Thank you for visiting the Eater Complaints Department, your unedited platform for voicing poor dining experiences, gross restaurant trends, and general underhandedness. Have grievances? Operators are standing by.
From: [an eater]
Date: Friday, February 11, 2011
To: Eater Complaints Department
Subject: Bait and Switch at Ed's Chowder Housel
My friend Joan who moved to Copake from Manhattan and who is a lover of all things seafood, came to lunch with me after reading about a great deal in the "Tasting Table" Newsletter. It was for Ed's Chowder House's 1st Anniversary. I made a reservation and we went yesterday, 2/10. When we got there, we were given two menus: the regular menu, and a small card with the $24.07 pre fixe menu. I asked the waiter why we didn’t receive the menu for the 1st anniversary luncheon "Ed's Lunchtime Lobster Menu for $19.94" (PDF here
)? He said, let me check. He came back and said, that’s only offered for dinner. As he was turning away, I realized it can’t be for dinner at that price. I called him back and said that can’t be true because the pre fix LUNCH is $24.07. He said he would check with the manager. He came back and said that the manager says the chef is not happy with the quality of the lobster today, so they’re not offering that menu today. I said, oh, just today? I don’t believe that. He asked if I wanted to speak to the manager, and I said yes.
The manager came to our table and said I understand you want the anniversary menu. We served it yesterday, but the chef is hot happy with the quality of the lobster today so we are not serving it. I said, I don’t believe that. It does not sound credible to me as the main menu had lobster on it. Did they steer all patrons away from the lobster that day, or just us? He said, are you saying I’m lying to you? I said, the waiter just told me it was only offered for dinner, and that was not true. The manager said, right now as we’re speaking, the chef is in the kitchen with other chefs testing the lobster. I said, oh, at 1:00 lunch service in the middle of Fashion Week he’s testing lobster? The manager never apologized, never tried to offer something else, never tried to keep us in the seat. Of course we left. P.S. at the 1:00 lunch service in the middle of Fashion Week, the restaurant was half empty. Wonder why?..
Definitely a bait and switch. But by whom? Was it the China Grill Management falsely advertising on Tasting Table? Didn't Tasting Table check before advertising? Very fishy (sorry for the pun).