Dinner at Chez Zee

Elise and I went on a dinner date last night. I chose Chez Zee. If it weren’t for the atmosphere and the borderline overly-friendly and mildly entertaining maitre d, we would have walked out.

First off, our waiter was horrible. He didn’t introduce himself, ask us how we were doing and taking our drink orders seemed like a chore for him. I watched our waiter throughout the evening. He had five tables. He wasn’t too busy to be more attentive to us. I saw him and two other waiters playing catch with a pack of cigarettes in the alley of the kitchen.

Elise had a chardonnay. I had a J&B on the rocks.

Dear Chez Zee bartender,

On the rocks = don’t float the ice. (Thanks Doug Paul)

Champion de Marlboro Wimbledon then took the food order of a four top that was seated after us.

Said waiter then took our order after putting the four top’s order into the POS. Ten minutes later, as he was walking by, asked “Oh, did y’all want some bread?”

I thought about saying “Oh, is that what the bread plates are for?” I bit my tongue.

Elise and I both struggled with finding something on the menu that brought taste buds to attention. I was quick to notice that most menu items were chicken entrees. I wasn’t really in the mood for chicken, nor was Elise. Elise thought the Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing and Pecan Chicken sounded good, but didn’t want to pay $15 for a salad.

She ordered the Oriental Ginger Stir Fry. I had the Chicken Gorgonzola Pizza (from the appetizer menu). My pizza was very good – very flavorful and plenty of food for half the price of an entree. We both agreed that the stir-fry wasn’t much better than a frozen boxed dinner. It was very bland with no hint of ginger. The fried wonton bowl was also more oily than she would have liked.

Chez Zee is well known for desserts. We didn’t want to stick around any longer than necessary. No dessert for us.

I thought about stiffing the waiter on gratuity. I’ve spent many years in the restaurant industry and know that that makes for bad ju ju. So I left our waiter a little less than a 10% tip. He was terrible.

People will always be people and mostly strange at that. Representing a restaurant well as a server is critical if that restaurant wants repeat business – and what restaurant doesn’t want that? I took a comment card home with me and planning on filling it out and attaching a short letter recounting our recent visit to Chez Zee.

One bad apple can spoil a nice, Friday night dinner date with my wife…

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