Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It's Not Always the Food ... or the Price

Sometimes it's just about making people happy.

Husband and I recently vacationed in Naples, Florida, where we used to live.  On a rainy Sunday evening in July, one of the slowest months of the year, we visited an expensive, relatively new seafood restaurant in the pricey Third Street South area.  We sat at the bar and enjoyed a glass of wine while we contemplated whether or not this was the place for dinner.  Although there was a wonderful outdoor seating area, there was no one seated at that particular time, possibly because the exceeding warm temps were not offset much by the rain.  There was one other party at the bar and two parties seated in the indoor dining area.  Our bartender gave us a menu and the first thing that caught my eye was a $39 raw platter appetizer for two.  My everlovin' cannot eat raw seafood, so I asked for a half-order, just for me.  Request denied.

Often, if we feel that we've established a relationship with the bartender, we will eat at the bar, especially on this kind of a night, but this time we decided to eat inside.  Thinking that my request was not unreasonable, I asked our table server and again received a firm but polite No.  Since I was disinclined to order a $39 appetizer and leave half of it, or attempt to bring the leftovers from a raw platter back to the hotel, I ordered something else.  

I'm an extreme foodie and a seafood foodie, in particular.  For real foodies, once we get a taste for something, there can be no substitutes. 
We'll just think about that item forever until we finally get it.  The near-miss on the raw platter happened a month ago and I'm still thinking about it and wondering how I can ever enjoy it.  Maybe make a paper sign indicating my interest in sharing a raw platter and stand outside the restaurant on our next visit?  Probably there will be no next time for us at this particular establishment, and unfortunately, we live in an area where there is little fresh seafood, so my craving cannot be resolved at home.

Back home in Athens, GA, our most-patronized restaurant (DePalma's East Side) is not our favorite because of its extraordinary food but rather because they always go overboard to assure a pleasurable dining experience.  Want to try a new wine?  They will pour a sample.  Want a different side?  Sure, no problem.  Want a little more sauce than usual with your entree?  Of course.  Any reasonable request is accommodated, and at a very nominal charge, if any.  And so, we go there at least once a week.  

If anyone can enlighten me as to why Sea Salt in Naples or any other restaurant would  choose not to accommodate a customer request on a slow summer evening to shuck just a half-order of that fabulous-sounding raw platter appetizer, I'd sure like to be able to understand. 

In the meantime, if you're ever in Athens, GA, give DePalma's East Side a try.  (Don't expect northeast/middle Atlantic style traditional Italian, but you will get good food and they will do their best to make you happy.) Take a look at their dinner menu here.          

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