We get all kinds of mail that isn't printed in the newspaper. Some of it, like the letter that follows, would require a lot of time to document because it is so potentially damaging. For that reason, I've changed the name of the restaurant in this letter, but I wanted to share it as an example of the kind of thing I hear regularly from readers:
"Last week, my girlfriend Tracy and I decided to try XYZ. She
is a veggie, and I appreciate veg/vegan food.
"The restaurant only had 1 table seated, and it still took about 7-8
minutes for our server to show up. She then explained that about 50 percent of the menu wasn't available- no biggie. We ordered their appetizer sampler and a salad.
"The salad came out first. On it were the mushiest fried plantains
I've ever had, old/spoiled canned pineapple, and some actually tasty jerk soy-chicken. The pineapple and plantains had us picking at the soy-chicken and a few of the greens. The bell peppers were soft,
wrinkling, some still had parts of the stem on and looked as if cut
by child-proof scissors.
"While picking at what we could of the salad, we were visited by our
newest friend, a tiny mouse named Mr. Jonathan [pictured here].
Mr. Jonathan's scurrying and curiosity kept us entertained for about
10 minutes, until our appetizer plate arrived. At any respectable place, I would have canceled our order and left, but judging by our service and salad, we could tell this is a place without respect for food or
"The appetizer platter arrived in all of its deep-friedness. The side
sauces were actually decent, but the bites, nuggets, wings and some weird deep fried overripe avocado something hit the stomach like a
ton of bricks. They had tempura peppers that were the same mushy bell peppers lightly battered, and they had strips of celery that looked
like they were cut by a blind man with a hand saw. A few unwashed
grapes also sat on the plate.
"After picking at what we could eat on the appetizer platter, Tracy
went back to picking at the jerk-chicken from the salad. All of a
sudden, she grabbed her mouth, squeaked (no, it wasn't Mr. Jonathan) and proclaimed that something just stabbed her! She rushed to the
bathroom and had to remove some sort of stick from the inside of her now bloody mouth. It may have been a piece of hard stem from some thyme, but she was punctured and bleeding nonetheless.
"Our server returned, I explained about the old pineapple on the salad, and asked for the check. She left and said she would "discount" it for us. She came back with the bill and 25 percent was taken off the salad that was 75 percent untouched. Normally, I would have said just take the whole thing off, but between a bleeding mouth, our new friend Mr. Jonathan, a deep-fried belly coma and not wanting to wait for anything else, we wanted to cut out quick.
"XYZ could be the worst food experience I have ever had in
Atlanta. They have no respect for food quality, preparation, no
respect for service, and as much as we enjoyed Mr. Jonathan, he is a rodent in a restaurant."
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