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I don't want a free meal and I don't want a big back and forth w/the restaurant. I just want to get my point across. So, how does this letter read to you, assuming I will spell check my ever present typos :

 

Dear Chef Lacroix,

 

I'd like to compliment the wonderful food and service that I received while dining at Lacroix on Tuesday, March7. I have had the opportunity to dine in a variety of fine restaurants, and your well composed, balanced and perfectly prepared courses were memorable. Both your wine and dinner menus are complex without being overwhelming, providing a knowledgeable diner with an opportunity to create a very special dining experience.

 

However, our table for two was in the corrider to the far right of the windows. Surrounded by two large tables, with my dining partner forced to look at a brick wall and an "EXIT" sign, we were suprised that you would have such an apparant sub par table at your restaurant. Once those large tables were full, it was like being in a narrow cavern. Also, our waiter explained to us that an adjoining room was a private dining room for residents of the Hotel. I can not begin to tell you how 20 solid minutes of a newborn squealing totally ruined our dining experience. Yes, we were offerred a seat at the "chef's table" for dessert..but the crying was disruptive and intermittent even before I complained. It goes without saying that the mother of that baby was extremely rude, but it is your responsibility to minimize the impact of that "private room" to the rest of your dining guests.

I stronly suggest that you dine at the same table we were at, while the restaurant is full, so that you can become aware of the ambient noise and disruptions while seated there.

 

Simply put, your food deserves a better environment than the one we were in on Tuesday evening.

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I don't think there is much the chef can do about the pre-existing restaurant design. I am sure both he and the FOH staff have probably heard these complaints before.

 

If I were you, and you really want to write, I would write to the GM of the hotel. The chef really has little to do with this.

 

Write to the baby's mother. ;)

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Orik, do you think its a waste of time because of Nero's point, that they heard this before? the chef was involved in the complete rehab of the restaurant, from my understanding. Or is the letter too weak?

 

Another aspect of this is that "window" tables at this restaurant over Rittenhouse square

( one of only three "5 star" Philly restaurants) are coveted. and I suspect these tables were stuck in to maximize the amount of window seating... anyway thanks for your feedback.

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I'm just trying to think of the possible range of responses by the restaurant. In another place and another time it could have been "you're most certainly right, we're burning that table as you're reading these lines, banning babies and you're invited for a free meal", but it's more likely to be "sorry about your bad experience, here's a coupon for a cocktail at the bar, please don't come again".

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It goes without saying that the mother of that baby was extremely rude

I'd leave that bit out. (And this is from a woman that thinks kid's shouldn't be allowed in anything other than McDonalds until they learn to shut up and use cutlery with boths hands. ;) ).

 

Why would it "Go without saying"? Are you implying that all mothers are rude?

 

I'd give the letter a shot, but would send it to the restaurant manager rather than the chef.

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Thanks for your feedback.

 

I actually expect, in a restaurant of this caliber, that there should be no HORRIBLE tables. yes, premium ones, yes, preferred areas..but nothing so poorly located taht the experience can be defined by it. ( the tariff for this meal exceeded $1000 for two persons, it is considered along w/ Le Bec Fin, Philly's finest)

 

When we initially sat down, I asked my husband if facing the wall bothered him.. and it might sound corny but he said he would just stare at me all night ;) The larger tables had not filled, the baby had not arrived in the "private room" nearby. At first galnce, other than the lack of a view for one person ( the other got a lovely view of Rittenhouse Square, over the treetops, watching people arrive home from work) it seemed like a comfortable "nook" away from the hustle and flow of the larger room.

 

Thanks again for your comments.

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It goes without saying that the mother of that baby was extremely rude

I'd leave that bit out. (And this is from a woman that thinks kid's shouldn't be allowed in anything other than McDonalds until they learn to shut up and use cutlery with boths hands. ;) ).

 

Why would it "Go without saying"? Are you implying that all mothers are rude?

 

I'd give the letter a shot, but would send it to the restaurant manager rather than the chef.

No, I meant to imply that all mothers that allow a new born to wail in a public/quasi public place are rude. ;)

 

I chose to send it to the chef because he is the manager/owner chef and because its not BS..his food really does deserve more.

 

I should clarify that this "private room" is seperate from the restaurant, with couches, TV's and a communal table, and is a perc for the tenenats of the hotel who have annual leases...so this mother was using the room as an extended living room.

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Sometimes the full force of an unpleasant situation doesn't hit one till later; sometimes the present isn't the appropriate time to complain; sometimes we need a "cool hour" to collect our thoughts. I'd go for the letter. (Maybe omit the bit about asking the chef to sit at that table--either he'll grasp the points or not.)

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I like the letter (and all the suggestions made as well). I'd send it to both the chef and the manager. It's really geared to the manager but the chef's rep is at stake. And if they have any savvy they'll realize your one letter probably represents the experience of 10 other customers.

 

I figure I'd want to know if it were my place. And a letter is so much nicer than a confrontation and allows both parties to save face should there be a misunderstanding.

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But rancho, you're in the business of delivering an exceptionally good product that you care about. Most restaurants are in the business of delivering something completely different. Not the same thing.

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this is a NY centric board, would anyone's opinion change if I clarified that this was like the Per Se of Philly?

 

I'm not a writer blessed wtih clarity. the restaurant is on the second (third?) floor of the hotel, overlooking a park. the table was a window seat, and my seat looked out over the park, his looked towards the brick wall of the neighboring building, which juts out. Bob wasn't bothered by the seat, he's much less tuned into ambiance...just give the guy the wine list, if you know what I mean.

 

I do have enough dining experience where I should have looked around and scoped out the specifics..in this case, it would have entailed noting the two empty 8 tops and assuming they'd fill, and walking out the "exit" portal and seeing the communal dining room and asking who would be dining there..but that's putting a lot of onus on the diner, in my opinion.

 

By the time the baby started crying, we had two ethereal courses, a bottle of Krug,and a complimentary pheasant entree ( I was discussing the options w/ the waiter, was deciding between two, passed on the pheasant, and we were delighted when the waiter brought us a complimentary pheasant course. )

 

We had come from the Philadelphia flower show, we were comfortable and satiated, a great bottle decanting for our next course, happily discussing our landscaping plans.

 

I've learned something, and I appreciate your comments.

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