Alexander's: Turned Away and Turned Off
I'll set the scene, it's a rainy Thursday night...
My girlfriend made a reservation, party of four, for my birthday dinner. Reservation was at 6:45 pm.
We arrive at SIX FIFTY FIVE O'CLOCK (traffic problems) and were greeted by a gentleman I assume was Alexander himself.
He checked for our reservation, walked to the back, and then asserted, "We don't have your table anymore."
Girlfriend and I look at each other bewildered. We tell him our two other friends are on their way.
I look around and notice there are only two other small parties in the restaurant with all other tables available.
He responsd, "Sorry. We can't give you your table. You are late and our server tried to call you."
No such phone call was received and we indicated that.
Our friends walk up. He tells us, "Is it still raining? I can sit you on the patio."
Tables and seats are wet. There is no awning. It is lightly raining.
We are incredulous.
Then he tells us, "Do you want me to do something? Or..."
I speak up, "yeah, if you could accomodate us, that'd be great."
His response, "well I'm sorry, we don't have any other options other than the patio or...you all could sit at the table in the kitchen."
After a quick debriefing, we agree to spend our time and money at Vagabond and tell him so.
None of us had ever been to Alexander's and were excited to try it.
My problems with this scenario are that because we were ten minutes late, with an excuse about a server having tried to call us, we were quickly turned away.
Has this happened to any other Chowers?
Totally agree. I was flabbergasted when I read your post, but having never been there, I didn't have much to say except to echo what Thirtyeyes said. You were 10 minutes late. I've had restaurants been extremely accommodating at later than that. I think you had the right response... no need to spend your money there.
I went there a week or so ago for the first time and ordered the Prosciutto & Burrata salad; but when the server brought us our dishes mine didn't have any burrata on it but had parmesan and brie in its place. I told her that I think they forgot the burrata on the salad and she apologized saying that she forgot to tell me that they ran out of the burrata so they used the aged parm instead. I was a bit taken back but didn't make a huge deal of it because my friends already had all of their dishes and didn't want to be stuck waiting with no food.
But if it was someone less knowledgeable and didn't know what burrata was, were they just trying to pass it off? Pretty sneaky. And why didn't she tell me when I ordered so I could have gotten something else instead? It was one of the main reasons for the dish after all. The prosciutto that came with it was terrible by the way and I'm not entirely sure it was prosciutto for that matter either (it was more like a rasher than prosciutto).
Assuming the Chef puts any effort whatsoever into creating his/her offerings, the flavor profile of aged Parm, and that of Burrata are light-years apart. Substituting in this fashion would completely change the dish. Why not just say they ran out, and give you the opportunity to order something else.