04 July 2007

Crave in Akron, or, "How Not to Run a Restaurant"

For those that know us, it's no secret that the hubby and I love food, eating out, and everything to go with it. We especially love it when we don't have to entertain Little Man while enjoying it (as absolutely great as he is at most restaurants), so when we had a chance for a night out alone while visiting the families back in Akron we jumped at it.

We had heard good things about this relatively new place called Crave. In fact, even my very meat-and-potatoes Midwestern parents raved about their experience when they went for my brother's birthday back in Jan. Mix the good reviews with an interestingly ambitious menu, and we thought it would be a great night.

It started off just fine. Despite the fact that the place needs some nice tablecloths to get rid of the fast-food table feel, the decor was pleasantly funky. After I got over my initial disappointment that the menu wasn't the same one on their website and ordered a deliciously potent martini with the name "Mama's got a Squeeze Vox," we settled in for a relaxing, child-free dinner. We started with a homey appetizer of granny-smith potato pancakes served with both curry and coconut sauces as a garnish. The salads were delicious. The Hubby got one with some sort of tasty Mojito vinaigrette and I ordered the melon maple vinaigrette. Yumm. And what could be better than tasty food with a happy little martini buzz?

But then came the main courses. H's looked great-- he ordered the seared sea scallop special. Mine, however, not so much. My Chihuahua and manchengo stuffed chicken breast was looking a little more carbonized than caramelized. I politely asked the waitress if it was supposed to be that black and she assured me was not, took it away and started another. A few minutes later she returned apologetically to tell me that the chicken would take about 15-18 minutes and asked if I'd like to order something else. I asked for the menu to take another look, but the manager brought it over instead.

Now here's what is supposed to happen when something is wrong with your food--I mean, my fingers are black from the burntness wrong. The manager is supposed to say something along the lines of "I'm so sorry about the problem, let us take care of it, what can I do for you?" Especially when said customer is paying about $20 for a simple little chicken breast over rice.

Apparently things are done a little differently at Crave. Their manager informed me that another chicken was already being prepared (i.e., don't bother even looking for something else) and that, just for my information, there was nothing actually wrong with the chicken.


I was so dumbfounded that the first thing my spineless little ass thought to do was blame the waitress: "but I only asked....she was the one who took my food away..."

And then the Hubby and I thought about it. And it got funnier...and funnier...and funnier. Because who does that?! Tells the customer that she is, in fact, misinformed and instructs her about what, exactly, it means to pan sear something.

I'm thinking, Lady... You're an idiot. I know how to pan sear. Baby bro taught me all about it ("you get the pan smokin' hot...). Hell, anyone who has ever watched foodtv knows what it means to pan sear something.

But it gets funnier--it turns out that she does this a lot. In the words of our wonderful and understanding waitress, "she gets worked up some times." Oh-- and she's not the manager...she's the co-owner.

I'm thinking that I have to say something on my way out. So I tell her that in all the places I've ever eaten I've never been treated that way and won't be coming back. STILL no apology. With a look of utter shock she says, "well I was just trying to tell you how we cook things."

I've gotta say- this does not look like a restaurant that's going to make it. I mean, come on. You're a quasi- upscale restaurant in Akron, OH. You are not doing me a favor by allowing me to dine at your establishment. The salads just weren't that good.

1 comment:

Madelia said...

You write very well.