MAKING IT ABOUT ME
And a Reply
Had dinner here on 5/18/21 with my wife and don. I have mixed feelings about our experience.
This place get a surprising number of 5 star reviews. I guess they must know something I don't because to be honest I was not impressed.
Let's start with the good.
- we were warmly welcomed
- our server sat us early & quickly took our order
- they adapted the menu to our sons needs
- the food was good, not amazing, but very good
- the ambiance is very nice and decor interesting
Now the bad
We lived in France for 4 years so we're used to small servings but
- our appetizers looked like snacks
- our dinner order looked like appetizers
- the food was very nice but it didn't rate 4+ stars
- my beer order never materialized
- service was slow at best
Now the ugly
- not sure if it was something we may have said? But our server, who had warmly welcomed us, decided to ignore us the rest of the night and spend time speaking with all the other tables. I had to repeatedly ask for help from other staff members. He never checked in on us or even brought us the bill, thank us or anything. Zero, zilch, zippo, nada! Once he was done talking to the other guest he grabbed a glass of wine and sat down to talk with another staff member at a small table in the back. I ended up having the service finished by other staff members.
Sorry but I was not impressed by any stretch of the imagination. This place is living off its rep that once upon a time impressed The NY Times but not at least the night we were there and not at those prices.
I’m very sorry for your impression of The Flaming Buoy. I hope this slight missive will illuminate a dark corner of occurrences on the evening of your visit.
But, first, as to your opinions concerning portion size & taste, I’m a little confused.
You rate the food on a scale of ”good” to “very nice”, securing the food on your “good” list. Yet, the food also places on your “bad” list, adding that it “didn’t rate 4+ stars.” I’m not sure where one would air such a grievance, but I don’t think the Yelp review of a restaurant is an appropriate platform for scolding the thousands of fellow reviewers for lacking the particular insight & experience you bring to the dining table, French or otherwise. Please, don’t let the positive opinions of others reflect poorly on the restaurant.
Revenons à nos moutons...
Rather, I write to correct a nearly farcical misunderstanding: The person who sat you that night wasn’t your server. I, the person that sat you, was the host. My job that evening was to warmly welcome guests & seat them.
But, because you were ready with questions, & I was ready with answers, I suspended my duties, leaving the wait staff to cover for me while we negotiated the menu & I took your order to the kitchen to make sure it was understood.
Further, I brought to the table your first round of drinks, including beer. Perhaps you ordered a second beer that never materialized. I can’t tell based on your receipt because the only drinks charged to your bill was for the round you ordered for the kitchen staff.
That you were not charged for your drinks tells me that either your server forgot to charge you, something went wrong & your server was making amends, or you were very well received.
The latter was the case, per my instruction. No good deed, am I right?
I found your family quite affable. You had me at, “Hello, I’m thirty minutes early for my reservation.”
Normally, abandoning my post isn’t as dramatic as “abandoning my post”, & I’m quite glad to do it, but it was a particularly busy night for us (yours was not the only table to arrive early) & one of my servers, yours, was navigating his second night on the floor. This is not to throw him under the bus, but only to communicate his knack for playing in traffic.
He was one of the staff members you repeatedly had asked for help, the one who brought your food, followed up with your table, &, ultimately, presented the bill. If it’s any consolation, he’s no longer an employee.
I very clearly recall stopping by your table. I really recall two times, but I’m omitting the second to make this point: once is more than zero, zilch, zippo, & nada.
After a few pulls of metaphorical water, the staff & I were able to work through our hiccups & return to formation. This meant I, as host, would talk to the other guests. I made no decision to ignore you. The opposite, I’d argue, is the truth.
Once done with that, I was off the clock. So, with wine in hand, I sat at a small table in the back & talked to another staff member. He wasn’t working that night, but, finding himself in the neighborhood, thought h’d stop in & say hi.
Perception being everything, however. I’ll never again make the mistake of so publicly being not at work while you are watching.
I hope you can now better understand what you refer to as “the ugly”–the lengthy preoccupation in your review with me engaging with tables not yours.
The movie-loving pedant in me is living for your choice of good, bad & ugly. But, because I’m limited to 5000 characters, I had to cut an epic dissertation on cinema which lead up to: Good, to be so, cannot just live off the rep of its decade old review in the NYT. We work very hard at what we do. This is not only reflected in the NYT, but Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zagat, Fodor's, Travel+Leisure, Southern Living, USA Today, People Magazine, Out Magazine, Robin Roberts’ NYT best-selling, “Everybody’s Got Something”, novels, travel guides, blogs, & other newspapers & magazines you can easily Google. Also, Google.
But, what to make of ugly, particularly as it prominently occupies such a space of consideration? Ugly just is, I guess.
This is long & way off course, I know. I’m sure you think it odd, too, that you’re reading this so long after the fact.
Truth is, I had written a reply months ago but shelved it. I do my best to reply to every review I can, if only to say, “Thank you,” or, in some cases, apologize.
This review was different, however. Aside from being a bit more personal than most, it’s also…complicated.
I am very sorry that our food was not to your liking. Truly. It certainly doesn’t sound like you were served the quality (& quantity) I expect from my kitchen.
As for the rest, I guess I’m sending this response–and I write this with complete politeness–for you to consider that sometimes, maybe, perhaps, every once in a while, it isn’t always about you.
R. Scot Forste
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