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Book & the Cook Dinner - NXNW - service debacle!

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Book & the Cook Dinner - NXNW - service debacle!

Katie Benes | Mar 31, 2002 04:08 PM

Hi All:

Sorry it's taken me so long to report on this but I've been working the long hours. I'll try to start at the beginning. I met my dining companion at the restaurant about 15 minutes late for our 8:00 PM reservation (I had called to inform the restaurant I was running late and to please tell my friend if she was waiting at the bar for me as planned). We were seated fairly quickly, but it took the waitress 20 minutes to acknowlege our presence. By that time we had chosen a bottle of wine (A Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel which was a great deal at around $35.00). The wine came fairly quickly but we had to wait another 10 minutes for wine glasses because "the glasses were all in the dishwasher". By the time the stemware arrived I had opened the bottle myself and was ready to swig right out of it, as was my dining companion. The water we asked for never arrived. We asked again. We started on the wine and waited another 10 minutes for the waitress to take our order. We had a choice of a three course dinner for $25.00 or a five course dinner for $35.00. We decided to splurge since both the soup and salad courses looked interesting. We ordered 2 pate for a first course, two oyster-chive soups for the second course, two fennel/beet salads for the third course, 1 chicken with cumin & coriander and 1 roast pork loin for the 4th course and 2 different desserts. The pate came out no problem and was delicious. It took a while to get the soups and when they finally arrived they were quite cold. We sent them back and they were returned lukewarm. Wishing to still leave the restaurant while we were young, we decided not to say anything more about the soup. The next course that arrived after a long wait was - THE ENTREES! Our salad course was completely skipped over! At this point the waitress was getting really embarassed, especially after she asked how everything was and we told her we never received our salad course. The food was delicious, but the service (not the waitress, but the kitchen) was atrociously poorly handled. While we had our dessert and coffee, the featured cookbook author (Valerie Nehez - she's very nice and quite talented in her use of interesting spices) came and chatted with us for a few minutes. I purchased her book and am looking forward to having time to recreate some of the dishes we tried that evening. When the check came the restaurant had deducted $5.00 off each of our meals to make up for the salads we never received. All in all dinner was very tasty, but it seems to me that if a restaurant can't handle a special event of that magnitude, they simply shouldn't participate. The restaurant wasn't *that* busy either, especially since we were one of the last people to leave at about 11:30 PM. Our dinner had taken 3.25 hours to complete. Had I not had other pleasant meals at NXNW in the past I would NEVER go back after the experince during Book & the Cook. I hope they have learned something from the experience and will be better able to create a pleasant dining experience/better service in the future.

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