Saturday, January 14, 2012

Can you imagine worse service?

Chit Chat
Image by the justified sinner via Flickr
A cup of coffee at the shiny Chit Chat Diner in Hackensack was my first and last there. It might as well as look like this.

Editor's note: We had two vastly different restaurant experiences on Friday. Today, I also discuss continued confusion caused by ShopRite's Can Can Sale, which enters a second week on Sunday.

I had a cup of coffee at the glitzy Chit Chat Diner in Hackensack on Friday and learned a valuable lesson on where not to meet for a bite to eat.

Here is a little history from the diner's Web site:

"The Chit-Chat Diner was opened on January of 2009.  Our recent renovation has yielded us a Classic American joint in a more chic setting.  Our goal is to provide an upscale meal and setting with an affordable price in a comfortable atmosphere."

Conspicuous by its absence is any mention of service.

I'm on diet and ordered only black coffee after the waiter said the diner didn't have 2% milk, only skim. My friend wanted a slice of pie with ice cream, and tea.

Another server poured cold water for us, and then he and the waiter seemed to disappear. A heavyset waitress with a bored expression took their place and was serving people in the next booth.

My friend asked her to refill his small tea cup (with its used tea bag). She returned with his cup only half-full, and ignored my empty coffee cup.

I tried to get her attention as she walked past a few minutes later, but she apparently didn't hear me or didn't want to hear me.

The bill was just under $10, including $1.75 each for the beverages. My friend was upset and left only a $1 tip (a standard 15% tip would have been $1.50), and we complained to the hostess, who was at the register as we left.

I've driven past the Chit Chat on Essex Street since it was renovated three years ago, and have wondered whether I should take my family there for dinner there. Now, forget about it.

I've been meeting a friend at the Suburban Diner on Route 17 in Paramus, and even when it is packed, the service is far superior to what we experienced at the Chit Chat, which was mostly empty during our visit.

Filling Japanese meal

On Friday night, we met friends at Yuki Japanese Restaurant, a popular BYO in Montvale, for a delicious meal.

The other couple brought a bottle of wine and we also drank hot green tea with our appetizers of shrimp and vegetable tempura ($6.95), and a California roll ($4.95). Service was excellent.

Our entree was nabe (the word for "pot") -- lobster, fish and clams; tofu, vegetables; and slippery, translucent noodles in a tasty broth, served in a pot placed on a table burner, with bowls of white and brown rice ($24). 

The menu wasn't clear on whether the entree was for one or two, so I asked for nabe for two, and we were charged $48. Next time, I'll order one nabe and another entree, such as the cooked yellow tail fish that was available on Friday night.

The shrimp and vegetable tempura was beautifully fried and grease-less, good down to the crunchy shrimp tail. We also enjoyed the California roll, which is the only roll my wife will eat, because she doesn't like raw fish.

The other couple had large platters of tuna sushi and rolls, including broiled eel. We split the bill, which totaled $50 a couple, plus tax and tip. 

Though the family running the restaurant don't appear to be Japanese, we were happy with our first meal there and plan to return.

Yuki Japanese Restaurant, 208 Kinderkamack Road 
(at Grand Avenue), Montvale; 201-391-9877. 
BYO. Entrance off rear parking lot.

Can Can confusion

The Can Can Sale at ShopRite starts a second week on Sunday, but confusion remains on minimum purchases needed to get the lowest sale price.

The flier that came with the newspaper today contains a Super Coupon for Progresso Soup at 10 for $10.88. Nowhere on the coupon or the flier does it say the customer must purchase 10 to get the price of about $1.09 each, compared to the sale price of $1.25.

This week, a Bergen County woman said the Paramus ShopRite refused to sell her fewer than 10 cans of Progresso Soup for the lower price. The store was fined. A new Super Coupon was supposed to reflect the "Must Buy 10" rule.

Customers must use their Price Plus Club store card to qualify for Can Can sale prices.

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1 comment:

  1. That diner has been a mess for years. I had eaten there when it was new in the 80s with my mother and grandmother and it was OK. It seemed like it was being renovated for much of the 90s. In the past decade I had eaten there just about a half dozen times and it was bad more often than not. I have not been there since they changed it to Chit Chat and do not plan on trying it based on your review.


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