bad service made worse by insanely spicy tuna

by | Nov 29, 2006 | Daily life, Food & Drink

While my family was visiting, we picked a few good restaurants for our dinner meals. Starlu was an absolute hit (as usual) while Penang was a terrible miss.

We’ve eaten at Penang before and I remember the service being fine, the food adequate, and the wait inconsequential. I also remember the entrees were mildly overpriced, but the food was good, sooo…


I’ve had enough good and so-so restaurant experiences over my lifetime, but this one was just so poor, I have to share…

We arrived around 7:45pm (after the Bears game, so that probably didn’t help our moods any), got seated right away, then waited for several minutes for someone to take our drink order.

In a nearly empty restaurant.

We all ordered appetizers (probably our first mistake) and after a long wait the food came but my brother’s sushi roll had the wrong fish. The waiter prompty blamed the chef and it took another several minutes for them to bring out the correct roll. By this time, of course, the rest of us were finished with our appetizers. In the meantime, another waiter refilled Eric’s glass of Sprite with water when he wasn’t looking, which took another few minutes to resolve.

Considering we ordered our appetizers and entrees at the same time and over an hour had now passed, we flagged down our waiter to ask where the food was. We noticed that all the people around us were eating, even though we had arrived first. Admittedly, we were all a little cranky (and hungry) at this point but when pressed, the waiter said that once the sushi was finished (two of us ordered rolls), the kitchen would start the other hot entrees. Excuse me? The chef was planning on making all of the sushi first and THEN going to start on the fried rice and red curry? Did they only have one person working in the kitchen? He mumbled something about a big sushi order that had come in, but the only people still left in the restaurant were people that arrived well after us AND were already eating, so clearly, someone screwed up.

When the food did come everything was satisfactory except my spicy tuna rolls. Now, I like spicy food and have been able to order this item at many other places without incident, but these were so hot, I only managed to choke down three of them. I dissected the last three pieces, managed to scrape off some of the chili sauce, then dunked the pieces in my water glass so I could eat the tuna, but really. Making your food inedible as prepared is never good business practice.

The finale of this debacle was the bill. Eric and my brother were asked by the waiter what kind of rice they wanted with their red curry and chicken penang dishes, respectively. What wasn’t mentioned was that a small bowl of rice was $2 extra. In total, the red curry chicken (which, frankly, cannot be consumed/enjoyed without rice as it’s just sauce with a few chicken pieces) was almost $18. This same dish (rice included!) would never cost more than $11 at any Indian restaurant I’ve ever been to. Plus, the service would have most definitely been better.

Never. Ever. Going. Back.

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