Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Dec 18, 2007 03:16 PM

Joy Indian Restaurant -disaster [moved from Outer Boroughs board]

I posted this earlier today, in a bit different form, but it was removed. I do want people (in a hurry) to know about this incident, though, so I changed this a bit.

Against our better judgment we ordered lunch from Joy today. (Had nothing in the fridge did & not have time to go out, even to shop - we had lots of work to do, and a meeting scheduled).

We ordered two shrimp dishes, and some sides.
First of all, it took forever, over an hour for the food to come.
We called the restaurant, and were told that the delivery guy "just left".

When the delivery person finally arrives, he conveniently has no change. What a racket.
So we scramble and find change.

We open the bag and what do we find? Two meat dishes instead of the shrimp.
Husband calls Joy and lets them know what happened. Guess what the response was? = The representative for Joy Restaurant LAUGHED.

Which is the point when my husband lost his temper. After waiting for an order for way over an hour -and then getting meat (which to my husband is like getting served toxic waste, and I do not eat meat in cheap places either) - the Joy employee sees it fit to laugh. Talk about unbelievable rudeness.

How hard is it to simply apologize when you clearly have messed up? (= "I'm so sorry, we will deliver the correct dishes immediately!" Really -HOW hard is that?

We got the replacement, but had lost the appetite. I was thinking that if they have put some additional small dishes or even a dessert in the bag -sort of as an apology- at least that would acknowledge that they had messed up. But, no, there was nothing, just those dishes.

Needless to say, in the future we will rather starve than order anything from Joy, or go there to eat. Joy is permanently off our list.
Maybe this indeed was a sign to remind us to stay away from the joyless foods of Joy. It is too greasy and mushy anyway.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. FoodWine
    "Husband calls Joy and lets them know what happened. Guess what the response was? = The representative for Joy Restaurant LAUGHED"

    Believe me when I say there is no excuse for what happened to you, and if the employee was fluent in English, the rest of this post doesn't apply, but I have noticed that occasionally, people raised in other countries, who are not fluent in English, sometimes react/respond, in strange and inappropriate ways. This has happened to me, three times. Once in an Indian and once in a Malaysian restaurant where the Servers were not comfortable with the language. The first time it happened I was stunned. The third time was at a non-food establishment, where the worker was from the same region of the world. I wonder if it could be when communication is not understood, that some people think laughing is an attempt to placate and be "friendly?"

    16 Replies
    1. re: Tay

      I know what you are saying, but I doubt it here. Who knows.
      It was the 1h 15 minute wait for food, food that then turned out to be the wrong food, that got us most, and the laugh was just the last, albeit big, drop...

      I am sure that most restaurants, in that situation, would have put some conciliatory extra dish in the bag, even just a small one, as a gesture of good will...? to make your customer understand that you felt bad/meant well.

      But that's in the past now. The truth is, that any time we have eaten their food, we always feel "a bit" disgusted after... so maybe we needed this reminder that we want to stay away from them.

      1. re: FoodWine

        I'd have to agree with you. The very least he could have done would have been to send something as a "thank you" for your inconvenience. Good will should always transcend language/cultural barriers.

        1. re: Tay

          Communication across cultures is interesting isn't it?

          I had a similar experience/reaction when I informed a person in a managment position at an Indian restaurant about a piece of plastic I found in my soup.

          I was amazed at the reaction - a gentle laugh and no apology. I understand that there is only so much control a restaurant can have with quality and cleanliness. I had never experienced this before anywhere, and I was grateful that I had been savoring each spoonful of soup slowly, so I was able to catch the plastic before it went down.

          I received no apology, just a reaction of a slight laughter and smile. The reaction amazed me.

          But the conversation in this thread reminded me of the psychological truth behind the cause for laughter - it can be something other than what it appears to be. It can mask awkwardness, embarassment, appeasement, etc.

          One would think, that if you are doing business in a different culture, particularly in a customer service related one, such as restaurants, a minimal level of sophistication might prompt the owners of a business to investigate the type of communication that takes place when a complaint arises and how the business interacts in a professional manner.

          When eating in a restaurant of a culinary tradition other than one's own, and populated by employees and management from another culture, it is helpful to remind oneself that different expressions of communication may be in effect.

          Different cultures have different ways of expressing respect and appreciation.
          And ... have we talked about how different cultures and subgroups within a culture relate to tipping as an expression of appreciation or complaint?

          At most Indian restaurants I have been to, particularly for lunch buffets, the servers can barely wait until I have finished before cleaning my table of plates and bowls. I find that very rude, but I also think that in their own way they may be attempting to hep me in keeping my table clean, and also providing for the availability of plates and bowls for others. They also consistently cannot wait to keep my glass of water filled. Again, I'd prefer for them not to pay so many visits to my table and let me eat in peace, but I just tell myself that this is their way of showing that they are trying to take care of me.

          I wonder, too, if the "culture" inside Indian restaurants in the Unites States differs across regions. Here in southeastern Pennsylvannia, most rIndian estaurants exhibit service, at least for the lunch buffet, where patrons are well taken care of. (The restaurants I go to are the medium priced ones.)

          The population density in these restaurants here, for the time being, are seldom, overcrowded, except for a few that get very crowded toward the end of the week. I think that perhaps in an area with greater population density such as New York (Queens, Brooklyn), that the time for "niceties", may take on a different priority than in suburbs of Philadelphia where the pace of life is much slower. My stereotype of the Indian character, is that even with the high population density in India, that the Indian character is one of more patience, and exhibits this quality when interacting with people. I am continually seduced by the graciousness of that quality which is expressed to me when I interact with people from India.

          That quality of graciousness and patience may extend itself regardless of the regional location of such a restaurant in the United States.

          1. re: FelafelBoy

            Very thoughtful post.
            I think here, in NYC, the expanding immigrant populations have had a somewhat negative effect on service in their regional restaurants. As with any 'neighborhood 'restaurant, success usually depends on satisfying the local population. At one time,in order to be successful, new restaurants tended to adapt to American standards in terms of attitude/customer service/cleanliness, communication, etc. Now,if a restaurant can survive on customers from "the old country" whatever that country might be, they no longer feel the necessity to change to more "Americanized" ways. It is now not uncommon to enter a restaurants in some neighborhoods and find that English is not spoken, nor understood. This would not have been the case even a few years ago

        2. re: FoodWine

          Observations that may not help -

          Indian food is usually robust and has a certain amount of fat in it and Joy cooks dishes in that style not in a lightened stye - Kinara is probably better for that.

          Expecting any kind of "compensation" from an inexpensive ethnic place is a recipe for dissatisfaction. Its SO unlikely to happen because it just wouldnt be thought of by the restauranteur..

          I agree with Tay about the laughter - sometimes people just laugh as a nervous reaction - I know I have, in the most inappropriate situations. I am sure it wasnt meant in a mean way (or intentional at all)

          In the end, this just seems like one of those times where everything that could go wrong did go wrong - its really too bad, but that happens to us all sometimes.
          Sorry you had such a bad day.

          1. re: jen kalb

            My comment that probably went with the original post was how was the food that you did get?

            I've ordered from Joy dozens of time (I usually get the same stuff) and it's a damn sight better than most Indian delivery.

            So if you had gotten an extra rice pudding, everything would have been right with the world?

            1. re: greenermjr

              If you read the OP's previous posts you would have noticed thatThe OP mentioned in BOTH posts that she was displeased with the quality of the food: These are quotes from both postings.
              "any time we have eaten their food, we always feel "a bit" disgusted after... so maybe we needed this reminder that we want to stay away from them."
              " It is too greasy and mushy anyway."

              1. re: Tay

                Thank you, Tay, I could not have said it better ;-)

            2. re: jen kalb

              The truth is that we have had casual Indian food in other parts of the country, and that food has been so much better than the food at Joy. (same dishes). Not as greasy, not as mushy.
              In another thread I mentioned an experience in August, in Michigan, where we were so happy with a local Indian restaurant (in a strip mall).
              We had to go back to Michigan in November and decided to re-visit the same restaurant. Again, the food was so tasty, and not greasy or mushy. (we ordered the same dishes that we have tried at Joy).

              Btw, not for nothing. The hubby spent a pretty long time in India (and Pakistan, etc), in different parts of the country, and still has a special place in his heart for India.
              I would say that he understands the culture and customs very well, - and loves practicing the few expressions he knows in Hindi, Urdu (basically the same language) and the few words of Farsi he knows, with locals. He just loves chatting with people from over there ... sometimes he even chats a bit on the phone with some customer service people that are located in India.

              But this particular employee at Joy, he is really not crazy about, even from earlier encounters.

              About the "compensation": we have actually received - a few times- spontaneous extras at Joy when eating there (once, samosas, and another time, vegetable fritters ..), so it is not true that small places like these do not do that. And every time we have eaten in the restaurant, they have wanted to give us a dessert.

              We like Indian food, and would love to like Joy...

              P.S. I asked Hubby about the food in India (and he only ate in cheap places). He got inspired and gave me a looong story, but the essence is: It was mostly very tasty (sometimes bad), but he does not remember anything swimming in ghee (even though there of course is ghee) or being mushy.

              1. re: FoodWine

                I have not had the numerous experiences that your husband has had, but I work with many individuals from that region of the world and have attended many a dinner at both high and not so high end, restaurants and I have not found many ghee laden dishes though Jen Kalb is (as usual) right when she points out that some restaurants seem to use more ghee than others. I have noticed this more in low end eateries.
                Has the roof of my mouth peeled off from incendiary ingredients and do I accept that as a risk worth taking? Absolutely, but 'greasy, mushy food?'. I think not. :-}
                Jen Kalb reccs a restaurant called Kinara. I think she makes excellent reccs, so you might want to give it a shot :-}

                1. re: Tay

                  Where is this Ghee Palace -- I mean Joy -- anyway??

                  1. re: Tay

                    Kinara is pretty good, I've eaten there plenty of times.

                    1. re: Tay

                      I dont happen to like the lightened style Kinara cooks by the way, all that much. (I think their DNA is from Baluchi's in the City and that they very consciously have lightened things up for American taste) I actually like Joy better tho neither place is really good enough to pull me out of the kitchen. The OP doesnt like meat or doesnt eat much of it, and Joy's cuisine is meat oriented. So there is going to be more grease and a different taste than OP might prefer. OP also doesnt like Al di la, which Ive thought has a rather Batali like, robust style of cooking. So thats my basis for recommended Kinara - I dont think its wonderful but its more suited to this person's taste.

                      1. re: Tay

                        Ok, we will check it out.
                        Right now I think I will try to cook more myself...
                        Thanks, both of you

                2. re: Tay

                  a brief burst of laughter signals embarrassment and an apology in my culture... i'm shocked that i only just realized american's don't do this? now i wonder how many times i've laughed and people have been thinking "WTF"

                  1. re: hautepanda

                    I thought it might be a cultural thing. People don't realize this and I think it can be confusing. However, in no way does it excuse the poor service that the OP received. The Mgr is dealing with many American born patrons and needs to know the customs here

                3. The original comment has been removed
                  1. Strangely enough, I've had a similar experience at Joy. Waited an hour, called, 1 1/2 later we got our food, turns out it's a veggie dish but we ordered lamb, another 1/2 hour and we finally get our cold food with no samosa hook-up to be found. The customer service there is pretty laking, not rude, just not good. The dishes do swim in an orange oil which I find to be a little too much. However, they're decent indian food for the area. I reiterate "For The Area." I've also had delivery from Kinara multiple times. Pretty good, about the same flavor as Joy. Really good samosas that come in a chickpea sauce.

                    While I'm sharing: At Joy the Garlic Curry Special is very good (lots of whole cloves of garlic!), so is the vindaloo. Kinara has a good saag paneer and vindaloo as well.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Brooklyn Mamacita

                      As pedantic as this may sound, I agree with a previous post of the importance for places "to get their act together." There is a standard of competency that should be met, which includes handling complaints in a manner that transcends cultural differences.

                      Two suggestions - let the public vote for the restaurant's competency by going elsewhere, and when an order is placed, to not just verbalize what selections you want, but express your need to the restaurant for them to double check your order to ensure they get it right, due to past mistakes they have made, or something to that effect. You shouldn't have to play supervisor to them, but if you can view yourself as a teacher and they are the unwilling student, you may just be doing them a favor, and facilitate their business sophistication. Unless they get this feedback, they will stay in the dark.

                      In the New York area, there should be more than a few choices as alternatives to unsatisfactory places.

                    2. Are you all talking about the place on Flatbush Avenue? I ate there once, shortly after they opened, and I found it roughly the equivalent of a bad 6th street restaurant.

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: Peter Cherches

                          LOL! I loooove the bad 6th St places. Where else can you find a colander being used as a lampshade? :-}}

                        2. Seems like this train was headed for disaster from the get-go.

                          (1) OP didn't really want to order from the restaurant, but felt they had to.
                          (2) Delivery time -- which in the best of times is always an estimate -- took too long.
                          (3) OP seemed to have specific/particular requirements that the restaurant had trouble filling in the past. Hence, (1).

                          When the order came,

                          (4) Order was messed up.
                          (5) OP wanted the order rectified and the restaurant's representative had an inappropriate response.

                          It is the OP's right to have their order rectified. The response might be inappropriate -- but there was no malice attached. In a lot of Asian cultures, laughing or smiling is a way to say "I'm sorry" and to cover up embarrassment -- and, for sure, they were embarrassed about messing up the order.

                          (6) OP writes a post about how horrible the whole experience was.

                          OK. Point taken.

                          If it were me, I would just let it go. From the start, it didn't sound like the whole experience would end well. After (4), I would probably just chalk the whole thing up to. . .well, I don't know. . .but most probably, at the end of the day, I'd just share a laugh with the restaurant's representative at the petty absurdity of the situation.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jayes

                            Jayes, that would almost be a cute little "analysis", were it not so far removed from any realities. And if it did not try to weirdly twist the facts in question.

                            "OP seemed to have specific/particular requirements that the restaurant had trouble filling in the past."
                            - That is false = We have never had "specific/particular requirements"! We always order items that are on the menu, knowing fully what we are ordering.
                            The items that we ordered that day were their lunch boxes - and the items that go into those boxes are mostly made ahead. The fastest order one can make, in other words.

                            "OP didn't really want to order from the restaurant, but felt they had to."
                            -Again, false = It is true that we did not have anything in the fridge (or time to prepare anything), but it is not true that we did not "want to order" from Joy. We could have ordered from several other restaurants, but that day we
                            CHOSE to order from Joy (against our better judgment = we know it's greasy junk food, but we accepted that choice).


                            Also - if you had read more than just my OP, you would have realized that we really do not need such very basic stuff as cultural differences explained to us. Besides, laughing when embarrassed is a reaction that happens all around the world, also to some Americans, depending on the person and/or the situation.

                            "The response might be inappropriate -- but there was no malice attached."
                            a) Were you there? (You are making a statement of "fact" based on a guess!) b) Where did I say that there was malice attached?
                            Whether there was or wasn't "malice" attached, is beyond the point:

                            We are in America, not in India or Pakistan. Not only that, but we are in a neighborhood where the vast majority of the people are not Indian or Pakistani.
                            When you go to a foreign country, even as a tourist, you are supposed to do your homework and learn about the (at least basic) local customs (sometimes even what certain colors symbolize in a country).
                            Would you move to a foreign country and start a business - and not try to find what out what is appropriate behavior in that country, especially when dealing with customers? And not only that, but would you not like to know what kind of behavior would be the most likely one to make yours a popular business?
                            I certainly would.

                            And no matter what your cultural heritage is, if you are in customer service and happen to make a mistake/mess up, a sincere apology goes a long way, even if you do let out a laughter at first.

                            "From the start, it didn't sound like the whole experience would end well." ...
                            - I wonder if that is because of the subject line = "Joy -disaster".

                            "but most probably, at the end of the day, I'd just share a laugh with the restaurant's representative".
                            - That kind of a maƱana -attitude probably works for people who have a very flexible work schedule, or do not have a lot of work, or do not work - or who can totally dictate their own schedule, what ever they do for living... We cannot. We work hard and have to meet dead-lines -and to be on time, when we have scheduled meetings or phone-conferences with clients or other business parties. That day we had such a meeting scheduled. (and the rare times we are a bit late, and/or if WE make a mistake, we apologize for it, immediately. How hard is that?!)

                            We are in New York, one of the busiest cities in the world. If everyone in a service business -or any business- thought like you claim to, New York would not work. New York restaurants sprig up -and close down - like mushrooms after the rain. The ones that try the hardest, deserve to stay the longest. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

                            The average delivery time from Joy to our house has been around 30 minutes. Sometimes it has been faster (less than 20 minutes) and sometimes longer: around 40 minutes. In the past, if they have been swamped with orders, they have let us know that they are really busy and that the order will take an hour to arrive. In those instances, we have politely declined the order.

                            Bottom line: 1 hour and 15 minutes is not an acceptable delivery time, ever -for such a short distance and (ready made food that they just have to ladle into the lunch boxes). That is supposed to be the fastest food to order during lunch.
                            Not only did we have to wait that 1 hour and 15 minutes - an additional 30 minutes (at least) passed before we got the replacement for the wrong food. Now we are talking almost two hours for lunch food delivery.
                            And you, Jayes, choose to call that "petty absurdity".

                            "OP writes a post about how horrible the whole experience was. OK. Point taken."
                            -I did not set out to tell about "how horrible the whole experience was", I plainly wanted people in a hurry to know that they cannot rely on Joy.
                            Jayes, -with so many factual mistakes (and/or efforts to twist them) in you post, I do not think you did get my point at all...

                            1. re: FoodWine


                              Please do not attribute my efforts at another perspective to be "twisting" your own points. I certainly do not mean to give you offense.

                              You've certainly accomplished your objective of letting people know that the restaurant in question is awful and unreliable.

                              I think you were right to post your original report in the NY board where that information could be acted upon by the readers. I took your post to be simply another incident of "bad food/awful service" in a restaurant, which, unfortunately, happens often to people who eat/dine out a lot. It's more insanity-inducing to treat these incidents as personal events. I would just chalk it up to "petty absurdity" and move on to the next bad restaurant. =)