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May 7, 2007 05:22 PM

The owner/chef yelled at me from the kitchen for 5 minutes-I was mortified.

The other day we popped into a new Greek restaurant that had been open for only a few days. We ordered glasses of white wine and an order each of dolmades and calamari. The calamari was acceptable, if not rather rubbery. The dolmades were straight out of a can - you know the kind. You can buy the can for about $3.00 at any Greek or Italian store or at your local supermarket, for that matter. They are plain grape leaves stuffed with white rice and swimming in poor quality oil. Well, on our plate lay about half a can of dolmades, very cold from the fridge. The cost was $10.00. When the waitress came over to ask how the meal was I politely told her that I was very disappointed in the canned dolmades and the fact that they were so cold. She went back to the kitchen (which was an open kitchen for all patrons to see and hear) and immediately the chef/cook started yelling that I know nothing about Greek food, he always eats them cold, I shouldn't bother eating them then, etc. He kept this rant up for at least 5 minutes. It was directed solely at me. I was so embarrassed! We paid and got the heck out of there.
Was I wrong about dolmades?
If we are dissapointed in restaurant food and the waitress asks how we are enjoying the meal, shouldn't we reply honestly? What do you think I should have done?

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  1. you were right to be honest. at any place decent, i've always been served warm dolmades. (never been to greece, but they are much more tasty this way!)

    in point of fact, it sounds like the waitress was on the receiving end of his tirade. i've stood in her shoes more than once, and it's more awful than you can imagine. i once got reamed by a chef because the suckling pig ordered by a guest was not finished cooking. he went off on a crazy rant about it never being ready before 6:00 ( a lie), he didn't care if it was her birthday, who did she think she was, etc. she and her husband had saved for months to dine there. they had symphony tickets for after, so were on a schedule. they were the only people in the diningroom so of course heard his expletive laced shouting. the woman burst into tears. i was mortified. their dinner and her birthday were ruined.

    why chefs with tempers have open kitchens is beyond me.

    hopefully you left a big tip.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      Any chef that yells at anyone in front of customers is out of line. Any chef that yells AT customers needs to be out of business. Period.

      Cold dolmades could be mandated in the Bible, for all I care, but he is still required to be polite about it.

    2. If the dolmades did not have meat in them, I usually serve them cold or at room temperature. Armenians call this Yalanchi. It's a meza (appetizer) dish. Still, no excuse for the chef to lose thier cool.

      1. I've always been served dolmades at room temp or just slightly warm, both in restos and in greek homes. If they were canned draining and adding a good olive oil and a squeeze of lemon helps, but I wouldn't pay $10 for them.

        Ack! Start a pool as to when the place closes. If this was a simple service issue, that could be corrected by replacing a server it would be easy, wait a while and go back after they've had a chance to work out the kinks. A cook who thinks it's appropriate to abuse customers in addition to staff is a whole other problem.

        Tip the waitress apropriately and advise her ot start looking for another job.

        Name the resto, they had no problem with their behavior, save others the same experience.

        1. I have had them cold (plain) and warm/hot (sauced).

          During much of 2005, I ate them weekly at a deli, part of the "mediterranean plate" (Wednesday's special), they were cold, they were dressed with olive oil (not swimming). I think the owner were Turkish.

          1. I don't honestly know whether dolmades should be served warm or cold or room temp or searingly hot. Its also irrelevant to the chef's behaviour. If he had actually taken a polite approach and said that he eats them cold and told you about why, you'd likely have felt like you had a good experience, even if you still didn't like the dolmades there.

            Being yelled at in any restaurant or any business by anyone is unacceptable in virtually any circumstance. (I'm sure we can all imagine situations in which yelling would be both reasonable and expected....but this isn't that.)