Monday, July 18, 2011

Macaroni Grill - Dirt for Dinner

When last Friday rolled around Adam and I were itching to get out of the house. We decided to have a date night so we got all dressed and went up to Macaroni Grill at the Oaks Mall in Gainesville. We haven't been there since back in January so I was definitely in the mood. You know that excited feeling that you get when you're a kid and find out you are going to a restaurant? Yea, I still get that! I don't find myself too big of a pasta eater, but Adam turned me onto this place a while back and I have enjoyed it ever since.

We sat down and from the very start our experience was rocky, and unlike any other we have had. Our waitress was definitely new, and I feel for servers as I think they must be nervous when they first start, but I definitely think she needed some more training. Honestly none of these other things would have been a big deal if we never got dirt served to us on a plate, but since we did it just made these imperfections stand out even more.

We were greeted and ordered wine. At Macaroni Grill the house wine is supposed to be a full glass and I think she filled Adam's cup up 1/4 of the way. I ordered a glass of white wine and we ordered water. When I go out to eat I enjoy a large glass of ice water to go along with my food and drink. For whatever reason we were given small glasses of warm tap water. It was from a bottle that she told us to keep on our table to refill, but Im pretty sure that would be used for refilling your glass after you got a normal sized one that already had ice in it. At first I thought she had given us fancy water by mistake but according to her this is now how they do it (although I still think it's an error on her part as you should not have to ask for a glass with ice to pour your own first water).

Before we even got our bread our salads came, followed by my wine which was red. Ok, no big deal that she got me the wrong wine but she didnt even know what I had ordered when she brought the menu over to  show me what she entered in. We were kind of unconfortable with basically being rushed to our salads already though since we had not even gotten our appetizer yet and felt like they just wanted to get us out of there. We took a few bites of our salads when Adam showed me this:
He asked me what I thought it was and I said dirt. He pondered it being pepper, and even tasted it to see! Since it was on the bottom part of the leaf that would sit in dirt, I knew that it had to be. Adam confirmed this with his taste test (which he even noted it has a rocky/sandy texture - yum!) and a smudge test on his finger where it was soft and smooth and turned to light brown when he rubbed it. So, I sifted through my salad and I found this:
Many lumps of dirt! And let me just say that this looks like it could be something else but I am going to avoid even letting myself think that and say that it is in fact dirt.

We informed the waitress and asked for a manager. The manager came over and stated 'I hear you have some plastic or something in your food?' like it was no big deal! Oh, plastic? We get much worse, lets see what you got! Is how I took his response. We let him know that it was dirt and he asked if he could get us anything. 'Salads without dirt in them?' I responded. He said ok and took our plates. Not an Im sorry or any kind of apology. This must be a daily thing at this place for someone to act so uncaring.

He returned with our salads and immediately left. It looked like they had decided to wash the lettuce this time, but Adam still had some dirty pieces and was just traumatized by the prior salads so much that he couldn't bring himself to eat any more. After that and the fact that there was still no apology of any kind, we decided we wanted to leave. Our waitress asked us if everything was ok and Adam sent his salad back again. The manager reappeared and we informed him that we were just going to go - that in fact we had never even complained about our food before, let alone up and left, but the fact that he never said Im sorry or offered any real feeling of wanting to make our experience a nice one made us want to go eat somewhere else. At this point he apologized for not apologizing, but the damage was done! He offered us gift cards, but why would I really want to go back to this restaurant? We turned down his offer and headed for the door and onto Ruby Tuesdays, where we had a delicious, clean, dirt free salad!

Maybe Macaroni Grill should think of having their employees wash their foods before preparing and serving them. Especially fresh vegetables. So next time you go, make sure to check your lettuce.


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