Oh what fun, it is to find, such a lousy place to trash!
Chili’s with the Mini-Critic. She was hungry, the Critic was not. The Critic asked for a Margarita, not a regular one mind you, but a “Top Shelf Margarita”. The photo showed a frosty glass mug, salt rimmed and the margarita with ice. Perfect for thirst quenching after a nice MSG-infused lunch at Win Fa in the Gran Plaza!
The waiter came back after an eternity with the naranjada for the Mini-Critic. A while later, the margarita appeared, slushy as a 7-11 Slurpy. Not what he ordered, the Critic took one sip and then called the waiter. You can’t quench your thirst with a slushy, thick Slurpee.
The Critic waved his arm to get the attention of the waiter who was busy talking to one of the eight other waiters and waitresses in the barely-occupied restaurant. “I wanted this on the rocks, like in the photo. Not ‘frozen'”
A puzzled look came across the waiter’s face. “Asi vienen” he said. (this is how we make them). No, the photo indicates otherwise and the description reads ‘frozen or on the rocks’. So he took the drink and was gone for a while before he came back, with the same drink and said that that was how they were made (yes, already said that) and if the Critic wanted another one, he – the waiter – would have to pay for that one.
So whatever. The Critic, still thirsty ordered another one, on the rocks, and said to charge him or not, whatever. “Can I take this one then?”. “Yes, please do.” A long while later, another margarita appeared, this one on the rocks and delicious.
More hand waving to get the order for food.
The Mini-Critic’s sandwich arrived; unfortunately the fries were from earlier as demonstrated by their soft texture and luke warm temperature. The Critic had already given up on Chili’s by this point, so no further complaining was in store for the absent minded, nervous and completely clueless person masquerading as a waiter.
He then had a flash of inspiration gleaned perhaps from a moment when he was paying attention during the training process and came to the table to ask “Is everything alright with your sandwich, Miss?”. This was so contrived that the Mini-Critic almost lost her mouthful of food, trying not to laugh outright.
More hand waving for the bill. The bill one gets at the table has a space for adding the tip, before they take one’s credit card and that bill to run it into the cash register. This is different and since the letters are so small, the blind Critic can no longer read and so was told by the waiter that if he wanted to leave a tip then that was the time and the place to put it was on the bottom of that little bill. He waited patiently at the Critic’s side while a 10% amount was filled in. On this bill is a note regarding comments and an email address. Great! The Critic can write to someone about the wonderful service!
Off he went and soon the receipt was on the table and the ordeal was over. On the receipt that they leave you, there is mention of comments and no email address, that bill stays in the restaurant. They must really be interested in your opinion, so be sure to whip out your laptop in the time you have between them taking that bill and you getting your other receipt.
And yes, they charged the Critic BOTH margaritas, although they did take the frozen one away.
Clueless waiters (they can however, spin menus and bill holders on one finger, always impressive), formulaic gringo food that is served lukewarm and a terrific policy on handling waiter’s screwups (charge the client!!) makes Chili’s a place to avoid. The Critic gives it a solid 1.