times (just to see if they had a liquor license) and no one answered.  So, I left a message.  No answer not 3 hours later.   Their website via OpenTable said there were no 5pm reservations available, the earliest was 7pm.  So, I went by there since I had business in the area, and I see a sign on the window saying they were closed today and would reopen tomorrow.  Let’s see if I get a call, if for no other reason, its good customer relations.

A friend/food critic has suggested an Italian restaurant.   The menu and their online video looked good, and though I’ve had every imaginable Italian dish a dozen different ways, I figure, why not?  So, I call them and ask them what time they open for dinner, they say 5pm.  I said fine, I will be there at 5 with my brother, party of two.  She asked if I’d like to make a reservation.  I said sure, party of 2, 5pm. She asked for my name, I said Cris, she said what is your last name, I said Cris, she asked my first name, I said, again Cris.  I think thats sufficient information for a 5pm reservation on a Tuesday night just after a major holiday?  How many table could have been filled/taken?  Its a suburban neighborhood, not Manhattan.  She explained that she needs a first name, a last name, a phone number in order for her to make the reservation.  I politely said no thank you and said have a nice day.  Last time I checked, most restaurants were going out of business, in fact, most businesses are going out of business and I really don’t know how many restaurants are jam packed at 5pm on a Tuesday after Easter.  Again, if it was Manhattan and the hottest new restaurant by a celebrity signature chef, I might understand, but then again, you would not catch me eating at those places at those prices, not in this economy. What baffles me is instead of having 9 open tables, now she had 10, all because she could not put my name in the first and last name slot in the computer and enter any old phone number.  I shouldn’t need to fill out an application to spend my money on quite possibly the slowest restaurant days of the year.   She was not thinking, I was impatient and quite frankly, if they want to act like a Manhattan restaurant and charge the same prices though they are paying less than half the rent (and this is not the prettiest location and/or part of town), then hire someone with enough common sense and don’t make it a struggle.  I knew that even once I entered a place like this, their attitude was they were doing me a favor by letting me in.  No thank you.

I won’t mention these 2 places by name, or their locations, but the one place that was closed I will give another chance.  The Italian restaurant I won’t even think to try.  With a minimum of 5-10 Italian restaurants within a square mile, I will take my chances elsewhere.

Soup or salad as an appetizer $15?  Pasta at $30 a dish?  It had better contain some fancy protein like lobster, filet mignon or even shaved truffles or dabs of caviar, but it was not the case here from what I see on the menu.  $8 for a side dish?  Really? I have to spend $8 for half a serving size of vegetables?  Last time I spent that kind of money it was at a well known celebrity-chef celebrated restaurant.  Yes, it was worth it, but only because the meal was memorable, and even then I had some issues (like them using bottom shelf brands for cocktails and charging $15 for each one).  I have no problem spending money, in fact, its quite the opposite.  I understand very well the cost of staff, rent, location and not all of that $8 is going to pay for a few ounces of blanched greens.  However, I don’t feel the need to pay those prices and not be welcomed with open arms or a host that is anything less than being just as what they call themselves, a host.

So where did we eat?  I will save that for the next entry as I don’t wish to muddy the name of a place that has been reputable, fair, very friendly and a sure bet for over 25 years or more.

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