Not About Food 15

Botched reservation at Chez L'Ami Jean

mzoler | Jun 10, 200802:39 PM

Having read so many raves about Chez L'Ami Jean in Paris here, I feel I need to pass along my disappointing and distressing experience there. I called about 10 days in advance to make a reservation for 12 people, clearly saying when I spoke that the reservation was for douze. I also asked (in French) whether reserving for this many people would pose a problem and was told no. As requested, I then called back the morning of the reservation day to confirm, and repeated that the party included douze personnes. When I arrived that evening, I was told that they had made the reservation for deux, and so could not accomodate us. This was remarkable in two ways. First, I was incredulous that they could have mistaken my douze for deux, especially when I took pains to emphasize the "z" both times that I called. Also, when we arrived, at 7:30 PM, there were serveral tables vacant. I asked the owner (the chef) to seat us despite the mistake that his staff had made and he refused. After all, the mistake was his staff's, and hence his, and not mine. He clearly placed a higher priority on seating his other parties than mine. To his credit, I suppose, he walked us to another place across the street, L'Agassin (8 rue Malar), which was decent, but I was very disappointed that my friends and I were unable to try Chez L'Ami Jean. My feeling is that since the tables for us were vacant when we arrived and because the communication error was entirely due to the restaurant staff they should have acknowledged that they were wrong and seated us. The people who arrived later could have just as easily been walked across the street.

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