‘There’s a lot to work out here,’ the dad wrote in his Yelp review, ‘unless you like everything well done extremely pricey.’ Though the crudo and baby gems had been awesome starters, his boy’s Monster Burger, avowedly medium, reminded everyone of charcoal. Despite his wife’s nice crispy skin, the fish everyone agreed was inedible. To top it all off, not only did the place dish up bland lentils, but their butts were cold on steel ice chairs and, on what passes here for a winter’s night, there were no space heaters. Looking on the bright side, his muscles were passable on the half shell and it’s always great to dip assorted burnt meats into the tangy sauce of someone else’s cooking. This came at the end of the meal, after the fam had picked through what it could stomach. Only then did the waitress ask, “Did we leave room for dessert?” After a long pause, the dad pointed to a fig panna cotta too dense for chewing. How generous he’d felt giving the experience two stars on the car ride home.
The response was swift. To start, wrote the restaurant owner, ‘We’re probably not the place for you, but that you were visibly upset when you arrived, ranting about icy cold seats on the hottest day in memory. Honestly,’ it went on, ‘we were all concerned about you. Your condition seemed more mental than physical. We worry that you are not a stable parent.’ The rest was history, with its winners and its losers. On behalf of my entire crew, he wanted to congratulate the dad on this attempt at constructive criticism. Not an easy thing to do. ‘We should all be so helpful in these contentious times, while not fighting too hard for what we believe in.’
Concerning the restaurant owner’s response, the husband and wife must agree to disagree. For him, the customer was always right. The restaurant owner must act like his own best waitperson. The dad downgraded it to a one-star experience. Evocative of needy parents and hardened capitalists, obsequiousness as a rule bugged the mom. A duel would have amused her more. To shoot and be shot in the eyes of your child. But seriously folks, she would have preferred the men confront each other face-to-face instead of writing about it on the Internet. You can never take it down. You must check it dozens of times a day to see if you’ve gained any admirers. She must watch her husband play out the dinner scene again and again, making an archenemy of a man in a chef’s hat who is his equal in pride and manner. It would never be over with.