Bloody Restaurant Fish: Who Was Right/Wrong?

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Bloody Restaurant Fish: Who Was Right/Wrong?

Postby Rahsaan » Thu May 30, 2013 9:10 am

The other day a friend and I were at a restaurant when we discovered a thick red streak of blood in our skate dish. It was strange because it was a thin part of the fish and didn't appear to be a case of undercooked fish, so we called over the waiter. He had no immediate answer, but took it to the kitchen and came back saying that it was a clot/coagulation that sometimes happens during the fishing process. He then asked if he could do anything for us but we already had more than enough food and wine so we said no.

That said, we were expecting some sort of hospitality gesture and were surprised to see that the skate was still on our bill at the end of the evening. My friend was so irritated that he wrote a slight note on the check about it that I don't think the server took very well!

So, who was right/wrong? Technically it wasn't a fault of the kitchen as the fish wasn't undercooked and I suppose they can't peer through every piece of every fish looking for blood clots. And, we were able to eat 90% of the dish. That said, it was kind of unseemly and definitely changed the tone of our meal for a bit, which is something that restaurants like this (where main courses like the skate are around $30) are supposed to pay attention to.

I suppose one answer is that we should have made our request when he asked if there was anything he could do. But somehow it seemed strange to make a 'demand/request', especially since we already had everything we needed. And requesting a reduction in the bill seemed tacky. So were we being too picky by expecting them to take the initiative?
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Re: Bloody Restaurant Fish: Who Was Right/Wrong?

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Thu May 30, 2013 10:06 am

I guess the bottom line is that it's a $30/entree place and you walked out feeling less than delighted, so they screwed up. It's a little more complicated than that, though, because the problem with the food appears to have been beyond their control and it may be that the server tried to make it up to you with the "can I do anything more for you" request. If that is what the server was trying to do, then he should have been more up front about it. "Can we do anything to make this up to you?" would have been a better request if that's what he was trying to do. Ideally, they'd have taken the skate off the bill, but that's a tough call given that you ate almost all of it (and enjoyed it, I assume).

If I were Yelping a place like that, I'd probably knock off one star but not two for charging for the skate.

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Re: Bloody Restaurant Fish: Who Was Right/Wrong?

Postby Rahsaan » Thu May 30, 2013 10:57 am

Mike Filigenzi wrote:...it may be that the server tried to make it up to you with the "can I do anything more for you" request. If that is what the server was trying to do, then he should have been more up front about it. "Can we do anything to make this up to you?" would have been a better request if that's what he was trying to do..


To be fair, his intentions were clear. But I suppose the problem was that we felt awkward asking for a reduction in the bill, yet we expected some gesture at the same time. So maybe that is our fault and I know it's not fair to expect restaurants to read your mind. But that's also why (in my experience) the best places take an aggressive approach to hospitality and are sensitive to not putting you in an awkward position.

That said, the food was amazing, aside from this issue the service was very attentive, and this place is very 'hot' right now in Nyc. And we would both return. So at least for the moment, I'm sure they don't need to worry too much about our feelings. I was just curious what others thought about the situation.
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Re: Bloody Restaurant Fish: Who Was Right/Wrong?

Postby Mark Lipton » Thu May 30, 2013 12:26 pm

Just to be clear, Rahsaan, was the blood not visible until you'd cut into the skate? It's a tricky question, because as you say it's not a fault with preparation and it doesn't seem like something that could've been discovered ahead of time. That being said, it also seems a bit insensitive to do nothing in response to what obviously was a less-than-pleasant surprise for you. I'd have been tempted, after you turned down an offer of doing anything for you, to give you a financial break on the dish or the wine or something. Then again, I'm not in the dog-eat-dog world of running a restaurant, either.

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Re: Bloody Restaurant Fish: Who Was Right/Wrong?

Postby Rahsaan » Thu May 30, 2013 2:51 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:Just to be clear, Rahsaan, was the blood not visible until you'd cut into the skate?


It was my friend's portion but I believe that was the case.

Thanks for the thoughts, I suppose it was a borderline/tricky case with no clear protocol.
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Re: Bloody Restaurant Fish: Who Was Right/Wrong?

Postby Karen/NoCA » Thu May 30, 2013 4:33 pm

I can understand your dismay, and the sight of coagulation of blood is certainly not a thrill for the taste buds. Since the fish was well cooked and the taste was to your liking, as well as the service, and you declined any offering back from the restaurant...it is like my dad used to tell me, "it is just one of those things, so forget about it." You handled it well, by jotting down a note to the chef and hopefully the note was brought to his attention.
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Re: Bloody Restaurant Fish: Who Was Right/Wrong?

Postby Joy Lindholm » Thu May 30, 2013 10:03 pm

The bottom line - they should have comped your dish. Having worked at such an establishment that charges over $30 for seafood items, if the customer doesn't like a dish or finds something wrong with it that isn't easily corrected (ie, a steak coming out under cooked, etc), they should not have to pay for the item. True, it wasn't the restaurant's "fault", but from a hospitality standpoint, not charging a guest for a $30-something entree is worth much more than the aftermath of potentially losing a client and having them talk about it in public (online or otherwise). What the restaurant might make on a $30 dish is a fraction of what they may lose when others get wind of an incident like this.
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Re: Bloody Restaurant Fish: Who Was Right/Wrong?

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:51 pm

Piling on... they could have comped you a dessert, for your trouble. But this really does sound to me like a case of "it happens".
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