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Aug 23, 2009 03:24 PM

Not so Perfect Chinese?

A friend and I went last night for our second visit to Perfect Chinese. Two weeks ago we had a great meal there. She's a vegetarian and they happily substituted tofu in one of the items on the menu that would normally have meat (beef in black bean sauce with rice noodles). I had shrimp and eggplant and steamed rice. The prices were excellent for a lot of food.

The first visit was on a Friday night at about 8:00 pm. Last night we arrived at 5:30, recognizing that Saturday would probably be busy and wanting to get in ahead of the dinner rush.

My friend ordered her tofu with black bean sauce again and was just as happy with it as the first time. I ordered fried noodles with filet mignon in a sizzling pan. Our server appeared to be new, and/or her English wasn't very good (not to be unexpected). When she brought my meal the dry, crunchy noodles were sitting on the cast iron pan, and she then took a large dish of meat and vegetables, with lots of sauce, and poured it over the noodles (as well as the table and down the sides of the pan). My friend scooped up the meat and veggies from the table and dumped them on top of my meal (before I could say anything, as I'm a bit germophobic and wasn't sure about eating them from off the table cloth...though it did look very clean). The waitress did not clean up the large glob of sauce left on the table cloth, so we used both our napkins to wipe up as much as possible. We had to ask for more napkins and they (several servers seemed to be looking after our table) neither attempted to clean up the remaining sauce, nor even take away the napkins we'd used to do so.

The restaurant was full by the time we were finished eating and had asked for containers to take away our leftovers. The second I finished scooping my remaining food into the container, a waiter picked up my plate. I literally still had my hand on the spoon as he was grabbing it. After that, a server stood a couple of feet behind my friend with a new table cloth in her hand, and when she saw we weren't quite finished putting down money for the bill, she draped the folded cloth over the back of the chair beside me (reaching behind me to do so). While I was still sitting in my chair, another staff person came and started picking up the soiled table cloth. I have a feeling our newbie server did not tell anyone that it was she who spilled sauce all over our table, as it seemed the other servers must have thought we did it.

All in all, the bum's rush and the mess not cleaned up our even apologized for really but a sour note on the outing for me. My meal was fine, though I wouldn't order it again (at least, not with the sizzling pan and crunchy noodles).

I would probably still go back to Perfect Chinese, but I'd do my best to make sure it was at an off-peak time.

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  1. Not to burst your bubble, that is par for course for Cantonese restaurants of this price range. It's brisk service, their concern is with speed and food quality, service does take a backseat at times. I know it does come off as rude if you're not used to the culture. It is very common practice in HK.

    They don't care whether the waiter or you spilled the sauce, the cloth (or white plastic wrap) gets changed for every turn of the table.

    2 Replies
    1. re: aser

      Thanks aser, that helps me understand a lot. My friend really thought it was because we weren't Asian; I thought it was because they were so busy (and the spilled food due to the waitress being new and inexperienced -- she seemed really nervous).

      The unfortunate thing is that we really were in and out of there quite quickly and had no intention of lingering at our table, but it felt like they were trying to tell us we'd overstayed our welcome.

      I'll keep your comments in mind, because we do intend to go back.

      1. re: CeeQueue

        Your experience is not unexpected at Perfect.

        I enjoy the place as the food is good and the price is right and I have been there enough times for both dim sum and dinner that the staff must know me by sight even though they do not acknowledge me as a regular, however, there have been many times I have wanted to walk out because of the treatment. Maybe I am a sucker for punishment but I just tell myself it's not personal and think about Seinfeld's soup nazi episode.

        I have been to Perfect at 3am with friends after a night of drinking and there was a line up. I guess that's why they can get away with less than normally acceptable service.