From the get go of this blog and my approach to eating out has always been and will remain. Break the chain (corporate chain restaurants), support your local eateries.
Well I guess we all need to sit down to a nice heaping meal of crow, as in eating some crow when one is proven incorrect. In my own defense it was an extraordinary set of circumstances, a perfect storm of ineptitude meets server of the year. Basically in one twenty four hour period I left a chain restaurant not only satisfied but with the feeling I had, when a typically underpaid employee goes out of their way to better your dining experience. Followed by an employee whose skill set would be more appropriate scooping up road pizza’s (roadkill) then dealing with the public.
Below is two reviews of last Saturday’s experience, I will leave i up to you to differentiate which one was the better of the two:
Each Buffalo Wild Wing I have taken a table at, in different locations and in different states to this point have a common thread. Typically lousy food and terrible service.
The manager and staff have a odd sense of self, as if they work at the premier eatery in the neighborhood, serving up the best food all resulting in the head held high manner they carry themselves. Obviously a direct result of being the best. Problem is anyone that knows anything about food, from fine dining to bar food, finds the attitude sad. Serving sub par bar food, not getting orders right and bouncing around most jovially is sub high school in mentality.
Knowing this I entered the new Buffalo Wild Wings with much to be concerned about, in short blowing my money on another endless stream of bad experiences.
When I sat at the bar, I kept my previous experiences close to my chest and began reading the tap handles with little idea of what I was in the mood for.
I used to be behind the bar for many years and something I NEVER forgot to do was to acknowledge new clients when they sat down for a drink, even if I knew I was backed up many drinks. To my expected concern, this did not occur.
The bar was empty with just two gentlemen to my right so I was loosing what little faith I had mustered up prior to my entering the restaurant.
As if reading my inability to choose a beer and my concern about every aspect of being at Buffalo Wild Wings I was offered the suggestion of some small samples of anything I wanted to try. In addition, Alex the bartender offered up a few suggestions of his own.
I tasted the Bronx Pale ale and minus the 6.3% alcohol content, it would be a tough decision to order a pint, so shallow for a hi-gravity brew.
Saranac Shandy Utica Lemon was really unique but better suited for the middle of summer and to be phased out in the beginning of autumn.
The Left Handed Milk Stout was splendid and I had hope there would be some Michigan beers on the menu (FYI: The second best beer state in the U.S., loosing narrowly to Colorado. The Flying Pig does sell one Michigan beer from Founders)
The Green Flash Head rd IPA was my favorite followed by the bartenders recommendation of the Lagunitas. Alex also pointed out that there was a new micro-brew store on Austin Street next to my favorite clothes shop ‘Anthony’, which I had no idea existed.
Thinking back I recall Buffalo Wild Wings top heat index wing barley made me flinch. Bad memory I guess because the Blazin’ was complete fire and pain, which took every ounce to asbestos tongue mentality to tough out. Parmigiana Garlic was excellent and I asked for a samples of Caribbean Jerk to mellow out the Blazin’.
If I were to quantify my positive review based on my positive experience I would have to say it was all based on Alex’s desire to do a good job. While I was drinking and eating I did observe the waitstaff and unfortunately their behavior and antics resembled the past experiences far more that what I experienced at the bar with Alex.
Cafe Kashkar is a prime example on how service can make or break a dinner experience.
From the moment we walked in to the restaurant, all indications were that this small business would be up to the simple task of delivering the cuisine of Kaskar, waiting on the new clients hand and foot making for a pleasant dining experience. When we arrived, there were about twenty four total seats inside, some empty tables outside, so the waitstaff had four tables a piece. On the side of the restaurant I was seated at there was only one four top which is a piece of cake for any semi experienced server.
The appetizer I ordered came as a recommendation from the server (mentioned in my tip that I wrote in real time) was not available but the server assured me would be ready at some point. What point may that be? When it is time for dessert? Perhaps after we have left?
So I ordered distant second choice which was the Kashkar Salad. At seven bucks it was reasonable, filled with peppers both red and green, yet with a late onrush of spice which was not intrusive to my taste buds.
The Samsa was excellent, hard pastry shell with some nice thin cuts of lamb and translucent onion, very worth the two dollars and fifty cents per.
Ground beef ka-bob was burnt on the bottom which, as it is not cooked directly on open flame is not an easy task.
We ordered the Naan which was very fairly priced at two dollars to go with our entree Nokhat, which we shared, which was another lamb dish and was good, far from great.
~Telling me about an app that is unavailable.
~Never refilling the water even though we asked in two languages on three different occasions.
~Not serving butter with our bread, yet other tables had it.
~Serving us cold bread, this is such a simple one. Just ask it to be reheated. Like I am not going to notice the difference?
~Two tables were drinking wine and beer, but there was no liquor license. The server fumbled with reasons why the patrons were having beer and wine with their meals, he seemed to not have an answer. The best understanding I got was that they sneaked it in and the business was too embarrassed to ask them to not drink it in their restaurant. really? I must have looked simple to this guy, in that he could fabricate any reason to answer any of my questions and I would buy it hook, line and sinker.
~We asked for the check three times and in two languages as we were running late for an event. The server goes to the back, which I has to assume to prepare the check as it was out third request. Instead he comes out with place settings and begins to ready a table for customers that were not there. This guy must be related to the ownership as he would be canned on the spot if he were working in most establishments.
~I am sure I am leaving out a few gems of his inability to serve, however I am growing weary of listing and discussing his ineptitude.
Geographical note: Kashkar is the westernmost Chinese city, located near the border with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan