and Maison Harlem ...Comme ca
BY KYSHA HARRIS Special to the AmNEws | 12/13/2012, 2:49 p.m.
While waiting for our burgers to arrive at Maison Harlem, my friend Jason and I decided to we should start with a little green roughage before the beef so we flagged down our server and asked for a garden salad ($9) to split. It was basic and a little underdressed for our taste and, once our burgers arrived with the same salad on the side, not worth spending the extra money. It would have been helpful for our server to mention that when we ordered the salad. Upselling is one thing, reselling is another, and not advising your table of a menu you should be knowledgeable about is bad business.
I enjoyed my burger with cheddar and caramelized onions served on a brioche bun (now $13.50). It was juicy and cooked perfectly to medium as I ordered. The frites were also good but served just a touch too cool. Jason enjoyed his burger though he realized that he is not a fan of the soft French brioche bun, as it becomes too delicate to hold all the ingredients of a hearty burger.
I was enjoying my first visit to Maison Harlem with all of the possibilities it held until the bill came and, more importantly, the subsequent show by and exchange with our inhospitable and patronizing server. Once all was said and done, our Sunday burger brunch came to $36 per person. Might be that "change is a constant" thing, but too much in my book for brunch.
The Bloody Mary that, for me, needed a little extra attention was $12. Bloody Marys, Bellinis and mimosas are the beverage holy brunch trinity and should be offered at a reduced price on Sundays. That is Brunch 101! That said, I took the note and thought I would mention it to our server as a little customer feedback. She didn't like that and proceeded to walk over to the bar, directly in my vision, and complain to the bartender who was watching me watching him. That turned me into a boiling Bloody Mary, but I took a beat and apologized to her for unknowingly upsetting her. Her reply? "Thank you," with a smirk and no apology for her display. I asked if one of the owners was around, whom she offered defiantly to call over. I told her not to worry herself any further and still gave a 20 percent tip (not my choice). She then proceeded to have yet another conversation with another server within my vision.
To his credit, when I politely interrupted owner Samuel Thiam in deep conversation, apologizing to his guest (apologies again, Ms. Goldberg) to discuss my experience, he excused himself and met me at the bar to hear me out. He admitted it was not the first time there was an issue with our server, that it would be handled and he welcomed me to return and ask for him should I have any other problems. Thank you. I will remain vigilant when I return.