However, these flashes are a bitch. They are wicked. Brief, but wicked. I feel like a marshmallow in a campfire to which one of my doctors with a delicious sense of humor quipped today “but do you like chocolate and graham crackers?” (Uhh…yes as a matter of fact I love chocolate and graham crackers and perhaps I will be a s’more next Halloween!!)
So my sweet man and I have had our first Thanksgiving. I just love him, and the quiet time together after all the hustle and bustle of regular life and the break-neck pace of the past few months, it was really special.
What wasn’t so special is where we had dinner – it was just the two of us since friends and family were kind of scattered around, so we decided to have a Thanksgiving date night.
He made reservations at a local restaurant that was so pretty the last time it was opened, and then it closed. Excited that it was open under new stewardship, he made reservations so we had a special first Thanksgiving in a romantic, country inn setting.
He chose The Farmhouse Bistro at People’s Light and Theater Company in Malvern, PA. They only reopened at the end of September but were advertising a traditional Thanksgiving meal. It sounded perfect….too bad it was so disappointing.
Even more disappointing? The whole dining experience was so not what it should have been that I took the time to write to them to tell them about it first thing this morning. While I did not expect a response per se the day after Thanksgiving an acknowledgement they received it would have been nice. I didn’t get one, so here is what I said to them:
We came in yesterday for Thanksgiving. It was my first Thanksgiving with my boyfriend and my first Thanksgiving after a bout with breast cancer this summer. We found ourselves unusually family free, so we wanted to have a special holiday just the two of us.
We chose your establishment. The Farmhouse looked like it would be perfect.
Our experience was memorable all right.
We walked in and were on time for our reservation. We walked into the no-one-greets-the-customer-purgatory. We stood for 20 minutes and we might as well have been part of the furniture. Then a young and obviously stressed out server noticed us and said someone would be with us shortly.
Then a woman came out from somewhere and did not greet us who had been waiting, but greeted a random female couple who had just walked in and were overheard to say they were way ahead of their reservation and the hostess woman who still hasn’t greeted US, seats THEM. They were seated , incidentally, in the lovely room en route to the buffet- in a spacious spot with a pretty view.
Meanwhile the hostess and a server start having a conversation about others to be seated and how the table wasn’t ready that was for us .
And we still stood there like pieces of furniture.
Then the hostess quips to the server that it might help if he told her our name and there was this little corrective debate as to our names being up and highlighted on some computer screen. IMHO this is a conversation one has with employees out of the customer view. It achieves nothing to correct staff in front of customers like misbehaving puppies.
My boyfriend is irritated enough at this point that I could tell he was almost ready to walk. A service bartender notices us finally and offers us a drink while we waited – you added it to our bill later, which all things considered you could have and should have thrown us at least a small bone for our inconvenience.
So after having to hear all this side bar conversation about tired servers, tables not ready, whether or not we were walk ins or had a reservation, we were seated (still without ever really being greeted)
While the random female couple who was early for their reservation was seated at a spacious, romantic table with a view, we were seated at a deuce shoved behind a large party in an in between room with a large fireplace.
Your salads were good and so was the turkey and desserts, but my boyfriend tried the salmon and the ham (he is not as much of a turkey fanatic as I am). The salmon was dried out and like a hockey puck and the ham was a bit dry looking had no basic condiments even like a grainy mustard available.
Our waiter was very nice and obviously so overtaxed (he seemed to be picking up the slack of another waiter who seemed on the verge of a breakdown) – he screwed up the wine I asked for (which I did not send back because you could see how much he was running around in multiple rooms.)
So we are 2/3 through our dinner when your staff decides to rearrange and re-purpose the furniture in the room we were in. Noise, wrenching sounds of banging furniture, cutlery, and loud conversations between employees like you did not have two customers there trying to have Thanksgiving dinner.
I know people in your industry, and have even photographed and reviewed soft and hard restaurant openings. I do not recall the last time I was so irritated by a restaurant experience, let alone took the time to contact a restaurant post-dining in such a detailed fashion.
Part of me feels badly for complaining, yet part of me feels that in this
economy if people treat themselves to a night out, especially on a holiday, it doesn’t have to be 100%, but it should have been better than what we experienced.
You have a gem of a location and a very pretty space, and I hope you get it together because nights like we had can close a place. No one minds paying for a nice dinner when they feel like their patronage matters. I did not get that feeling.
I am sorry I could not give you raves.
My Thanksgiving, dinner aside, was wonderful. I am grateful for having gotten through all I have gotten through this year. I am with who I want to be with and know I am loved. So maybe all of you think I am being too picayune with the whole restaurant thing. I just think customer service is important. And seriously, if you saw how pretty the place was and had to match that up to the crappy experience you might say something too.