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Half King: half-wits and horrors


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Half King: half-wits and horrors

Martha Gehan | Oct 5, 2000 02:38 PM

I had dinner last night at Half King with two friends, and while the food was quite good I think I can safely swear that I will never darken that particular doorway again. First, the service was staggeringly bad. It took our server three tries to get our wine order correct, and when she finally did appear with the proper bottle she almost immediately disappeared still holding it. Another very nice and helpful server tracked her, and the wine, down for us. This spacy waitress also tried to whisk away my friend's shepard's pie, which had about three bites out of it, when my friend for a nano-second put down her fork. And if it hadn't been for her colleague, we never would have gotten bread or water.

When the bill for $93.10 arrived, I handed over my credit card and shortly after received a charge slip for $21.65. I followed the waitress into the incredibly noisy bar (one had to practically shout to be heard) and pointed out that she had made an error in my favor of over $70. She and a man who another server informed me was one of the owners turned their backs to me and began poring over a computer screen. When, after 15 minutes they had not spoken to me (my friends were still stranded at the table), I approached them and said ,"Excuse me, but what is taking so long? All you have to do is void the charge and re-enter it." Did they apologize for keeping me cooling my heels with no explanation, or thank me for not simply walking out $70-plus to the good over the restaurant and/or server? NOOOOO..... instead, the man replied, "It's not so fucking simple." I began to shake I was so angry, and the good dinner I had eaten turned into a knot in my stomach. Had this boorish creep not been in possession of my American Express card, I would have walked out then and there.

Meanwhile, another waitress and a waiter were trying desperately to placate me, as if they knew full well what a sour jerk their boss was, apologizing, offering to buy us drinks, etc. At this point, some 30 minutes after I had brought the error to the hapless server's attention, all we wanted was OUT. The man in charge, after giving me his profanity-laced answer, sauntered to the bar, lit a cigarette and began chatting up some people sitting there. I approached him again, asking for my bill and card. I had to raise my voice to be heard over the din, but I was not shouting. And by this time I was pretty pissed off, so I am sure my tone of voice reflected that. He said the waitress had gone to another computer.

When the waitress reappeared with my card and bill, I added a $16.90 tip. My friends and I agreed that although the server had been mind-bogglingly incompetent she was not rude or malicious and in any case we hated to stiff anyone, especially if the tips might be pooled, since the other two servers had been so nice and tried to be helpful. I handed the bill to the owner and said, "I am not about to stiff the waitress because of you, but I think you owe me an apology." "What for?" "For mouthing off at me." "YOU, " he snarled, "were yelling at me." ( I suppose he thinks 'complaining' and 'yelling' are synonomous.) NEVER, EVER in my life have I been served up such shabby treatment, rudeness and attitude. What is this guy doing in the hospitality industry? Why would anyone want to go to this place?

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