Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Co-Owner of Café 668 Was So Rude to Me I’m Blogging About It

Dear Café 668,

This is painful to write, because we go way back, and I used to like you a lot. My wife and I used to visit you, at your old location, fairly often. When you moved west on Dundas, and opened a beautiful new restaurant, we were really impressed with both the décor and the food. It’s hard to find good vegetarian food in Toronto, and you were doing it exceedingly well.

I’ll admit we didn’t visit you as often as we should have – a few times a year. But we brought friends sometimes, and mentioned it favourably to a number of people.

I thought we had something special between us, co-owner Hon Quach. You used to be so nice to us at the old location. And I acknowledge you were either busy or short-staffed on Saturday night (October 10, 2009) when the four of us arrived. Things started okay -- you took our order quickly, and brought us our wine, and everything was good. The soup was wonderful.

And then the first dish arrived, and it wasn’t what we had ordered. We wanted the Singapore Curry Vermicelli (#55). I know the number, because I ordered for the table, and I said the number of the dish, along with its description. What we got, as it turned out, was #65 (Vegetarian Curry).

Now, maybe you misheard me or I didn’t enunciate quite enough. But when I called you back to the table, and asked about the dish you’d just given us, you insisted, in an incredibly rude and curt manner, that it was what we had ordered. And then you refused to take the dish away.

I had to get up from the table, walk to the rear of the restaurant, and talk to you a second time about the misunderstanding. I opened up a menu and tried to suggest that you had confused #55 with #65. And you were having none of it. “I remember what you ordered,” you said, and then went on to insist that the first thing I had ordered was the Vegetarian Curry. Which was not true. Finally you relented, took away #65 and soon replaced it with what we wanted.

Now, I don’t believe the customer is always right, but instead of being a jerk, you could have at least entertained the possibility that there had been some kind of mix up. Because here’s the thing – rectifying the error in a pleasant manner costs you four bucks in ingredients, tops.

Instead, because you were such a jackass about the situation, I’m never going to eat at Café 668 again. (We will redirect our vegetarian money to King's Cafe instead.) The two friends we brought with us, who are vegetarian and live nearby and are new to Toronto, might also never eat at your restaurant again. That’s a few hundred dollars a year, down the drain.

Here’s a final tip – literally. Being nice about the mix-up would have resulted in us leaving a 15 percent tip, instead of the 3 percent you received Saturday night. I can’t imagine being rude to us was worth it. Literally.