Let's get right to the weekly rant.
Kurt M. von Richthofen: Dimassi's , 5160 Richmond, 281-753-2157
“I’ve eaten at many of the Dimassi’s restaurants around Houston for years. They have great food at a reasonable price. It doesn’t hurt also that they offer a “Frequent Diner” card. Buy (X) number of meals and your next meal is free. Recently, I ate at the Richmond location one evening and asked for a new card. I was told they were out at the time but I was given a “stamp” on the back of my receipt and told it could be added to a new card the next time I went back.
“Yesterday, I invited a friend to their Richmond location for lunch. I paid for his meal and mine, then I asked if they had a new supply of “Frequent Diner” cards. When the cashier told me they had new cards, I handed her my previous stamped receipt. She stamped the new card, but only stamped it twice instead of three times. I looked at the card and asked her why the card had not been stamped three times. She knew I had just purchased a meal for two people and had a previous meal purchase, which should also be added. 2 + 1 = 3, right? No, not this time. She told me I had made only one purchase, so my card would only be stamped once.
“Over the years I’ve invited many friends there as guests and have always received two stamps any time I’ve paid for two people. The lunch cashier was a new face I’ve never seen before. After asking her about the policy several times, she continued to maintain she could not give me a third stamp on my card. Finally, she relented, stamped a new card with a single visit, but insisted on handing it to my friend. At the time (around 1 p.m.) there was no one other than the cashier to talk with about the matter. I get Groupon restaurant solicitations regularly and Dimassi’s frequently offers 2-for-1 price discounts. I don’t know what their “Frequent Diner” policy is when one uses a 2-for-1 Groupon coupon (two dinners, regularly priced $28, for only $14), but yesterday I paid full lunch price ($21+) for two and feel somewhat short-changed about the experience.”
Sandra Simonis: Olive Garden , 4641 E. Sam Houston Parkway in Pasadena, 281-991-0004
“My mother and I couldn’t wait for the new Olive Garden to open in Pasadena because we always went to the Baybrook location. So we made a girls day of it and started with lunch. We had to wait just a short time for a table. We were given our server’s name and our drink order was taken and delivered promptly. However, staff kept walking around here and there, and we had to ask several times for our waiter.
“My mother ordered the soup and salad; I had the seafood alfredo since they took my favorite cannelloni al forno off the menu. When my lunch arrived, it was barely lukewarm and looked as if it had been sitting for some time and then microwaved.
“I know they are a new location, and I love Olive Garden, so hopefully they will get the kinks worked out. The restaurant was busy, but it just looked to me like the staff were walking around with no clue as to what they needed to do. Maybe next time will be a better experience, or back to Baybrook we go.”
Kate Schuh: Capital Grille , 5365 Westheimer, 713-623-4600
“My husband’s birthday is in August so we try to celebrate during (Houston Restaurant Weeks) by going to a new restaurant in the city. This year we picked Capital Grille.
“Those poor girls who answer the phones heard from me a minimum of eight times last week. I had last-minute additions to our party and had to call at least four times to change the reservation. Never once did they sound agitated or put out by my requests. Instead, they always approved my requests and did their best to sound happy about doing so. I changed the reservations so many times that by the time Friday night rolled around, they knew me by first name. During Restaurant Weeks, this was no small feat.
When we arrived they had decorated our table for my husband’s birthday. They gave the entire table complimentary champagne. My husband got a free dessert. And at the end of the meal they came around with a camera to take a group picture for us. As the night ended, they brought a printed picture to me with the date as a keepsake.
“In my opinion they went above and beyond when they didn’t have to. Not only had I been a problem customer with all of the changes I kept having, it was also during one of the busiest times of year. Each request was met with a friendly face and exceptional service. They went above and beyond for me and I so appreciate it. We had a great time and will be loyal patrons from here on out. Thank you, Capital Grille, for making my husband’s birthday the best.”