Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Jun 25, 2000 08:31 PM


  • m

you order a dish that is not prepared satisfactorily.the management refuses to offer a refund orexchange or even a free dessert. What do youdo in that situation?? I paid for the meal withmy credit card but immediately called AmericanExpress and told them I would not pay for thatpart of the bill with the charge for the dish. Is thereanother or better way to handle it?? It was aChinese restaurant that served a fish dishwith hoisin sauce instead of black bean sauce.The owner/chef/manager was an asshole about it.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If I am served something I did not order, or it is truly cooked poorly (e.g., raw or overdone,) it should
    be replaced automatically. If it isn't, I will ask that it be replaced.

    I note in passing, however, that just what is "not prepared satisfactorily" can be a gray area. I once saw someone return a chicken cacciatore because it had "too much garlic." I suppose there must be a legitimate "too much" line somewhere, but it can also be a simple case of the chef being more fond of garlic than the diner. If that's the case, then to me the conclusion is you don't like that chef's take on the chicken, not that it was prepared incorrectly. It's certainly reasonable to expect to encounter garlic in that dish. If one encountered, say, strawberries in it, without being forewarned, then that is another thing.

    But if it's a black-and-white case of ordering fish with black bean sauce and getting hoisin instead, then that is a flat out mistake on their part, and should automatically be replaced and I would say so.

    It's hard to imagine being refused in a case like that - to save the cost of one dish, the manager is virtually ensuring the loss of a potential repeat customer. But if it were refused, I don't know that there is much you can do to get satisfaction.

    I'd pay the bill and let the manager know I, and all my ancestors, will never step foot in the place again.

    I would then post my story, along with the name and location of the restaurant, on this site.

    I would then send the manager a fish with hoisin sauce, all wrapped in newspaper. With a copy of the Godfather, in case he doesn't get it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Bill Pisarra

      Or maybe the house's version of black bean sauce happens to taste a little like hoisin, which is after all made with freaking black beans. It's because of attitudes like this that some Chinese restaurants treat lo fan like ignorant pigs.

      1. re: Pepper
        mark grossman

        I was with my wife who is chinese and knowlegable.It was hoisin sauce all the way.

      2. re: Bill Pisarra

        Would that mean he "eats with the fishes?"

      3. Maybe it's me, but this sounds petty. Stop trying to exact "justice" from a restarant manager who quite possibly just didn't understand you. Don't go back to the restaurant, stop obsessing about the ten or twenty dollars you spent on the fish, and move on with your life.

        1. Two things:

          1. From your story it doesn't sound like you sent the dish back -- if you send it back (to be replaced or cancelled) you shouldn't be charged for it. I've never had a problem with that. Once you've paid, there's not much recourse.

          2. A friend who travels constantly for business, and who therefore encounters SNAFUs of all different types, gave me great advice: Calmly explain the problem and then say, in an authentically nice way, "How will you compensate me for this inconveniece?" Most of the time what I've been offered is more than I would have asked for.