Sorry Won’t Unburn My Steak

Remember when I made you a guide of “13 Things to Remember Next Time You Dine Out”? This weekend I utilized that.

I met my boyfriend, brother, and his friend for dinner. It took us a half hour to decide where to go at 7:30PM on a Saturday night, when half of the town was wanting to do the same. I was finally able to book a reservation at one of three steakhouses in Fargo, ND, remembering what my colleagues had told me about each one’s reputation and their suggestion of where to go.

7:45PM

We arrived at the steakhouse with smiles and growling stomachs.

7:50PM

By this time, we were seated and already enjoying ice cold beverages. I finally put my indecisiveness behind me, and without even asking the server to choose for me, I ordered a delicious, bacon-wrapped sirloin—medium well—with parmesan crust and loaded mashed potatoes. I’ll also admit that I ordered the same meal to-go in order to get the outstanding two-for-however-much-money deal. (No one else wanted to be my date that night).

8:10PM

We’d realize later that our choice to order appetizers first would be a crucial piece to our evening. Arriving promptly at our table, I admitted aloud that the spinach dip was the best I’d had in the tri-state area. (Yes—I’ve done some traveling for my favorite app; it’s an obsession.)

8:25PM

Fifteen minutes into eating our appetizer, our server stopped by to apologize and inform us that our salads would be out shortly.

8:35PM

Upon arrival, we ate our salads, sipped drinks, and dreamt of the juicy steaks we had splurged on in celebration of reuniting (my brother being a student at the U of M and myself, now residing in Fargo.)

In the meantime, we talked about the stories I’d been writing lately, including the one about feederism, as well as my perspective of being a server—the article called “13 Things to Remember Next Time You Dine Out.” We discussed that being raised in the Midwest gave us strong morals and total embarrassment in the presence of those that make a scene at restaurants as a way to get anything free. We admitted, no matter how bad the food was at a restaurant, none of us would ever be honest enough to speak up for fear of appearing rude.

Being sports fans, the boys laughed at my fifth point to remember:

Well-done=higher anticipation. Remember, when you order a well-done burger or steak, you entire table’s food will be delayed. Be patient, we are doing the best we can to provide you with your high quality hockey puck.

Haha “hockey puck.”

9:10PM

It wasn’t until an hour and twenty minutes after being seated that our steaks finally hit the table. Mind you, at this time, the place was nearly dead. Our bellies, having been empty since 9AM, were eating themselves and encouraged us to dig in and devour what had waited so long to enjoy.

9:15PM

All three sirloins turned out well-done, despite ordering them at medium and medium well, but the prime rib was the worst. Ordered as medium rare, there wasn’t an ounce of pink (or blood) found on that stab. That’s pretty disappointing when you’re coughing up $27.99.

The whole thing was ironic. We were served hockey pucks, as if it was karma. All four of us looked at each other and agreed we were not about to complain.

It became a joke at first. My brother laughed, wondering how rude it would be to request all steak sauces available. His friend chimed in, joking, “Do you think I could get a sharper knife?”

9:25PM

After the tears (from laughter) resided, we worked up the nerve to express our disappointment with our server. My younger—and very wise—brother tactfully explained, “All of our steaks came out beyond well done. We don’t want new steaks (because we had already waited an hour and twenty minutes), but we just wanted to let you know for the future. We came to a steakhouse tonight to get a decent steak. Other customers might not react so kindly.”

The server took our plates, as per our request. Expressing sincere apologies, she told us she would talk to her manager about what they could do. Twenty minutes later, with no sign of a higher management in sight, our server brought out two enormous pieces of cake as an apology. We ate vigorously, debating whether our stomachs might collapse from hunger if we didn’t. But it wasn’t the same… our bodies were craving protein, not filler food.

9:30PM

Our checks were brought out and—to no surprise—were full price (minus our comped desserts.) After paying our $93 tab for two people, I asked for the manager, who had yet to stop by. I informed her of my eight years of restaurant experience and awareness that “shit happens.” I just wanted her to know, while our server was very accomodating, we were disappointed in the food item they pride themselves on. She told us to have a good night and that she would talk with back-of-the-house during the next meeting to make sure they were on the same page.

Enter rage.

9:40PM

My boyfriend, who is always level-headed and extremely reserved, signed his tab (tipping a full 20% to show that it wasn’t the waitress that made the mistake) and stabbed the pen into our free cheesecake—verbalizing his idea of “f&*% you.”

Driving home with a confusing mix of emotions, we laughed, and screamed, and became more enraged. “After waiting that long, I guess I just expected it to come out like an Applebee’s sizzler,” my brother vented.

After arriving home, he decided to take our night to upper management. He wrote an email spilling the thoughts he had bottled up all throughout dinner. Classy was no longer attached to his name.

Moral of the story is… this is what you’re going to want to write after a situation like this (my brother did):

Complaint

But, regardless of your skyrocketing level of anger, don’t let it get beyond your control. As I mentioned previously, my brother and other guests at my table Saturday night are polite beyond words. It’s amazing what can happen when you feel you’ve been ripped off… and not taken seriously. But please, keep composure.

In this case, it wasn’t the servers fault that our food came out wrong, she offered to have them remade. It wasn’t the cooks fault that the steaks were overcooked, the kitchen may have left them under the heat lamp too long. The fault lies with the manager, in this instance. A sincere apology goes a long way. If my table of four would have been invited back with a coupon or free app for next time, we might have forgiven the situation. In this case, you’ve lost four customers and sparked conversation about unprofessional dining experience.
See you never, _____ Steakplace.

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