My 22 year old son has a new girlfriend and wanted to take her someplace special (romantic) for Valentine's Day. He asked my advice. I mentioned several favorite spots and included Al's as having a great view but so-so food. It was not high on my list.
Sadly, Al's was his choice. He checked the website and found their V-Day package. Four course meal with wine, champagne, and beer. $125 for two. He phoned.
"Do you have a credit card?" (Answer was yes.) "Go to our website and see what we offer."
He already had, but he checked again. Phoned the website's number and the same woman answered. "Didn't I just talk with you?"
She took his card number and made the reservation. Son and date arrived on time and were taken to a small room with four tables - NOT the main dining room with the cityscape view. Very cramped. He and date were seated next to a half-wall hiding a servers' station.
Son noticed that the other tables held only young couples. The room included - get this! - a TV showing regional sports! Others in the room commmented about the odd coincidence that everyone there was under thirty. He decided not to spoil his sweetie's dinner by complaining, and said the server was obviously aware of the age-ist segregation. She did her best to make the young couples happy.
I'm more displeased about this situation than he is. My child is no gourmand, but he was reared with good taste and good manners. I can't describe how much he was looking forward to impressing his date. His $125 was the same as anyone else's in the place, yet I feel he was treated very poorly. Because of his youth. Outrageous!
On top of that, he said there was an inter-racial couple there, seated off in a dead-end corner that almost looked like a broom closet.
I've never before heard of such treatment. Chowhound posters have tried to steer diners toward better venues. I'd like to take it a step further.
Do NOT spend your dining dollars at Al's Upatairs Italian. Please. Friends don't let friends eat there.
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