Friday, July 13, 2007

Great Customer Care at Petit Plats

Had a light dinner at Petit Plats the other night. I wanted to try one of their many moules frites dishes (mussles and fries). Went with the moules provencal (tomato, garlic, and herbs)--more on that disaster in a minute. But also had to try the smoked trout salad and sauteed calamari appetizer.

First came the bread: a warm and fabulous baguette. Totally good. Chewy outside, soft on the inside. I rarely rave about the bread anywhere, but this was notable. They bake it fresh in-house.

Then came the smoked trout. It was sliced in strips, sat on top of some greens, fennel, and grapefruit. Really good. Nice balance. The calamari wasn't as nice. It was sliced into rings, over cooked and rubbery. The garlic and white wine sauce was oily.

Finally, the large bowl of mussels came. They were exceptionally dry, most were dead (closed), and the few opened ones were so small...there was nothing edible. We sent them back. This was a test of service. The manager came back and apologized profusely--clearly embarrassed. He insisted that he had a reputation for good mussels and he wanted to assure us that this was an anomoly, a bad batch. He had to throw the whole evening's batch out after he had the chef look at them more closely. So he took the mussels off our bill and insisted on dessert on the house. It was a fabulous tarte tatin. Lightly sweetened crust and apples with great caramel glaze, and a really nice vanilla ice cream.

This gesture, although small, was outstanding in its sincerity and I appreciated his focus on good customer care. Indeed "petit plats" refers to a french gesture of hospitality...and they most definitely showed it.

Petit Plats is a good little french bistro. Has plenty of classic selections, is nicely priced, and has great outdoor seating. It's a simple place and some of the food is hit or miss, but the service is great. I'll go again.

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