So I went out with a friend to Benihana here in Dubai last week. It is in a hotel, as all chains seem to be either in a hotel or in a mall.
We arrived at the restaurant. Looked nice but there were tables everywhere. Odd I thought. I am used to benihanas in the states that most of the tables are surrounding a hibachi grill. ?? Chalk it up to Dubai. I do think there might have been a few hibachis in the back but do not know. The hostess asked if we would like to be seated out on the terrace. Nice I thought, of course. We walked outside to a little patio area that has NO VIEW WHAT SO EVER. We are on the JBR walk in dubai at a hotel and I guess I was expecting a terrace would give us a view. Chalk it up to a bad location in the hotel. All is well, we are about to get to eat japanes/sushi :)
We both knew we wanted rolls and some . A few dishes were brought out going to other tables. Pammy, my eating partner, pointed them out and asked what they were and that they looked so good (to the waitress!! keep this in mind). We told her we wanted to have an assortment. She was literally no help. At all. We are a multicultural pairing and believe we are very understanding of those who do not speak english as their first language. So, as we were getting no where with our waitress on suggestions, we said, ok, do the assorted sushi. Assorted!!! And we ordered a combo that we get soup/salad/rice/veggies/chicken. All is well enough. I was very excited as Benihana is a place that I probly go to once a month or more in the states (it is an hour away from where I live plus there is a similar style local mom and pop that is five minutes away that is just as good if not better, as more authentic). Anyway, I am digressing but just trying to set up that I am a fan of this place and really wanted to like it.
Then out came our sushi. Our ASSORTED sushi. It was all nigiri sushi. Nothing else on the platter. We both looked at it, kind of astonished. 180 dirhams (I think that was the amount) and we have only nigiri which my friend doesnt exactly like and I am not all that crazy about half of the choices. I mean, honestly on an 'assorted' they have multiple octopus, eel, and other weird non staple types of fish... if it was a nigri assorted on the menu, which it wasnt listed as that at all!!
We we call our waitress over and said, "We ordered assorted." She said, "Oh yes, this is assorted. I explain to you would get this." We were like no. Pammy says you remember the rolls, and I said they looked so good and I wanted some like that. She was like yes. Long story, she could do nothing about it as they already made this and they will still charge for it. I have already heard the stories that these poor girls get paid literally peanuts and if an error occurs, they make them pay for it out of their salary. I knew right away, she was afraid of this and she pretty much said that. I asked for the manager as I figured she as a waitress could do nothing.
The manager comes. She just states the same thing. Already made and what was ordered. Explained to her we had specifically told we wanted rolls and pointed out other rolls. Then ordered assorted and expected assorted. We asked not to take back the whole amount but to remove part of it and bring us some roll. Her response. Yes, but must charge us for the assorted and the roll she brings out.
Honestly, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE CUSTOMER SERVICE IN BENIHANA?? IS IT BECAUSE IT IS IN DUBAI AND THIS IS JUST HOW THINGS ARE DONE????
It was not like we walked in and just ordered this and then were trying to get something 'free'. I think it was a legitimate issue. ??? She said no, she could do nothing either. A manager can do nothing to make a 500 dirham bill/custom happy! She said then she would be charged. That is horrible. She blamed it on he hotel! ????
On with dinner. Told her to get us a roll and to bring the plate back without the nigri sushi we had pointed out that we were deffinatly not interested in. So of course the plate comes back out, exactly how it was, and the MANAGER puts it in front of us. I could only shake my head and hope that she just didnt understand english very well and that she really wasnt this incompetent. :( I can overlook the waitress who is getting paid peanuts but not a manager that is suppose to be overseeing a restaurant needs to be well versed in the very basic customer service issues. I took it off the platter and she brought a dish and took it away. Our roll arrived and overall the sushi was fresh and very good.
The rest of the meal went fine. The soup and salad is quite similar to the products in the usa benihana. The chicken and vegestables came out with the rice. I have to say, in comparison, this was about the most washed down version of japanese food as I would care to eat. The chicken itself was very good and tasteful but it was large chunks and the vegetables made up very little. Kind of the opposite of what I am used to. It was very westernized. The rice was nothing fancy and just was rice... I LOVE Benihanas rice in the states they make at the table. Maybe it was because we did not sit at the table?? Even if you sit at the bar in benihana, the rice they bring you is still the same as sitting at the hibachi though.
Oh well. They brought us our desert and that was odd and bit over the top fancy. Fried ice cream is never a good choice imho. The ice cream itself had a strange flavor once you peel'd off the fried outside. Would not recommend it.
The manager stated that the gm of some sort was there and would come and speak to us. We were there two hours, and that person never came. The bill arrived and we paid full price for everything, paid for the roll, the assorted sushi that wasnt assorted at all, and nothing special was given. I was dissapointed to say the least. We got up to leave and asked for the manager, to ask about/for the gms. She said she was not available but gave us a card with her email address. I said I left my email on the comment card.
I kind of did expect SOMETHING in the way of a response (I know, I really shouldnt expect it in Dubai!!). Received nothing. It has been a week. I will not be going back. I probly would have went back to try it again and hopefully try the hibachi but after that experience... no. So today I checked my email, thinking that I could just surprised and maybe it went to my trash bin in my email on accident or ??? No, nothing. I came to write a blog. I wrote it all up
And then if I didnt just find this http://www.248am.com/mark/kuwait/my-benihana-experience/
I wonder if the same person is over this one????
I sat and thought. Should I not post my blog of my experience... Ahh, hell with it. It was a horrible experience. I am not going to keep quiet.
So, drum roll...
Hitting the publish button :)