I'll admit that I've never been a regular at Sarge's. The last time I was there (before last week) was many years ago. I remember a brightly-lit, bustling place with enthusiastic service, terrific pickles and coleslaw and really great deli sandwiches. Last week, I was wandering the neighborhood in search of lunch - actually craving a burger and fries, not a deli sandwich - and went into Sarge's. It appeared to me to be half the size of the place I remembered and I was a bit nervous about ordering anything at all. The tables were only about 30% occupied and I was seated quickly, but waited for attention for quite a while. A waitress handed me a limp, stained, photocopied page for my perusal and quickly walked away.
About 5 minutes later, she stopped schmoozing with her co-workers long enough to come back and take my order: burger deluxe and unsweetened iced tea. "Ham or cheese?" she asked, which confused me. Usually, it's "What kind of cheese?" isn't it? Anyway, neither, thanks. So perhaps that's where I made my mistake -- in not ordering corned beef, pastrami or roast beef. Dunno.
Another 5 minutes passed and a busser dropped off a bowl of coleslaw, topped with two pickles, along with knife, fork and napkin. No small dish, no glass of water. While I was waiting, a couple of construction types came in, stood behind my table and discussed ripping out the chair rail, new booths, etc. I don't think it's going to help.
About 10 minutes later, I caught her eye while she continued to do pretty much nothing. Something may have clicked at that point. She finally came back with my lunch order after another 3 or 4 minutes, mumbled, "Sorry," as she shoved the plate in front of me and hurried off. So I guess she was physically able to move quickly, just not predisposed to do so in the performance of her job.
The pickles were okay, the coleslaw inedible, the burger was only so-so, and the fries - cottage fries, not french fries - kind of lumpy-looking and mushy in texture. Naturally, the waitress waited until I had a mouthful of food and then rushed up to me. "How's everything? Everything good?" I began to gesture but, before I could swallow what was in my mouth, she disappeared again, to go chat with her colleagues.
I ate about half of what was presented to me and gestured to her, actually succeeding in getting her attention, to ask for the check. She didn't ask me if there was anything wrong and didn't seem interested in returning to the table to clear or to take my money. So I went up front and waited to pay while the two women running the two registers tended to other matters.
I don't think even Gordon Ramsay would be able to do anything with Sarge's at this point.
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