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May 13, 2010 10:10 AM

Why I Got Kicked Out of a Restaurant on Saturday Night

I read Ruhlman's blog, and it directed me to this piece, which I missed, by New York Times writer Ron Lieber:

Forgione yelled @ employee; Lieber walked back into the outskirts of the kitchen and yelled @ Forgione; Forgione tried to apologize; Lieber waved him away with a dismissing hand movement -- and Forgione asks Lieber to leave!

I think they were both being grade-A idiots and hot-heads. You don't scream at your staff in front of the customers -- ever. However, you never, ever, ever get in-between a chef/owner and his/her staff, particularly on a Saturday night.

What would you do?

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  1. I think they were both in the wrong. He was yelling "to maintain quality"? Doesn't the quality of the *entire* dining experience count for anything? To have the entire dining room fall silent as he berated a staff member is pretty telling that most everyone was very uncomfortable about what was going on.

    I'm not defending the writer/diner either. He shouldn't have gone in to speak to the chef. He should have left, letting the GM know why he was leaving. And perhaps called on Monday to explain why he left. Not sure that would have sunk into Forgione's consciousness as much as being addressed directly by a patron of the restaurant.

    Either way - Two Fouls on both their parts.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LindaWhit

      The chef sounds like a real jerk. Kudos to Lieber for having the guts to say something. I probably would have just left.

    2. He walked into the kitchen? Isn't that a health-code violation? He should've been thrown out right there, disregarding anything beyond that point.

      5 Replies
      1. re: stet

        His reply to some of the commenters on his blog said he didn't think he ever actually stepped foot into the actual kitchen. Probably just shy of being inside.

        1. re: LindaWhit

          i think he's covering his ass retrospectively. the blog post says "I pushed back my chair and walked through the open doorway of the kitchen." the author goes on to say he doesn't remember exactly what he said but that it couldn't be heard by those outside of the kitchen. seems contradictory-- so what is it: marched right in there into the midst of things and spoke in normal tones to the chef, or stood just at the threshold and yelled at a person over the sound of running water, hood vents, convection ovens, clattering pans and a hobart--in front of his whole boh crew, presumably working their butts off on a sat evening? un.likely.

          hmm an aggressive customer with a spotty memory. forgot to leave any tip for his server who had nothing to do with the debacle, too. wonder how many martinis he had before dinner, on the nyt's dime.

          i agree with comment # 45 to the blog (didn't read much further than that), and also with Shaogo-- they both behaved like jackasses. when boors collide.

          1. re: soupkitten

            i agree with comment # 45 to the blog (didn't read much further than that), and also with Shaogo-- they both behaved like jackasses. when boors collide.
            And what I originally said - they were both in the wrong here. (And did he really forget to leave a tip? I didn't read that, but didn't read through all of the comments either.)

            1. re: LindaWhit

              yes, i agree with you also, Linda!

              comment #26 asks about the tip & the author responds: "In our haste to collect ourselves and leave, we forgot to leave a tip and it haunted me all weekend. How best to make that happen without entering a place where I'm probably not welcome? Maybe I'll just put some money in the mail and hope for the best." :(

              1. re: soupkitten

                I didn't spot that one.

                Soupkitten, you're the best!

      2. I don't think just getting up and leaving would have had any impact. I'm glad that the author said something to the chef directly, about it and how awful he was making the experience for his customers, though I agree that he should have said something to the chef and then left (though, since he was with a party of people, that likely made it more difficult to coordinate).

        1. Maybe the situation was not handled properly, but Lieber was PAYING to have a nice dinner and probably a very expensive dinner, the chef ruined the dinner, was inconsiderate of his clients as well as his staff. .Even if he didn't handle it right, I side with Lieber

          1. This reminds me of a popular Japanese proverb. A good English translation is

            "In an argument, both sides are wrong."

            2 Replies
            1. re: Tripeler

              Or, how about this one ... (no translation needed)

              "Two wrongs don't make a right."

              1. re: Tripeler

                I really like this proverb tripeler - the truth is somewhere in the middle.