I stopped in at Murphy’s (one of my favorite haunts) for lunch a few weeks ago, and having returned from a recent trip to Slovenia was pleased to see a Slovinian white wine on their “by the glass” list. It was $9.00 per glass, but you can also buy it in their retail shop for about $6.00 a bottle. Really, Tom, I always thought you gave value for the money and I am now rethinking it. If you get a bargain, pass some of it along. In the alternative, you could serve it with a complimentary side of KY.
In a similar vein, I and two friends visited DBA Barbecue for lunch, with each of us ordering a different “plate”. The waiter inquired what sides we wanted with our plates and we told him. The food and the sides were good, as expected, but we suffered serious sticker shock when the bill arrived. The waiter then pointed to the fine print on the menu that stated the “plates” were a la carte and the sides were extra. I find it a bit disingenuous to phrase the question about what sides we wanted in such a way that it implies the sides are included in the “plate” price, and don’t like to feel compelled to take a contract lawyer to lunch with me to read the fine print. Another KY award to DBA.
A few weeks ago during one of our colder spells, another friend (with all of my complaining you may question how it is possible that I have so many friends) and I dined at one of our favorite luncheon haunts, Young Augustine’s, on Memorial drive. We arrived at 11:30 and were the first table occupied. The restaurant was frigid, as it had been on another early lunch occasion, telling your restaurant curmudgeon we were dining in a spot that thought more of saving money on fuel than customer comfort. While only one other table was seated, the restaurant went from pleasantly quiet to annoyingly noisy when music was turned on at a level just high enough to make conversation difficult. I asked the waitress to please turn it down, but she said it was as low as it would go. I then asked if anyone had specifically requested that the music be turned on. When she said no I then told her we were specifically requesting it be turned off. Her response was “ain’t gonna happen.” You don’t need to be prescient to know what else ain’t gonna happen – our return. While the food is good, it’s only a hamburger joint, and there are many others serving creative cuisine without the attitude. An e-mail to an employee of the restaurant went unanswered.
Enough whining, let’s give a little credit to two restaurants I frequent (and I hope to discover more that I can report on) for offering us wine to enjoy with our meal without the complimentary side of KY referenced above. The first is Floataway Café. From $16.00 to $76.00 per bottle there is something for every taste and pocketbook. The other restaurant is One Midtown Kitchen, part of the Concentrics Group, so possibly they could give a few pointers to Murphy’s, another member of the group.
To end on a positive note, Mrs. Grump and I visited Superica in the Krog Street Market last week. They don’t take reservations, but since we dine early there was no wait. A problem may arise in another thirty years when the millennials turn sixty and also start to dine early, but until then I am safe. During peak hours if you care to wait an hour or more that’s your choice, but it is not an option for me. In any event, what made the visit stand out was the obvious level of training given to the staff. On no less than three occasions a floor manager appeared at our table to inquire if everything was to our liking. There was at least one employee dedicated to the proposition that no table should run out of chips and salsa. Most impressive, however, was as I navigated to and from the restroom through the narrow space between the tables with only room for one pedestrian, as an employee came from the opposite direction he immediately sidestepped to yield the right of way, and did so with a smile. This is behavior I usually see only at restaurants with a much higher price point and shows an attitude that starts at the top and filters down. Just a note or two on the food, which I found a cut above the usual Mexican fare, although don’t expect any complicated mole sauces. We ran our way across the menu from top to bottom pricewise and felt everything we ordered represented a good value. The guacamole was fresh; you can actually get a margarita that has no simple syrup, just fresh lime juice, tequila and triple sec; the braised beef rib (at $32.00 the priciest item on the menu) was so large and served with so many sides that it was easily dinner for two. Unlike Young Augustine’s, and with an homage to MacArthur, I shall return.