Friday, March 6, 2009

Sending Back Food: B!tchy or Acceptable?

I'm eating spicy food this weeks in hopes it will encourage my baby to get the idea to leave my uterus- his due date was Wed. I got amazing spicy green curry from Little Thai Kitchen in Darien on Wed., so I dragged my husband and 2 friends back there last night. I wanted to try their other spicy dishes, so I ordered the Basil Beef, labeled spicy.
Waitress: "Is spicy OK?"
Me: "Oh YES, spicy is OK. I want it spicy."
Waitress: "You want it extra spicy?"
Me: "Sure, just a little extra." I was assuming it would be as spicy as the curry- it didn't make me sweat, but it made my mouth burn pleasantly.
When my basil beef arrived, not only was there not much basil flavor, it wasn't spicy at all. "I think I want to send it back," I said. "There is just no reason for me to eat this. I'm not paying 15 bucks for pointless food."

We motioned the waitress over. "This isn't spicy at all," I started.
"Oh, OK, I'll fix it."
"Actually, can I just order a new dish? I really need spicy food because I'm trying to induce my own labor." (I feel people at tables near me turn to look at me- it's a tiny resto.) "Can I just get the spicy green curry? I got that yesterday and it was great."
"Sure," she said, not seeming too irritated with me.

"You know," my husband said to me after the waitress walked off, "you really don't need to tell everyone-"
Me, snarling, lunging slightly across table: "I'll do whatever I want."

It was OK that I sent that food back, right? It was wrong on two levels: not spicy, and not very basil-y. I love basil, so had it been basil-y, it might have been worth sacrificing the spice level.
It was nice of her to offer to fix the dish, but you can't just throw in some peppers, and if they were going to cook a whole new dish, they might as well make me the one I knew I should have gone with in the first place. My two friends got curries (Massaman and Red) and they looked and tasted amazing, so I'm thinking you simply can't go wrong with curry from Little Thai Kitchen. My spicy green curry, when it came out ten minutes later, was a smidge spicier than Wed. It made me sweat a little, and it was delicious.

Does anyone else have any gossipy "sending food back" stories from local restos? I'd love to hear that I'm not the only one who believes that if you pay for food, it should be the quality you expect.


Anonymous said...

it is *perfectly* acceptable to return a dish that doesn't meet your expectations, especially when the waitress asks you specifically what level of spice you desire. sounds like it was her fault for not communicating that to the kitchen. we've sent back food plenty of times when it's not what we asked for or the quality is poor.

btw, doesnt your hubby know that we women get dangerous in the 4th trimester? after 10 months of carrying another human around 24/7, we can pretty much do and say whatever we want - thank you very much! =)

mistersquid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mistersquid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mistersquid said...

Asserting that it's OK to act in a particular way because of the biochemistry of pregnancy is like saying it's OK for XYY males to kill others because their systems produce extraordinary amounts of testosterone.

That said, pregnant women do deserve consideration for their biological and psychological dispositions. That doesn't mean pregnant women don't commit social faux pas, sometimes compounded by the public scolding of a loved one.

I hate to call you out, but I do want to encourage you not to air personal acrimony in public. The only sure outcome of such behavior is built up resentment, something no one needs given the demands you both (three) will soon be going through.

Of course, I understand there may be much more to this incident than meets the eye. People sometimes unthinkingly silence their partners both in remarks and replies.

I just wanted to say encourage you to extend your powers of forget so that forgiving isn't even an issue.

Loren said...

Pre-congrats on your impending son first. I follow your blog and one other Stamford blog on occasion, seeing as I work in Stamford and have for the last 9 years. It just amazes what people comment on in such skewed directions from the actual topic. Sort of like me now!

Of course it's OK to send food back. Anywhere, anytime and any place. It's YOUR right as a paying customer.

BTW, you need spicy? Try and find some authentic Pho. It'll have you contracting in no time.

Good luck!

Jonathan "JR" said...

If you want something truly spicy, go to Coromandel in Darien and order anything Phaal. Make sure you tell them to keep it HOT and not to dull it down for the American palate. That stuff is so hot it'll send your husband into labor.

Whitemist said...

Since I have worked ALL sides of the fence (including straddling it) I would tell you to send it back. They blew it.
What sides of the fence you ask? Manager at night, customer, friend of the chef and Health Investigator. Some cooks/chefs act childish, but most do not (yes, there are times the horror stories are true, I have caught some of them professionally and they have lost their right to work in this town). I also know that most cooks don't give a rats rear end how many times they have to make something as long as their manager (thus the customer) is happy in the end (this is not true of chefs, they usually have an attitude and it takes a good manager to deal with them).
Anyway best of luck to you.