March 9, 2015

Going Upscale and Downscale all at the Same Time

Miami…Vacationers and residents of South Florida certainly have many choices when it comes to upscale kosher dining with varied themes. But in a recent foray to some of those establishments and in chatting with many that have visited the eateries I heard some gripes that I found worthy of note. I am used to the usual “slow service,” “skimpy portions,” and, of course, “awesome food,” but I was not prepared for some of these issues. One upscale dairy restaurant which features a special “washing sink” and chunks of bread to make the blessing actually asked for an “additional cost” when I asked for a slice of bread for the table. Another pizza and dairy restaurant took 40 minutes to bring out all the main dishes that were ordered. Four of the six people had completely finished their mains before the two others were served. One actually cancelled her dish. A young lady who ordered a dish to take out complained that she paid the same price for the dish as if it were served in the restaurant, yet the portion was half the size. And the biggest gripe came from some wealthy people who after the traditional Purim meal at an upscale restaurant chalked up a tab of nearly $350 for two people. They had expected a holiday pre fix but no one bothered to tell them that every dish ordered would be extra.

Although these incidents happed in Miami, I have no reason to believe that they could not occur anywhere. My point is that if we pride ourselves with a new generation of upscale kosher restaurants, they ought to behave “upscale” as well even if the business is seasonal as one restaurateur explained. It was almost as if he were saying: “Look you guys come here for a week or two but I have to keep this infrastructure going for a whole year just so I am around when you feel like dining when you are on vacation?” Do you buy this excuse? Some of us just don’t. It is enough that we pay $2.09 for a Cholov Yisrael Greek Yogurt that we buy in New York for $1.49. OK, the cost of shipping, even if the price of fuel went down.