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Oct 27, 2010 06:02 PM

Aurora in Rye...really??!!!

So, I met a great friend today for lunch in Rye and we decided to give Aurora a shot. It's a not a place either of us frequent, despite living close by. She has her fave haunts and I am have mine...Anyway, I will say that the Price Fixe lunch menu has a nice offering. You choose a starter and a lunch entree for $14. Can't go wrong. My friend ordered the linguini "bolognese" ( made w/ veggies and crimini mushrooms) and b/c of her particular tastes, asked for the Caesar minus the " Caesar". She just wanted romaine and croutons and asked if she could have a bit of red onion, please. No problem at all. I ordered the grilled chicken salad w/ endive, mache, gorgonzola and walnut salad and the pea soup to start. In fairness, I did not want pea soup, but the other 3 starter options were salads. I didn't need one before the other.
The starters looked lovely. My friend's salad was just as she wanted. And the pea soup was quite nice. Much better than what I thought. My friend's pasta entree was also quite good. She tucked in right away. My salad- not so much. It turns out that the grill was broken( ?) so they pan seared the chicken. Which would have been fine save the obnoxious amount of rosemary on it. It overpowered everything in the strange salad that was so doused in a creamy dressing that I could only determine the chicken and gorgonzola. When I politely sent it back b/c it resembled nothing close to the menu description, I asked what would be fast in order to not have my friend sit and sit. I ended up w/ a very solid, fine ricotta gnocchi.
Ok, so we eat and then ask for the check. We see a $ 2.00 " substitution charge" on the bill. Can't figure out so we ask the host/manager to please explain. ( I drank a $4.75 small Pellegrino and she a Diet Coke for $3.) He informs us that this charge is for the RED ONION, they sprinkled on my friend's salad. REALLY???!! For 6 diced pieces of onion?! We were both fairly shocked by this, especially b/c there was no mention of a charge for this when ordered. But also b/c, and I made this point when we questioned the bill, it wasn't even close to a full onion, and there were other menu items that contained onion, so clearly not a "rare item". He told us the menu says "no substitutions" and we asked for one by asking for onions. He said, " the chef makes these rules". And walked away
I told him this ought to be some very special onion and that we would not be back.
I feel the charge was 1) unwarranted at $2.00, 2) needed to be explained when ordering and 3) was wholly obnoxious.
Thoughts??? I won't be back for a long time and will return to one of my usual haunts ASAP.

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    1. re: Shawn

      Perhaps the onion had been in the chef's family for many years...

      1. re: foodlad

        Yes, I would be irked too and probably would not go back, that's a lot of nerve, you weren't even substituting, you were adding :) You should have asked for a discount for no anchovies.

        1. re: owlwoman

          You know, owlwoman, when I tried to raise that point ( not about the anchovies, but about the fact that my friend had actually asked for less not more) the guy looked at me blankly. My friend and I both agreed that an "addition" might require an additional charge, but for a run-of-the mill item, it ought to be a very nominal charge. As I said, I hope that was some special onion...b/c it cost the restaurant 2 customers.

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        1. Just to add my 2 cents (or 50 cents or $2.00) ... I agree with you, MRS. You went out of your way to compliment the food in your review and have a justifiable complaint with ANY additional charge for red onion (IMHO) which costs virtually nothing for a few slices -- I don't care whether you've spent $14, $24 or $4 for the lunch. I think the restaurant owner/manager is rather shortsighted not to extend more goodwill to customers. My other and I eat out in Westchester an average of 2 nites per week and return to restaurants where the food is good AND the service welcoming. The friendly, cordial touches are what set those we go back to again and again apart. Just think how nice it makes you feel as a customer when the manager brings you out a complementary cordial with dessert or an amuse bouche pre meal. I have never eaten at Aurora, and I would certainly still be willing to try it, but would be put off by "attitude" anywhere. Happy eating ... (elsewhere, for you, in this case)

          1 Reply
          1. re: cloverose

            Well said, cloverose. We too eat out a couple of times a week and in addition to good food what brings us back is the way we are treated.

          2. i tried aurora when it first opened a few years ago. when my wife and i tried to order appetizers before we had decided on our mains we were told in no uncertain terms that to do so was "against our rules." the food was ok but the attitude was totally off-putting. i never went back. there are just too many better places to drop $100+ on dinner. i am so surprised this guy deangeles is still in business.