Last night I had dinner at Le Vingt-Six restaurant at 41 Madison Ave. in New York City and I had a really bad experience which I felt like sharing with the world. It’s especially important for me to share because when you search Google for the restaurant, the only thing that comes up is a link to their menu, no reviews. I figured I might as well help them out in case someone else goes searching for information to no avail (as I did).
Anyway, the food was alright at Le 26. I had lamb chops which were good. They were plenty rare enough and the sauce was fine. The vegetables that accompanied them were rather undercooked and some, like the carrot, was all but raw. The meal came with a side of french fries which tasted fine, but were nothing you couldn’t get at your local pub. They also came in a basket, which seemed a little tacky. I started with some fried calamari, which, like the rest of the food, was uninspired. Nothing special and the presentation, again, left something to be desired. If I spend a lot on a meal I expect to be wooed, and while it was all very nice, my impression was not matching the price.
Finally after the meal the waiter brought me the check and I gave him my credit card. I was paying with my New York Times In Good Taste (IGT) card that gives discounts on restaurants listed. The waiter returned shortly after and informed me that they would not take my card and he could not give me my discount. I didn’t know what to say and asked to speak to the manager who informed me that the machine was not set up yet. He said he knows they’re in the book, but they had done that early and could not do anything for me. I argued for a few moments before handing him my credit card and informing him that I would never return. Anyone who knows anything about the restaurant business knows that you should try to do something for a customer who is unhappy enough to say that. What the manager said, however, was, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Instead of bringing me out a dessert, some drinks, something, he just gave me my bill and no goodbye on the way out.
I think it’s inexcusable to treat a customer that way and I wanted to share my story with the world. I hope that the next person who searches for information on the restaurant runs across this post and thinks twice. I hope the restaurant manager and owner run across this post and think twice about their customer service policy. If you do read this and decide not to eat at Le Vingt-Six please leave a comment. That way if those involved in the restaurant do read this one day they’ll know about the customers they lost because the manager said, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
Update (6/26/05): Yesterday I walked by and it appears to have shut down. Looks like they got what they deserved.