Restaurants & Bars 8

Great Sage (grumpy post)

Warthog | Aug 5, 2005 09:14 AM

In my limited experience, I've come across two kinds of vegetarian/vegan/organic restaurants.

The first kind takes the attitude that the focus is on good food that happens to be vegetarian, and oh, by the way, dear customer, since veggies are generally less expensive than many of the critter-derived alternatives, vegetarian is good for you and cost effective, too!

The other kind takes the view that hey, we're vegetarian, we're vegan, we're organic, we're saving the world, and you, dear customer, should of course expect to pay a premium for righteousness. Sadly, Great Sage seems to fall into the latter category. But even that can be forgiven if superior food backs up the superior attitude.

I'd like to give a review beyond the soup (Bombay spinach soup - quite tasty), but after an hour wait (not from time of seating, but from time of order!!!!), with one dinner out of two that were supposed to be hot arriving lukewarm at best, I don't think I could be fair. I had the mezze platter as an entree following the amply portioned bowl of soup, so room temperature was appropriate on mine. The one hot dinner that arrived hot was deemed quite tasty by my friend.

Despite that, the wait for the arrival of our meals had exceeded my friends' patience level - I've not ever seen my dining companions so angry before at a restaurant's performance. The waitress did offer to reheat the cold dinner, or to have the cook whip up a new one, but my companion declined, commenting "I'm not sure we'll live long enough to see it come back!" We had reached the point where all one wants to do is suffer through it and go home.

To the credit of the waitstaff, there were multiple apologies from multiple waitrons, and *ALL* the dinners were comped (not just the incorrectly cold one), so all we paid for was the more timely and temperature-appropriate soups.

I got the distinct impression that there is a significant problem on the management side, that there is also substantial turn-over in the kitchen, and that this has been going on for some time. The waitstaff, who bear the brunt of the customers' wrath, were polite but appear to be on the verge of revolt. We were STRONGLY encouraged to document our experience on a comment card. It sounds like management is in denial, and the waitstaff is trying to collect a sufficient body of evidence to press their case.

I felt like giving our chief apologist a hug, because the strain of the night was evident on her face, and it seemed pretty clear that grovelling to beg forgiveness for things beyond her control was becoming far too common an occurrence in her professional life. She recognized my companions from prior visits, and implored them to "keep the faith for a couple weeks more - things are gonna change."

Despite all that, this place has been around a while, and seems to have a lot of promise. My companions agree, going back again and again after various disappointing experiences. They even put their address and phone number on the comment card, with a request to "Let us know when things get settled." Could somebody willing to take a chance in a few weeks please post to let the rest of us know when it's safe to try again?

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