Monday, June 26, 2006

The Classic Restaurant Experience

Granville Entertainment District 
Dave, Little Miriam, Alice and I visited Vancouver a few months ago. On our Saturday evening, we were on the hunt for a good restaurant that suited everyone’s mood. We found this one place that we agreed on. It had an atmosphere similar to an Elephant Bar, but a little more upscale. The menu was classic meat and potatoes. The experience was, well, check this out.

So we put our name down at the front and let the hostess know that we will be in the bar. At the bar, I order a Long Island. The bartender asks if I’d like to make it a double for just on dollar more. I’m like, “sure!” Dave orders a Coke with no ice. They don’t have Coke, but have Pepsi. He’s fine with that. I was a little critical about having Pepsi at a bar.  So the bartender brings me my Long Island Ice Tea and Dave’s Pepsi, with ice. She immediate walks way to serve other customers. Dave gets her attention and gives the drink back to get a Pepsi without ice. As for my Long Island, it tasted like crappy lemon juice. That part about ordering a double? It was only one extra shoot in the drink. I’m not convinced there was more than just that one shoot in the drink. It was not good and didn’t have hardly any alcoholic content. When the girls joined us, they ordered some sweet and blue girly drink. It worked for them.

The hostess came to the bar to take us to our table. She started gathering our drinks from the bar. She had a tray in one hand, and was picking up the drinks with her other. She picked up the girly drinks and my “Long Island”. Then she went for Dave’s Pepsi. There were bar chairs blocking her from reaching his drink. Instead of moving the chairs or going between them, she walks into the chairs and bounces off of them, repeatedly. It reminded me of a robot that was out of control walking into a wall over and over. I’m not exaggerating. So after a few times of this, Dave and I move the chairs for her so she can reach the drink. Honestly, we would’ve been happy carrying the drinks ourselves. The one redeeming point is at least she was trying hard to assist use, even if her efforts where a bit inefficient. Her blonde roots apparently ran deep.

At the table, we wait for the waitress to come. OK. We continued to wait. Umm… still waiting. Finally, she comes and takes our drink order. She was Chinese, and I kinda felt like I was in Hong Kong because of the attitude she exuded. We waited long enough to know what we wanted for our meal, so we just ordered it all at once.

After some time, we got our drinks. I finished my Long Island and a Pepsi too in the time it took for the meal to come after.

Finally the dinner plates showed up. The food looks delicious. I cut into my pork shank and took a bite. It was tasty. I started looking at the presentation of the food on the plate. Noticing some unusual looking garnish on the meat, I took my fork and pulled at it. It turned out to be a long hair cooked in with the food. Dear lord! We spend about 5 minutes trying to get the waitress’ attention. She finally come over and we showed her the…before I finished talking, she noticed the hair herself and apologized. She took the plate back, and that was the last we saw of her for 15 minutes.

The manager comes over and squats down next to me. She apologized again and offered a few comps on our dinners, including a dessert and some quick appetizer. To replace my plate would’ve apparently taken an additional 20 minutes. (It appeared the waitress didn’t immediately put in the replacement order.) The manager also gave me a 50 dollar gift certificate. I’m like, “We don’t leave here and aren’t likely to come back to Vancouver for some time.” She still forced it upon me. Anyways, I ordered the chicken strips, and some brownie fudge thing, with the ice cream on the side. Chicken strips did come pretty quickly and where pretty good. Then the dessert came. The ice cream was not only not on the side, it was under all the brownie stuff. Dave is sensitive to dairy. That is why we ordered the ice cream on the side. So, we flagged the waitress down again and asked for our correct order. We got it after a bit longer.

I determined that I should pay the bill. The small tip should come from me, since I was the one that had such a delightful evening. The bill only included Dave’s, Miriam’s and Allie’s actual dinners. Nothing else. Well, OK. I left a 3% tip on the bill, but thought about the hostess. Hostesses usually get their tips from the wait staff. Even if she was a ditz, she did make a sincere effort help us out. So Dave left her a 2 dollar coin on our way out.

I gave the gift certificate to Little Miriam since there was a slightly better chance for her and Dave to use it than I. She looked at the certificate and read the expiration date. “6/31/05”. Because Little Miriam is an accountant; she immediately picks up yet another error by the rest’rant. It’s a comical conclusion to the most annoying and least satisfactory dinner of my life.

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