Friday, April 25, 2008

Stories from January New Urban Eats

In January 2008, tidbit participated for the first time in the New Urban Eats program. New Urban Eats features Seattle restaurants, "which have opened in the last three years (2005 or later), are independent concepts, have received a major daily review of ‘two stars’ or better on average (or are too new to have been reviewed), and whose dinner price points skew slightly above mid-range."
Tidbit will participate again in the New Urban Eats in May 2008. With this program around the corner, we feel that it is time to share with other guests and friends some stories that happened in the month of January at tidbit.

Being new to this program, the first couple of weeks of this program were a learning experience for us. From one day to another, the restaurant was packed. That was surely nice but….we were honestly not prepared for it and we made mistakes.

The New Urban Eats brought to tidbit a lot of new friends and regulars but also guests that were very unfriendly. We would like to share a couple of episodes. If you read these stories, please keep in mind that we appreciate feedback and reviews, good or bad, because we try to improve from our mistakes. We do not take any bad review or honest comment personally and we hope that all the guests that did not like our restaurant would come back and try us again. We like to share these stories so that our friends and guests know what happens behind the scenes. We hope that people understand that we are human beings; we make mistakes and try to learn from them.

On Tuesday, January 16, we had a very strange guest. A woman stepped in to the restaurant and began talking down to Danii, one of our friendliest servers. What ever Danii tried to do, the woman got more frustrated “I did not cross county lines for this” she said when she stepped in. Maybe she already knew she was not going to like tidbit? Danii gave this guest several options for tables for two since this guest was having dinner with one friend only. But this lady wanted a table for four even if the restaurant was full and she had not made any special request when she made her reservation. She was rude to the point to make Danii cry in the back. Danii understandably refused to serve this lady and ‘saint’ John had to deal with this coming-from-far mean lady. This episode suddenly changed the mood of the entire staff. I personally introduced myself, trying to apologize for the inconvenience of not having the table for four that she liked. We chatted about tidbit, the food, the concept, about Italy and also about how I ended up moving to Seattle from Italy. Regarding her dinner, she only had one clear complain about her paella that was served warm and not ‘piping hot’. I apologized explaining how we were working on improving all the aspects of our business. I thought we were having a nice conversation and I thought that this lady was a difficult but nonetheless nice person. The lady left in a good mood and I greeted her at the door as I generally do with all our guests. The same night, this lady wrote a mediocre review on the Northwest source. Below is the review. We respect her opinions but I feel that when we were talking she was not being honest. And regarding what she wrote, I would have loved to let her know that all our ingredients are always fresh and also that there is salt and pepper on every table because we realize (unlike many other pretentious chefs in Seattle) that every palate is different.
Here is the review:
If a restaurant could survive based only on the owner's charm, then Tidbit would be in good shape because co-owner Nicola is delightful. However, the food and service at Tidbit are not. My companion and I were there last evening, and the service was incredibly slow. While we were finishing our desserts, the table next to us, seated shortly after we were, were being served their salads. While my crostini were tasty, they sere served cool and the melted cheese had congealed. My companions cod entree was good, but only warm, not hot. My paella was a disappointment. The sausage, clams and pork did not taste freshly cooked, and the rice was overcooked to the point of being mushy. It was also served only lukewarm. Both dishes needed salt and pepper. Slow service and mediocre good=not a good deal even for $30.

Another rude review related to the New Urban Eats in January was written on Citysearch. I don’t remember this person but her one-star review is full of anger. This woman wrote her review at the end of February describing a dining experience that happened at the beginning of January. Good memory! We again respect her opinion and we hope jendot will come and try us again. This person must have had different expectations from tidbit and she did not realize that tidbit is a casual trattoria and not a fancy restaurant: a TV showing Italian videos or special events is appropriate here. She defined the Tartufo (an Italian classic gelato) an “ol’ ice cream” while the tiramisu was served too cold. And what does she mean by lamb ‘slightly overcooked’? Apparently she liked our tapas but that was not enough to increase the number of stars of her review. She did not like our attitude but we did not have the pleasure to meet her. Why is she judging us without even knowing us? We don’t know jendot, but we are always looking for new friends: we really hope to meet her in person and we hope she will change her mind, especially about our attitude.

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