Monday, March 11, 2013

Striking Out, More Bad Restaurant Experiences

A couple of months ago, I wrote about how my friend and I fled a popular downtown Jerusalem restaurant because their soup was inedible.  She couldn't stand the pepper and I was in pain from the salt.  That's a short time after they had served me soup that was dangerously past its prime.  After my complaints, they stopped serving it.

That friend and I then met again.  She told me of a new restaurant she had really liked.  It sounded good.  They had on display a sample meal which included fish, salad and chips.  There were two different prices, ns35 and ns39, if I remember correctly.  I asked for the cheaper one and requested salad instead of chips.  The waitress said "no problem."  Portions were rather skimpy, and I still felt hungry when I finished, but that wasn't the big problem.  The big problem was that they wanted me to pay ns42 for the meal.  I got angry and told them that I had made it very clear that I had ordered the ns35 meal.
"But you had a side order of salad."
"That was no side order of salad, and you never told me that I'd be charged extra for replacing the chips with salad.  I never would have ordered food here if I had known that."
The boss came out and asked what happened.  I told him.  He asked me what I was willing to pay.
"Thirty-five shekels, which is what I was told when I had ordered."

And I also told them that I'd write about this awful experience, which I'm doing right now.  My friend liked the place and begged me not to use its name.  So, that's it.  I hope they've learned their lesson.  Maybe people who eat the chips find the more satisfying, but I consider it a very skimpy meal.

And another unpleasant restaurant experience with the same friend.  I guess it's good that we won't be eating out together for a bit.  She introduced me to a nice salad place, with good prices.  Actually, the food was good, too.  There's just no place to comfortably eat there.  The big problem was completely different.  Everyone who eats out with me knows that I photograph the food and then I blog about it.  What I started taking pictures the staff went ballistic. 
"No pictures!!!"
"But I want to give you free publicity.  I'm planning on writing only wonderful things."
"No, our boss doesn't allow it.  You have to contact him for permission."
Oy, I'm not doing well in the restaurant reviewing "business."  I wish I could get some invitations from the restaurants which would include free meals, like the Jerusalem Post writers get.


Varda Meyers Epstein said...

I had an experience like yours only recently. During the big snow in Gush Etzion, I got a message that I had won a free steak dinner at a restaurant in Jerusalem. I had liked and shared a page for that purpose. But I never thought I'd actually WIN. I was so excited! I had never ever won anything.

We couldn't go for awhile, because only my meal was free, and steak dinners are expensive. Finally, my husband and I go and they tell us that only the cheaper meal of our two meals is free.

I complained, "I won a free meal. What if I had come with no partner? That's not fair."

But I couldn't move them. I ordered the cheapest steak on the menu. It was cold, tough, and disgusting.

When we finished eating, the proprietor told me that our meals (both of them) were free, he'd just wanted to make sure I wouldn't exploit him by ordering the most expensive thing on the menu.

I let him know I'm a food blogger and that I could really make him look bad, but that I would give him a break because I see the place is new and has promise.

I can't figure out why I was so nice about it. It was a really lousy night out.

goyisherebbe said...

We never go to restaurants. My wife likes her cooking better than restaurants and it's hardly worth the trouble to go out. Restaurants are one of those things that are really an illusion. If you are already on the road and haven't brought or can't bring food with you, you have to settle for what there is that you can eat. But I find it hard to relate anymore to people who make eating out a regular pastime.

Batya said...

Varda, you should have blogged the truth about it. I am sorry I gave in to my friend about not mentioning the name of the place, but I figue anyone in the know will know.
goyish, Winkie and I almost never eat out together. I can't remember the last time. And when we do it's at HaGov, which is our son's.

Jennifer in MamaLand said...

We took your advice seriously but were feeling more lenient about the carb-heavy menu. The fish we got was really tasty, but they wouldn't let us switch the side order at ALL (I admit, I was "testing" a bit based on your experience). Eventually they caved and put gravy on the fries (I wanted to substitute poutine, but they said no way, we'd have to order it on the side - along with the fries that came with our meals!).
In any event, for us it was a splurge in every way. If I lived there, I'd expect better, and for sure they need to work out the kinks and find a bit more flexibility if they want to stay in business long-term.

Batya said...

Jennifer, I was curious about how it went. At their prices, they won't last unless they use cheaper salad stuff and increase portions. With the very filling lunch specials in almost every restaurant downtown Jerusalem, they are expensive except for the lightest eaters.