Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Jesse Wong's Kitchen - Revisited

Oh, I know I said I'd never set foot in this place again, but my father's girlfriend gave me a $60 gift card for my birthday last year and we just now got around to using it. Believe me now when I reiterate that I will never go to Jesse Wong's Kitchen ever again. Not even if someone else is paying for it.

Mr Minx and I decided to attempt their sushi, since the hot lunches we had eaten the last time were so miserable. The miso soup was standard, rather skimpy on the tofu bits. Vegetable tempura included three pieces of bell pepper, four pieces of carrot, and one asparagus spear. All but the carrot were limp and overcooked, the batter was not at all delicate, and the dipping sauce had no flavor whatsoever. Not exactly off to a good start. But wait - it gets worse.

We ordered three maki sushi: Cowboy roll with shrimp tempura, cucumber and eel; Yellowjacket roll with spicy yellowtail, avocado, scallion, and Japanese radish; and the Dynamite roll with crabstick, salmon, and asparagus, battered and fried, topped with mayo & spicy sauce. The rolls were heavy on the rice and light on flavor - I noticed no cucumber in the Cowboy, no scallion in the Yellowjacket, and no salmon in the Dynamite. The "spicy sauce" was tasty, but served in dime-shaped dollops on each slice, rather than drizzled over the roll.

We also got the Sushi Deluxe entrée, comprised of about six pieces of
assorted nigiri, a "Neptune maki" which was just a variation of California roll made with flavorless Asian blue swimmer crab, plus three hand roll-type pieces topped with lobster salad and roe, just roe, and a itty bitty baby octopus. I enjoyed the lobster salad, and Mr Minx appreciated the freshness of the tuna, but everything else was just meh.

Full to the brim, we ask for our check. I put down my $60 gift card and a credit card to handle the few dollars balance plus tip. Several minutes later, I notice our waitress at the register, seemingly having trouble with the gift card. She called over the only Caucasian working in the place to help her out; he seemed to be the assistant manager, but he was merely a dolt. He comes back to our table, squats down (I hate when they do that - it's like "I'm being condescending to you but so it doesn't seem that way, I'm physically putting myself below your level.") and asks "how much is the gift card supposed to be for?" I told him the amount and handed him the little envelope in which the card came, sporting the number in orange marker. Dolt then informs me that the card shows no balance.

Ok, let's let that sink in. My $60 gift card was suddenly a worthless piece of plastic. I ate $60+ worth of food that I didn't even enjoy, and I was going to have to pay for it.

I told Dolt that we had a bad dining experience there before and the only reason we came back was to use the gift card. He said he was sorry, and I said he wasn't sorry enough. He went to call his manager, while I seethed. Had there been more than two other people in the rather large restaurant, I would have raised a very loud stink, but sadly there was nobody there to hear me, apart from our waitresses who looked genuinely apologetic.

Dolt comes back and says that his manager is going to call me in the morning. That if there's money on the card she'll find it. But they charged the full amount to my credit card and that was that. So, in essence, Jesse Wong's Kitchen is calling me a liar and a cheat, claiming in not-so-many-words that my gift card was used, or perhaps even stolen.

When in actuality, the f*cker who issued the damn card was probably too stupid to remember to put the balance on it to begin with.

UPDATE, 2:43PM I just spoke to the manager who apologized profusely and said she was waiting to hear back from the programmer who set up the gift card program. He can apparently retrieve any and all transaction data. I am supposed to hear back from them by Friday. I feel better. It's amazing what a little bit of sincere apology and pleasantness can do.


David Dust said...

Ouch! That really sucks ass.

You should have pulled a "DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!?!" routine and told them you were a BIG-TIME food blogger/critic who could destroy their reputation with a few swift keystrokes.

But actually they seem to be doing a good job of destroying themselves.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the open and complete description of your experience. I will not be taking my wife to Mr. Wong's for Valentine's day.

Anonymous said...

We had a great experience there... the food was awesome and even though the sushi was a little heavy on the rice, it was flavorful as hell. The cowboy roll was my favorite. We were told about the brunch on sundays and so we are going back soon to try that. i hear that jesse wong, who has a great reputation, is spending all his time there now to create a better experience all around. i say give it another try...