When we walked into Din Tai Fung at the Aria tonight, the anticipation was at a fever pitch. The place is beautiful, but from that lofty height, it all began to unravel. But not right away. This was the kind of unraveling that requires some serious effort on the part of the staff.
The first drink I tried was a Japanese whisky old fashion. It was on point. We ordered from all over the menu to feel what the food is all about, and the food was excellent.
It was the service that dragged down the ambiance and the food. As each dish or drink came, we started to acquire a nice size collection of plates, regular napkins, cocktail napkins, and glasses.
I am not going to tell you how great the food was again, and it was good. The server was very nice, but there are zero excuses for coming to the table, dropping off a drink, and walking away with dishes on the table. That happened all night.
When it was time to ask for the check, I did so. She brought it over with the machine to insert my card into. I looked at her and said, “Do you really want to drop that off when there are multiple dirty napkins, three empty drink glasses, and two dirty plates on the table?” This, BTW, would be a lot of stuff to take away for a four-top, but there were two of us.
She took away all the used items from the table, and I paid the bill. As I was leaving, I decided to mention something to the manager on the way out. I told him that the server blew it. All she has to do was keep the table clean, and I would have given her a great tip. At that point, the real “final straw” was thrown onto that camel’s back.
I told the manager what happened, and he said, “Well, she probably had a full tray.” Wow! I said… “Nope, her tray was empty. He started to make another excuse. I stopped him. I said there was no excuse for this. He never gave me his name. Did not ask us to come back and try another time. Of all the fucks he may have had, he gave zero of them to me. This manager did not care about my experience at all. I saw where she got her customer empathy from.
As we walked to the car, I mentioned to my Girlfriend how disappointing that was and how the manager did not care about our lousy service. She said to me… “You know, I think that is because they are buddies. He was over there talking with her at her station all night.”
So there you have it. The ultimate example of The Art of Blowing an Amazing Dining Experience. To anyone reading this, if you care about how you are treated and want to enjoy a great meal, stay clear of Din Tai Fung at the Aria. Based on my experience, it is my opinion that these people could care less about creating a great or even mediocre dining experience.
There are way too many other choices out there to waste a single dinner on a place that does not care about you.