Reading the thread about service/lack of same at another restaurant reminded me of an experience in the previous summer when, as a comped guest at Bellagio in Las Vegas, I had dined twice in two months at Jean George's steak restaurant "Prime." It was in general very good, but there were some service and food issues; and I wrote about these to Jean-Georges, stressing that I had not paid for the meals, and that I had enjoyed both evenings, but also simply passing my observations as I felt fairly sure that he didn't have the opportunity to visit his Vegas operation all that often.
Within a week his Exec Asst had written to thank me for the letter and state JG's appreciation. Moreover, he invited me to bring a guest to any of their restaurants and enjoy a meal on the house as a sign of his appreciation.
While this was entirely unnecessary (and unasked for) I though it was a thoughtful and generous response, a mature attitude to criticism quite at variance with the de haut en bas attitudes of some great chefs.
Accordingly my Mother and I enjoyed a wonderful pre-theatre dinner with many wines and incredible service at Jean-Georges itself when we were in Manhattan this Spring. We not only thought the restaurant was first rate, but were struck by the spirit of the employees, the tone of the service being relaxed yet formal - a hard combination to bring off.
I was back at Bellagio this summer. For your possible interest, many of the service issues seemed resolved -but the chef in residence there still hasn't a clue what constitutes a potato gratin ! Maybe too much to expect in Vegas.
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