The other day I went to the highly regarded restaurant, Campanile. I ordered the Kansas City Steak and my dining companion had the Fish soup (bouillabaisse). When the dishes were brought to us we noticed a hair on the lobster shell in the fish stew, and promtly notified our waiter. After he suggested it was a crack in the shell, he gave it a closer look and took it away. Being a gentleman, I did not continue eating while my companion sat without food. We did however, both nibble a bit on my steak. After about several minutes our waiter returned the Fish Soup sans hair. He did apologize a couple time during the course of the meal. Needless to say, buy this time, my meal had cooled to a less than ideal temperature, but I didn't bring this to the attention of our waiter. I suppose all they can do is reheat it, and I don't like subjecting medium rare steaks to that. Our dinner continued as expected, and we shared a dessert afterwards.
Now I ask of you more sophisticated, experienced, and well-ettiquited diners. What would you have done in my situation? I half expect a high caliber and recent recipient of a James Beard Award to at least comp us for dessert. I'm not the begging type, so I would not have asked for it. I realize that hair in a dish isn't a completly unexpected occurance. In fact, I can think of at least two places (that are well thought of by members of this board) that I have found stray hair in my food. But this IS Campanile. Yes, they did replace the food (whether he merely removed the offending piece and placed it under a heat lamp for effect, I'll never know), but it did ruin the whole dining experience.
After recieving the check would you pull the waiter aside, and say, "Hey you shouldn't charge us for dessert"? Would ask for the manager and tell them? Like I said before, I'm not the begging or complaining type and don't like to make a big deal at a restaurant in the presence of my dinner date. But considering how many times it happens to me (or am I that unlucky??), I'm certain it happens to some of you. What do you do when it's in a "nice" restaurant??
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