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Dining Pets Peeves Nos. 3 & 4


It would seem I am on a roll, and not a good one. Back-to-back terrible dining experiences in Denver have me wondering why I bother eating downtown at all, especially when there are so many solid eateries up north, just minutes from the office.

The convenience of staying close to home is the only real reason.

This most recent outing was at La Fondue, one of two major fondue restaurants in the metro area. The food itself wasn’t all that bad—some of the courses (notably the cheese starters and chocolate finishers were actually quite tasty).

But two major faux pas were enough to doom this evening, at least from a culinary standpoint. It was a birthday celebration, and we weren’t going to let a few mistakes ruin the evening.

Still, I’ll point them out in the hopes that this restaurant and others can learn from them. The first occurred before I could even get there. La Fondue has a policy of not seating a party until everyone shows up. Fair enough on a busy night or if half the party is M.I.A.

Slammed on deadline this week, I arrived nearly 30 minutes behind schedule. The other six were forced to wait in the bar—apparently 6 out of 7 isn’t enough to fill up a table, according to the ever-so-strict rules of La Fondue. When we were seated, there were a dozen empty tables next to the one reserved for us.

Would it have really hurt to bend the rules, just this once? Especially when the restaurant’s largest party of the night really wanted to have a seat will waiting for this always-to-busy editor?

Rules are understandable, but not bending them to appease a large party on a quiet evening set the night off on a sour note.

The rest of the night went off with little more than a few minor blips, until we were finishing off dessert. We were one of the last parties at the restaurant, but we were leaving within a reasonable time frame. Our credit cards were already on the table when the hostess turned out the light above our table.

When we brought it to the attention of our waiter, he shrugged: “The light is on the same switch as the ‘Open’ sign,” he explained, matter of factly.

Still, when we were getting ready to charge a $420 dinner to our cards, it made us feel unwanted. When the ‘Open’ sign switch directly affects the lighting of our table (or anyone else’s for that matter), the staff needs to be made aware that it is unacceptable to toggle it off.

Let’s just say the tip for the staff shrank a little at that point and next time I want fondue, I’ll be heading to The Melting Pot in Louisville.

Okay, I’m done being a snob for now. I promise more positive dining notes in the near future.

Read about my Dining Pet Peeves Nos. 1 & 2

—Jacob Harkins

1 comment

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    Forever Fondue is a “Bad” Scene. I had the pleasure of dining there and lets say I agree with Jake. He did not talk about the food in general… so allow me. Smelly seafood, bad sign. Low quality meats, is it that hard to find good meat? We are in Colorado. And the cheese course, my party had the privilege of getting stale chips with the southwest cheese. Overall overpriced and low quality. Stay away, there are many other more glorious restaurants out there that actually put some love into their food.

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