I had a terribly disappointing experience at Otto earlier this month that I wanted to get off my chest.
I've been a regular at Otto since they opened, back when it wasn't hard to get a table because their initial reviews were so poor. Since I've sampled every meatless pizza on their menu over that time (I'm a vegetarian), I'm always happy when they have a special that allows me to try something new.
On this visit, they had a weekly special pizza with about 5 toppings, one of which was ham. I ordered the pizza and asked for it without the ham, something I've done there before with no problem. To my shock, the waiter returned to tell me that the kitchen REFUSED to make the pizza without ham, and I would have to change my order.
I asked to speak with the manager and explained the situation. He offered no help at all -- he just kept insisting I order one of the regular menu pizzas I'd had many times before, and told me firmly that I had no options or choice at all. When I told him that I had been a loyal customer for as long as the restaurant had been there but might not be a loyal customer any more, he became quite snide and suggested we leave the restaurant at once if we weren't happy with the experience. I was deeply shocked; I've never received treatment like that at any restaurant.
I'm just appalled at the general rudeness of this experience. I realize that chefs often can't accomodate vegetarians -- for example, it's unreasonable for a vegetarian to go to a restaurant during Restaurant Week and try to make substitutions on the prix fixe menu. But this is different. I could just have easily picked the ham off the pizza myself (and might have, except that after being treated so shabbily I would rather have eaten nails than this pizza). It's outrageous for the kitchen to insist that the pizza "can't" be made without ham when a paying customer politely requests it be made with the other 4 toppings for the same price. And it's even more disgusting for the manager to be absive about it.
As someone who always considered Otto one of my favorite neighborhood places, I feel hurt and betrayed. I'd like to let someone in charge know that they've lost a loyal customer for life, but in the meantime I can let all of you know for what it's worth.
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