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Is good sushi worth bad service?


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Is good sushi worth bad service?

sternm1 | Aug 7, 2008 12:38 PM

This morning I am struggling with this very question, and have decided that when it comes to Chicago, there are plenty of fish in the sea!

Last night I had an unfortunate run in with the manager at Bob San. First, let me preface this story by saying my wife and I have dined there multiple times, and enjoy sushi probably once a week. However, we will not be going back.

It all began one week ago when I ordered a bottle of Saki, and then only drank one glass of it. I thought I could simply take it home with me. However, it turns out Bob San doesn't allow its customers to leave with sealed bottles of alcohol, like other restaurants. Details aside, the manager agreed to begrudgingly save the bottle "for seven days." No more, no less. And, if my wife and I wanted to dine within that allotted period of time, the bottle would be on ice for us.

Based on this compromise, we decided to enjoy another meal at Bob San five days later. We had appetizers, salads, oyster shooters, sashimi and a variety of rolls. And, the manager had kept her word. The Saki was waiting for me. I had two glasses, but of course could not finish the bottle. Good thing I had two more days, right? Not exactly. The manager - who is a bit lacking in interpersonal skills - came over and disappointedly berated me for not finishing the Saki. She then revisited how lucky I was that she had made an exception in the first place. And, that she would never do this for me again. Regardless, I told her that I'm just living up to the agreement, and that I have two more days to enjoy my Saki. In fact, my wife and I were going to stop by on Friday (that would have been our third visit in one week!). Instead, the manager stormed off with the bottle.

Beside myself, I paid the check (it was our server's first night, and she did a lovely job). On the way out, I saw the manager holding my bottle of Saki and talking to another server about it. I interjected and told her to throw the bottle away. Being scolded in public for not finishing my bottle, like a little child, wasn't worth the $30 I paid for it. I also explained that because of her rude display of "customer service" we would not be dining with Bob San again. It's really a shame because the sushi is very good. And, this was an opportunity for the manager to establish a relationship that could have yielded several incremental visits. In fact, had it been handled correctly, we would have dined there three times in one week! Talk about Return on Investment.

Instead, like many passionate diners, I'm taking my story to the blogosphere and sharing it with my friends who also live in the area. Do I feel like I'll miss out on Bon San sushi? Not really.

Does anyone else agree that good sushi isn't worth bad service?

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