There are some restaurants in the District that I feel “meh” about visiting and then there are others that I feel excitement weeks in advance about visiting. This weeks Etiquette Tuesday focuses on my visit to Elisir, a Downtown Italian restaurant where I was especially anxious to visit this winter. Elisir is the restaurant you visit for business meetings, celebrations and the like. The white linen service begins from the time you valet until you get your keys back in your hands. The food and service are rolled out at a pace that offers an experience versus a meal in transit. Why, you ask, would this be the topic of an Etiquette Tuesday?? Unfortunately, there was a gliche in the matrix which provided inspiration for this week’s tip: clever ways to redeem yourself, things every restaurant should now.
Nothing makes me smile more when leaving a restaurant than good service. The food may have been “meh” or it could have been splendid but if the service is on point, this will most definitely make my experience a memorable one. On this particular visit, the service was going well at Elisir until my server came over to refill a glass of water and spilled my guests glass of red wine in my creamy gnocchi dish. He quickly went to clean up the space but did not offer to refill the glass and/or get me another serving of gnocchi. So now I sit here with a $14 glass of wine that I have to pay for (*it was a birthday celebration on yours truly) which is mostly splattered on the table and in my bowl of gnocchi. Additionally, I have a bowl of gnocchi that I do not want to finish because the creaminess and red wine are not meshing well in my mind.
I like Elisir but this explicitly pointed to an Etiquette faux pas that should have been addressed with a more cleverness than simply wiping up the mess. Now I am not one of those people who simply complain for the heck of it but I think there should be some quick fixer upper in a restaurants training manual that goes in to action after incidents like the one described above. Though I know I will return because the restaurant does have good service and the food was exceptional, knowing that after I hand over a hefty payment and tip, I will receive half of what I ordered discourages me from wanting to return. What would have changed my attitude?? A new bowl of gnocchi.