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Disappointment at Orso - what to do when encountering poor service?

jacinthe | Jun 16, 2003 02:43 PM

Saturday night, felt like Italian, and so made reservations at Orso on 3rd Street. The food was perfectly decent - we started with a soup (which unfortunately I can't remember, had sausage in it?) and the radicchio salad. He had the 4 seasons thin crust pizza while I had the saffron risotto. No dessert, reasons why to be explained.

The problem wasn't in the food, which hit the spot, but rather the service, which was just the worst I've experienced in a long time. We really couldn't figure out why, then attributed it to the fact that we were considerably younger than the average age of the clientele dining that night, being in our early 20s. Our waitress said no more than 10 words to us: "What would you like to drink?" and "Ready to order?" until we got our check. The appetizers came out promptly, but there was at least a 30-minute lapse before the entrees came out (served by another waiter, incidentally). No apologies, no offers to refill water/get another drink, no perfunctory "is everything to your liking?" Maybe I'm imagining things, but I swear she would pause at our table for an infintesimal quarter of a second, or glance over, and then continue on our way, completely ignoring us. It would be one thing if she treated all her tables in this manner, but it was only ours - the tables to either side of us got smiles, conversation, water refills. Needless to say, we did not order dessert - not wanting to be there until midnight - and we were out of there like a flash.

My instinct was to complain on the spot, to find the manager during that 30-minute lapse and request a change of waiter, prompter service, anything. Or to fling my risotto at the waitress, but that might have been a bit immature. My boyfriend, on the other hand, said that our food at least arrived warm, that complaining only soothes the complainer and wouldn't really garner us anything, and that he would leave a minimal tip and she would get the message.

In a similar situation, what do you think is the best recourse? To complain, either during the meal, on the way out, or afterwards, or to just let it go and never return again?

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