It’s happened to all of us. We go to a restaurant and something goes wrong. The food comes out cold, not cooked through or you just don’t like it. So what do you do? Well, I know a lot of people are too scared to say anything. That’s not me! If you are paying for it you should get what you ordered and the restaurant should get that order right, temperature and all! You know what’s worse? When you go to your favorite restaurant and find it’s gone way downhill. That’s exactly what happened to me. My favorite restaurant USED to be Cafe Fiorello on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I would go there all the time and always recommend it to others. Sadly that all ended about a year or so ago when they removed the only dish I ordered there off the menu with no good reason. On my return trips after that things have gone from bad to worse. Last night will be my last visit there ever. Now I want the restaurant to know why they lost me as a guest. So in addition to telling the waiter last night that I wasn’t happy, I also just emailed them this letter. I figured I’d include it here so you know you too should speak up if you ever have similar feelings about a restaurant. Management will never know the problems in their restaurant if we, the guests, don’t speak up!
To whom it may concern:
I have to confess this isn’t the first time I’ve written a complaint about Cafe Fiorello. I do it though with hopes that the restaurant makes some changes for the better. I first wrote more than a year ago after you took the fabulous agnolotti off the menu. For the 5-6 years before that when anyone asked what my favorite restaurant was I would tell them Cafe Fiorello. It was because I just loved starting with the vegetable antipasto (specifically the caponata), after that I ordered the agnolotti (the greatest dish ever). So imagine my dismay when I found that off the menu. I tried after that though to still give the restaurant a chance. However I’m a vegetarian and after that my options became more limited. On the next visit I tried the one vegetarian pasta on the menu. It was whole wheat pasta with capers and some other stuff I believe (nothing great). On the next visit I tried the pizza with eggplant and the eggplant was cold. After this I didn’t return for months. My husband though loves the open faced lasagne and asked me in recent weeks if I would give Fiorello’s another shot. So I looked online to see if the menu had been updated with any vegetarian additions and was pleasantly surprised to see there were now three pastas that didn’t have meat in them. One in particular the Cacio e Pepe is a favorite of mine at Landmarc and when I saw it on Fiorello’s menu I was excited to try your version. After my last experience with the eggplant at your restaurant, the pasta with eggplant didn’t entice me and I’m not a huge fan of broccoli rabe so I said I’d go and try the Cacio e Pepe. We finally went last night. So what happened next? I ordered the Cacio e Pepe and the waiter told me you had already run out of it for the night. It was only 7:30! I asked the waiter how you run out of such a simple dish? I mean it’s just whole wheat pasta, fresh ricotta (which you use in other dishes), garlic, black and red pepper. I am a trained Chef, I know what ingredients kitchens always have on hand and I can’t imagine your kitchen doesn’t have those ingredients on hand. Maybe you are out of the whole wheat pasta, but if that was the case I’d just substitute the pasta. Anyway the waiter had no answer for me. He just said all he knew is they blocked it off the computer, saying they were out of it. I was left ordering the Orecchiette Pugliese. To be honest I wanted to leave at that point because this was the final straw for me, but my husband wanted the lasagne so I compromised. The Orecchiette was just ok despite my dislike for broccoli rabe. It sure wasn’t something I’d come back for. Funny thing is a table that sit down shortly after me also asked about the Cacio e Pepe and the waiter gave them the same story and they too weren’t happy. Very odd. I then went on menupages and looked to see what others thought lately and found most of the reviews said they too were “disappointed”. Anyway as I said I wanted to write this in hopes that someone listens and makes changes before more people stop coming to a restaurant that used to fabulous. The restaurant was half empty Friday night when we were there and yes Memorial Day weekend was part of it, but I can’t help but think it’s downhill menu and service also have something to do with it. Thanks for taking this into account. I hope changes are made or unfortunately I won’t be making a return trip.