Avoid Mexican Radio Like The Plague!
- Bill Bock
I just came across Alex's Downhill Alert of November 13th, and it reminded me of my own unpleasant experience at M.R., which I will share for the benefit of the Chowhound public: During the summer of 1999, a friend and I were a regular Sunday night fixture at M.R. (back when they were on Mulberry Street) - we always sat at the bar, shared an order of flautas and a few rounds of margaritas, paid in cash, and left a generous tip. One night in late September, my friend and I took our customary spots at the bar and ordered a pair of magaritas (one with salt, one without, for those who care). After a suspiciously long time, the Evil Bartender (henceforth referred to as E.B.) returned and told us that, although we were not required to tip, he was not required to serve us, either. (I should add that the E.B. was not our usual bartender, with whom we were on good terms, and had attended to us on only a few occasions.) My inclination at this point was to give the E.B. the finger and head for greener pastures, but cooler heads (read: my friend's) prevailed, and we tried to get to the bottom of the situation. Had we undertipped? Yes, the E.B. said, on more than one occasion. Was he sure he hadn't mistaken us for someone else? No - although we never undertipped in his presence, other employees had said we had, and given him a fairly accurate description. Was he sure we did it more than once? Well, he admitted, it may have been only once, and he was willing to overlook it, if we still wanted a drink. No, we firmly told him, we did not want a drink; and, although he might be willing to overlook it, we would not. We haven't been back since; and, from what I hear, we're not missing much. It seems obvious to me that if a regular patron one day omits the tip, the correct response would be to ask if there was something wrong, and not drop a heap of attitude. I should add that, for those who find themselves on the corner of Cleveland and Kenmare, a better meal can be had next door at Va Tutto or Le Jardin; and if you find yourself craving a run for the border, try Mexican Cafe, Tres Aztecas, or Festival Mexicana (all in the Lower East Side), or the recently reviewed La Palapa in the East Village. Anything but Mexican Radio. Please. Do it for the children.
I wonder if the owner is aware of what the bartenders are doing.
Business and restaurants alike need to be able to serve a accomodate marginal customers as well as the big tippers. (I'm not implying that Bill is either, I'm speaking in general)
This is one area a restaurant can't afford to pick its spots. The restaurant needs to show more class, even if the patron doesn't.