Sunday, October 6, 2013

Scrambled Eggs Please...And Kindly Hold the Flies...

Alex & Ika is a "recommended" area restaurant to visit while in Cooperstown. As a matter of fact, we had been treated to brunch by friends at this restaurant in early December, 2012.  The food was very good, service was good, but we almost choked when we saw the bill for mimosas, coffee, juice, fries and eggs for 5.  $189.00 before tip.  

Check shows an order for Floridian (*Special Order - scrambled)
$7.00 glass of juice
However, we did enjoy the food, so we decided to treat our friends to brunch on our September trip. The only redeeming thing about this visit was our waitress.  She was great.  Unfortunately, everything else was a total disappointment.

We specifically came in for Sunday brunch. Upon walking into Alex and Ika’s, we were promptly seated and presented with dirty menus, littered with cruddy dried pieces of food on them.  There was an overwhelming number of flies in the building.  Another party of 5 or 6 women at a table next to us were also complaining about the dozens of flies flying around.   At this point, we really should have walked out. 

The brunch menus from last year were replaced by a single card on each table with 4 entrees to choose from, 3 poached egg dishes, one Florentine-ish dish, stained as well. 

Dirty, stained menu card on the table.

As my husband does not eat poached eggs, he requested the Floridian eggs benedict, but with scrambled instead of poached eggs.  This exact request was accommodated in December.  (And shown in the photo above of the bill).

The waitress took our orders and immediately the owner, Ika, came over to tell my husband they ‘would not’ do scrambled eggs.  He asked why, it was done for us previously.  Her answer was that they only do it their way.   He could have something else from the menu.  Again, at this point, we should have walked out.  Our friends would have left too, but my husband knew everyone was hungry and he just ordered a BLT on wheat.  Our friends and I  ordered our Floridian eggs benedict and two orders of fingerlings (fries with aioli dipping sauce) to share.  When our order came, the chef had forgotten to make the fingerlings and my husband’s sandwich was on rye bread, not wheat.  They rushed the fingerlings, which were a small portion of fries that were presented to us undercooked and soaked in grease at $9.00 per order.  They were awful. 

We literally had to cover our food and silverware with napkins so the flies would not land on them.  I can only imagine how many flies were in the open kitchen if there were literally dozens buzzing around the dining room.  Additionally, as we sat, we looked around and noticed the walls were filthy and scratched up and we even saw cobwebs around the ceiling areas.  Inexcusable. 

After the check was paid and we left, my husband stopped to speak with Ika.  He said, ‘You know there is an overwhelming amount of flies in here.”  She replied, “yes I know”. She said they had some sort of machines to kill them (which obviously weren’t working).  She admitted that the other table complained as well.    My husband said that he had been in business for over 25 years, and usually businesses try to cater to their customers.  She curtly replied, “No, we don’t do that.”  Are you kidding me?   My husband asked for a substitution of scrambled eggs on a check that was over $100 for breakfast for 4.  As a former waitress, I did not see this as an unreasonable request, AND it had been accommodated in the past.  Customer service is clearly not a priority in Alex & Ika Restaurant.  Ika could care less.  Nor is cleanliness a priority as is evident by just looking around (and seeing what’s flying around). 

From the time I worked my first job at McDonalds, to working in retail clothing stores, to waitressing at both pizza joints as well as a fine dining restaurant, customer service was always drilled into my head.  “The customer is always right,”  the managers and/or owners would say.   And while I do not 100% agree with that statement, the bottom line is that businesses need to make their best attempt to cater to the customer.  Within reason.  And when this basic principle of customer service is so blatently disregarded, in a more 'exclusive' restaurant as Alex and Ika claims to be, I truly am shocked.

We visit the Cooperstown area 2-3 times per year and I can guarantee you that we will never eat at Alex & Ika again. 

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