So I heard from a publicist the other day, someone I’ve talked to for a dozen years or so, someone who represents a lot of hotels in the area and, therefore, its restaurants. She’d rather I didn’t mention her name — how odd for a publicist! — or the hotel/restaurant in question. I’ll call her Adelle, and the restaurant LaGuardia’s.
Anyway, Adelle invited me to a media dinner at LaGuardia’s way back in November. I was anxious to go because the hotel was new, and I was wanted to see LaGuardia’s. I’m always looking for new restaurants to tell you about.
But I went to LaGuardia’s and had a very negative experience. So did all the people around me. The food was unimaginative (hint, hint) and the service was extraordinarily unprofessional. And since the manager was in the fray, helping to serve, and making all manner of service faux pas, I figure this place doesn’t have it together. And if the manager doesn’t know what he’s doing, he can scarcely tell his staff the proper procedures.
And keep in mind this was a media dinner. This is the sort of event where a restaurant is supposed to shine. One of the questions I’m most asked is if I’m recognized when I go into a restaurant. And, if I am, if I think I get better service. This is a case in point, and proves what I’ve always said when asked that question: If a restaurant doesn’t know what it’s doing it can’t learn it when I walk through the door.
I went back and posted my account of the dinner. Needless to say it wasn’t a positive review.
So I heard from the publicist, Adelle, the other day who wanted me to know that after my review appeared here on the flog she was fired by the hotel manager. “You never should have invited him,” he said about me in an e-mail he sent to Adelle while she was vacationing in Spain. In other words, don’t invite anyone who’s going to say something honest about our substandard food and unprofessional service.
Did they fire the chef or the cluelesss restaurant manager? Well, not the manager. And I’m not certain the chef was fired either. But I can tell you LaGuardia’s recently announced a new chef. Can’t say for sure that there was a correlation, but I can say I’m encouraged by the hire. The new chef has a good reputation.
And all of this is to tell you that even when a restaurant knows I’m there, I’m still going to tell you what I think. If the restaurant sucks, I’ll tell you it sucks.
Not sure why I decided to call this restaurant LaGuardia’s, except that I’m headed to New York right now, flying into LaGuradia International Airport, which, of course is named for a former mayor of the city. What was his first name? I can’t quite recall, though there was a Broadway musical with his first name. Might make a good name for a restaurant, if I could just remember what it was.
I’ll speak to you from New York. It’s the James Beard Awards weekend, but I’ll be returning Sunday morning in time for the Battle of the Parks. Will you be there?