A dining disaster
(This letter was originally addressed to the general manager of the Silvertree Hotel.)Dear Editor:On the evening of Feb. 17, I went to your restaurant with my family, looking forward to a great steak dinner and a good bottle of wine. What transpired for the next hour was about a complete list of restaurant missteps as is possible to cram into a dining experience. Chronologically:1. The hostess looked us over and with great irritation said: “I can seat you, but you have to be done in 45 minutes.” (Sigh.) Perhaps my not leaving made me deserve what happened next.2. I ordered the 14-ounce strip steak (medium) with béarnaise, garlic potatoes, two grilled cheese sandwiches for the kids, and a bottle of a 2000 vintage French wine. 3. My server attempted to serve my dinner almost as soon as I had returned from the salad bar. I sent him away.4. My server brought me a bottle of the correct Chateaux and opened it. I noticed then it was not a 2000 vintage, but a 2001. When I asked about this and confirmed the listing on the wine list, the server said, “We reserve the right to substitute vintages.” Later in the evening, when I complained to the manager, he repeated the same thing, saying, “It really doesn’t matter – it’s on our wine list.” I asked him to show me – of course he couldn’t.5. I was served a grilled slice of ribeye (prime rib) and told that this was a stripsteak. When I pointed out that the difference was obvious, I was sullenly ignored.6. The barnaise sauce was broken and curdled.7. The vegetables were perfectly cooked – for a crudits plate, crispy and semiraw.8. My daughter tried to go out the fire exit onto the balcony to see the fireworks and was told it “was locked.”9. I was not offered dessert or coffee – just the bill (45 minutes were up).I recognize on occasion things happen, but locked fire doors and fraudulently representing vintages are both illegal. I hope that this generates some changes in the operations of what appears to be a commercial success.Morgan de MarignySan Antonio, Texas
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