The photo above was taken as I was leaving Ginger Asian Bistro last Friday night. I forgot to take some more pictures on Saturday because we were in a bit of a hurry when we finally headed out the door. I’m not all that happy with the look of how this one turned out. Unfortunately our second visit to this restaurant was not as good as the first. We were eating much earlier than the night before. There was no wait to be seated. The hostess seemed polite when we first walked in the door but lost a bit of the friendly charm as we were sitting down at our table. Our table for this visit was located more towards the middle of the restaurant on the other side of the bar area. On Friday night we had been on the opposite side where the lighting is a little darker. From that vantage point you really couldn’t see all of the seating or employee stations.
Our server for the evening got to our table fairly fast. She was very friendly and talkative. Our drink orders were taken. The waitress explained to me that the the only green tea they had was hot. Which I let her know I was ok with that. Years ago at Hunan hot tea was something you always got when you sat down. Things aren’t done this way at Ginger Asian Bistro. I normally don’t drink a lot of hot tea but the other night I was just in the mood for it. One thing that was missing from everyone’s tables on Saturday were the rolled up hand towels. On Friday night our table had a basket of moist hand towels. The appetizer plates were sat under these. Looking around at all the tables Saturday we didn’t see this. Neither one of us could figure out why these would be present one evening and not another.
When the drinks arrived we placed an order for appetizers. I chose the grilled spicy lamb skewers. Cheryl decided to give the seafood soup a try. To me the lamb skewers were just to chewy. One piece was so fatty I couldn’t eat it. However Cheryl felt the piece of lamb she ate was very tender. She enjoyed the seafood soup as well. If I had a chance to do things over I’d most likely give the chicken skewers a try or have the seafood soup as well. I need to backtrack a bit before the appetizers. A little while before these came out our water arrived at the table. This was bought out by the busboy from the previous evening I think. He however did not bring out any silverware for our meal. When the waitress brought us the appetizers we asked for these utensils. At no time did she say could I get you some silverware. What she did say is that it is the bus persons job to bring out the water and eating hardware. She was also very forward about telling us that he would not be getting part of her tip because of this mistake. Now some people might be turned off by this and feel this was an inappropriate comment. Cheryl and I got a bit of a laugh out of it though. However this probably wouldn’t have gone over well with management. The comment from the waitress also assumes something that is not a given. That she will in fact be receiving a tip. While we try to be good tippers when we eat out this is not a given result when you see us seated at your table.
After finishing our appetizers there was a long wait for our main courses. Several times our waitress came out to apologize very politely. She gave us several reasons as to why our food hadn’t arrived yet. The wait hadn’t been all that long in my opinion but much longer than the night before. I made the comment to Cheryl that maybe it was good we came in a second night to compare customer service. At first I really thought this was just the kitchen maybe not having that great of an evening. Our view on this changed somewhat when we saw tables that had come in after us that had eaten and gone or were further along in their meal process. At one point during various polite apologies the waitress let us know that she had three tables walk out on her on Valentine’s Day. Probably another thing that management would have preferred she not share with us. Cheryl and I both commented that this was rather pointless considering on that night of the year they would just have to wait longer somewhere else if they could even get seated.
A few things should be kept in mind here. While the waitress was probably to overly friendly for most people. We really weren’t offended by it. I tend to like it when those that serve us are down to Earth. However I also prefer you are doing your job as well. The last time around to apologize for our food not coming out the waitress said she would talk to her manager. The waitress later claimed that there was a mix-up on the ticket times within the computer. I jokingly said something like I hope Jennifer didn’t give her to much of an earful. She then let me know that indeed Jennifer had given her a talking to. Keep in mind that unlike the night before at no time did Jennifer come to our table and personally apologize for the mix-up. Either way after this situation had gotten resolved our food arrived promptly at the table. At this point we had asked for extra napkins. The previous night when we asked for this we got multiple cloth napkins delivered to our table very quickly. Our Saturday night meal would be eaten with no such napkin reserves finding their way to our table. We never really got to ask that this situation be resolved do to the fact that behind us our waitress was having more interesting customer interactions.