What's the Best Way to Send Food Back at a Restaurant?
Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Miss a question? Go here.
We've all been there: hungrily taking the first bite of our food at a restaurant when -- uh-oh -- something's not right.
How to get the food you're paying for back on the right track without pissing off your server, the kitchen, or all of the above? Here's what Valley chefs and restaurateurs recommend as the best course of action.
Start out by politely explaining the problem and stating the desired outcome. If a dish is incorrectly prepared, it should be corrected promptly. If you don't like what you ordered, most good restaurants will substitute at no additional charge. What you should not do is sit there dissatisfied and then go Yelp about it. That is simply unfair. Give the restaurant the opportunity to make things right.
Ask for a manager and ask for a specific resolution to the problem. Don't be a martyr and suffer silently and then go home and Yelp about it.
Gently, very gently! Please, do not hold the kitchen responsible for your tasting palate. When a dish leaves the kitchen, it's cooked to the chef's specification. Cooks make mistakes! Overcooked and undercooked food will embarrass the kitchen and should be rectified right away. Tastes are very personal. One's medium is another's raw! One's salty is another's bland! Give them an opportunity to make it up to you.
As soon as the guest has a problem, they should send it back to the kitchen -- right after the first few bites or even after a brief look or smell. The moment they decide they don't (or won't) like the food, they should immediately address the issue.