At a midtown restaurant last week, I ordered corn soup.
It was pretty good, except for the pieces of plastic in it. These had the texture of drinking straws, or perhaps shattered plastic fork, or even squid quills – thin, not too sharp, not especially dangerous. They wouldn’t have broken a tooth, but they wouldn’t have been pleasant to swallow; they certainly were not pleasant to find in my mouth. There were two of them. In about four, maybe five ounces of soup. Which means there were probably quite a few of them in the pot.
I handed them to the server: “You might want to show these to the chef,” I said. “They were in the soup.” She barely flinched, then proceeded to ignore us for the rest of the meal. (Quite literally: A runner brought our second courses, and she only asked if we wanted coffee after I’d asked for the check.)
As we were leaving a manager came over. “Sorry about the stuff in your soup,” he said. “The chef is investigating right now, and we’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
This didn’t exactly inspire confidence. And no, they didn’t take the soup off the bill (in my view, the absolute minimum they could have done, along with a more sincere and immediate apology, if they wanted to seem like a class act), and they didn’t provide a drop of other consolation.
Last night, with the opportunity to go back there, I went to Ma Peche instead. (And it was fabulous. It’s getting better by the week, it seems.)
My questions are these (of course they’re all things I thought of after the fact):
- what more should I have done? After all, other people were going to eat this soup too. Should I have gone into the kitchen and insisted witnessing either a re-straining of the soup (not much good, now that I think of it, since there were pieces of corn in there) or a pouring of it down the drain?
- should I have raised some kind of stink? (“Everyone here! Don’t order the soup!”)
- should I be publishing the name of this place?
- should I have called them and asked for something for me and my guest?
- or what?
I find these intersting questions, both in my role as a citizen and as a person whose name carries a little influence in this industry.