a/o August 2010
No. 7 on Lane 64, SongJiang Rd.,1F
kid friendliness: if you can take the attitude, no high chairs and a little room for strollers
visit reviewed: 4/23/2008
previous visits reviewed: 12/9/2006 and 7.29.2005
Have you ever seen that SEINFELD episode with the Soup Nazi? He has a set of rules that you must abide by if you are to eat his food, abuses his customers, but even though he is so mean, the customers can't help but to buy the soup. I feel like I was in a Taiwanese variation of that episode after my lunch experience with La Casita today.
There really is no where to get decent Mexican food in Taipei... so despite my previous up and down experiences, I thought I'd head over to eat some chicken enchiladas during lunch. It's never been completely full when I'm there, so I figured I didn't need to call ahead to make reservations. Boy, was I wrong.
When we stepped inside, it was empty, though the tables were separated into large configurations. I figured some reservations were probably made. The owner asked if we had reservations and after saying, no, he bluntly stated they were booked.
He pushed, "All my old customers know that they should make reservations." Okay... well, shouldn't you treat all your customers with respect whether or not they are new or old, make reservations or not? While my mom offered congratulations for being so busy, he said, "No need for congratulations, I'm booked at lunch til Friday."
I asked if we could to-go something, he reluctantly agreed, saying that the kitchen wasn't really open yet (though they open at 11:30am and it was already 11:45am) and said if wanted to to order, we should hurry because once his "reservation" customers arrived he would not be able to help us.
He also very reluctantly agreed to let us sit down while we waited for our order. Keep in mind the restaurant is COMPLETELY empty at this point.
His demeanor was just so uninviting and downright rude, I was about ready to leave without ordering anything.
I was torn. Should we just walk out and away from his attitude?
But I figured I came all this way, I hadn't eaten Mexican in so long, I might as well order what I wanted since my friend and Mom didn't care. Even while ordering, he was pushing me to hurry. I felt like if a "reservation" customer walked in, he would tear the menu away from my hands and no longer let me order.
As our order came out, it was 12:08pm.
The restaurant was STILL empty.
He could have sat us down, served us and we might have been out the door by the time all his tables came in. Or at least gave us a semi-apologetic response and kindly asked us to make reservations the next time.
I ate some of the nachos with cheese, beef and guacamole (NT$300) in the car and my chicken enchiladas with rice and beans (NT$280) at home. The guacamole made with imported avocados was freshly made and did hit the spot.
But the whole experience definitely left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
When I complained to my friend that the owner was mean to me again (he had been with me and our friends the last time the owner was cranky), he said, "I should get mad at you. You should have
My girl friend who had come with me tried some of the food and agreed that it's the best she's had in Taipei, but that she just didn't understand why the owner was such an a-hole.
The owner also complained to my mom and friend that before SARS he had a huge restaurant with lots of employees and after SARS business wasn't as good. Ummm, maybe there is another reason why your customers are not coming back....
Before I headed over today, I was excited about re-reviewing the place and giving it a good recommendation, but after the way we were treated today (I don't think it's out of the ordinary), I can't recommend it despite the food being good (for Taipei) especially to new (or occasional) customers who aren't going to be treated with respect. I'm not even angry (like with the terrible service at Diamond Tony's), just really sad since it could be a place I'd like to eat at often. I guess if you are really desparate to eat there, just be sure to make reservations and deal with crochety service.
Should I have left without ordering anything? Have you ever endured bad or even rude service for food?