Breaking up is hard to do

by aJ GAZMEN ツ GucciBeaR

I just had my second bad experience at what was — up until now — my favorite Thai restaurant in DC. Nava Thai in Wheaton has some of the consistently best tasting pad thai around. As a Seattle-ite, having a go-to Thai place in whatever city I’m in (New Delhi included) has always been a must.

Last time I was there, I ordered the pad see ew only to be served pad thai. I didn’t mind, since I like the latter, but I let the wait staff know. They apologized, but I kept my order and paid for it.

This time, I decided to give the pad see ew another go. It arrived 20 minutes after I ordered it (during lunch hour!) burnt. The tofu, noodle, and vegetable pieces were literally charred. I bit into them and tasted a smokiness that I am sure was unintentional.

After several attempts at flagging down a waiter, the hostess came by and I explained what was wrong. The waitress arrived, too, and promptly took the dish. (I have a feeling she knew it was burnt, and the dish was smothered in extra sauce as an attempt to hide this fact.)

I declined another one, since my husband had to get back to work, and asked for spring rolls to munch on. I was charged for them, and paid. I suppose a mom-and-pop can’t afford to offer up a free dish.

But I got no apology this time, and as I munched on my oily spring rolls, I decided I was done with Nava Thai. I really do like the restaurant for its food and ambiance. But service matters.

When I pay $15-20 to eat out, I expect decent service. The food is important, but I am a good enough cook to know that good food alone isn’t enough to rationalize that cost.

I don’t want to be a snobby diner, and I try consistently to check myself when I am getting irked by small mistakes. Everyone makes them and everyone deserves a break.

But after reading Bruce Buschel’s 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do in the New York Times, I have realized that wait staff are there to make you feel waited on. And if they don’t, you have every right never to return.

One thought on “Breaking up is hard to do

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