Forked at (John Tesar's) Spoon
About 3 weeks ago, I stopped at Spoon, the newest shooting star in the Tesar sky. I placed a reservation for an occasion – the 20th anniversary of my first date with my wife. Not a wedding anniversary, but a milestone nonetheless. While their very smart Ipad-based wine list and reservation system was down, I mentioned the reason for our dinner, and my desire for a nice table.
We arrived, nicely dressed, at 8:00 pm and were escorted to the bar. Not to dally, but to dine. When I mentioned the occasion, and my advance request for a table, I was told that there were no notes in our reservation, and no tables for two available for the rest of the night. (At this point, the weeks-ago Ipad outage was taking on a more prominent role in the evening.) The hostess suggested we wait a bit to see if someone cancelled at the last minute. That, she said, was all she could offer.
I had no idea how literal she was being.
We stood at the bar, and ordered two glasses of White Burgundy. By the 30 minute mark, the hostess suggested it was unlikely that there would be any cancellations, so we indicated to the bartender that we were leaving to go elsewhere.
Of course, there was still the small matter of recompense. Not for us, mind you, but for Spoon’s two glasses of wine. $30, we were told, would cover the wine we drank waiting for the table that never appeared. I let the tab sit atop the bar for about 10 minutes, thinking surely, surely, the hostess (whose station was no more than 3 feet from us) was going to proffer an apology, and offer to cover the tab.
Like our table, those pleasantries also failed to arrive. So, on the way out the door, I handed the hostess a note with my contact numbers, and politely asked that someone call me the following week. About 5 minutes later, two men – one identifying himself as the manager – came outside while we were waiting for our car to be brought around. The first, I kid you not, asked how my wife and I had enjoyed our meal. In the second man – the manager – I thought I had found the one person who actually cared about Spoon’s jagged edges. I told him mistakes happen. I told him I wasn’t mad that they lost our request for a table. But, I said, I had expected some gesture from Spoon – an apology, a personal invitation back, or yes, possibly no bar bill – to show that the night’s snafu mattered to them. And the time for that gesture was before we left, not standing on the sidewalk outside the restaurant in the cold night air.
The manager agreed. Said he was truly sorry that he had not been alerted to the problem sooner. Told me that it was unacceptable that our anniversary plans would now need to involve a last-minute reservation at another restaurant. Promised to call me that following week, so that he could invite us to dinner at Spoon in the future, at their expense. And I believed him.
There’s a reason that restaurants are often rated on ambiance, food and service. Spoon’s ambiance was lovely -- open, modern, chic. Service? Well, it’s now 8 days since our aborted attempt to eat there and we’ve heard not one word yet from anyone at Spoon. The food? I wish I knew.
Sorry to hear your tale of woe. But frankly, I'm not surprised. Over reliance on technology leads to that sort of thing. Nothing wrong with technology being an aid, but I'll never understand folks allowing it to take over to the point that in impedes good service.
I've never much understood the point of iPad or other computer based wine lists. I suppose if they really linked to great additional information about the wines, it might be worth the trouble. But I've frankly never seen one that was anything other than a nuisance or could do anything more than an elementary sort.