April 25, 2012
The last time I wrote about a bad experience at a restaurant I was contacted by an executive from their home office. Let’s hope the same happens here because someone needs to know.
There is a bar/restaurant named Luciano’s in the complex where my current office is located. Here is what they have to say about themselves from their website:
You haven’t tried pizza til you’ve tried Luciano’s! We offer top-notch pizza delivery in Brooklyn, with delightful concoctions like the Meatball Parmigiana Pizza and the Funghi Pizza adding a little pizzazz to our menu. If you like more low-key pies, we can toss you up a traditional Margherita or a Pepperoni. So for fast, free delivery, place an order online Monday through Friday.
For the record, it is a nice place and the food isn’t bad. Not nearly as good as they say it is, but not bad. Bear in mind that this is not as good as your local pizzeria. This place caters to the office workers that surround them. They are closed on the weekends and are open no later than 7:45. The bar there does much better than the food, as you’d expect. It is an office hangout located in the heart of a business complex so it can be forgiven if the food is not perfect, they have a captive audience. In fact, reread that description above. They brag more about their delivery than their food. Sure, they claim to have the best pizza in Brooklyn, but what pizza place does not? That’s just cliché.
I should also note that on Google, after 10 reviews, they have a 1.9 out of 5 stars, so while I say the food is not bad there are plenty of people who think it sucks.
Last week Saarah and I went into Luciano’s for lunch. Saarah had eaten their Primavera pizza before and wanted one for lunch. Worked for me. From their website, here is what they put on a Primavera pizza: Broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, fresh mozzarella, basil, tomato sauce. They have all their pizzas listed on a giant menu above the register. Simple enough.
No it was not.
We walked to the pizza counter and the pizza guy took our order: One Primavera pizza. Typical looking pizza guy- white t-shirt, white apron, funny little white hat on his funny little head. He looked the look, he walked the walk, and he totally blew it on the talk.
“Primavera Pizza,” Saarah repeated.
“I don’t know.”
We were in trouble. There was a giant menu board right above his head. Saarah pointed to it and said “Primavera pizza.” He turned and looked at it (note that I did not say he read it) and went straight over to the pizza-making station where he immediately began to absolutely not get to work on her pizza.
Oh sure, he picked up and dropped a couple of slices of pepperoni, which by the way do not go on a Primavera pizza, he wiped down the counter, he picked up a pair of tongs and futzed around in the oven, he even looked like he was thinking at one point. But he did not make a pizza.
A note on how Luciano’s makes a pizza. The pizza bases are all pre-made. In other words the dough has been cooked and the sauce has been spread atop it. All that needs to be done is to add the cheese and toppings and slide it into the oven for a couple of minutes. The rack of pizza bases was no more than and certainly much less than five feet from the guy but he did not make a move to get one. What he did was come back to us.
“What do you want?”
Saarah pointed to the sign. “Primavera pizza. It’s right there!” She was remarkably composed. Ever helpful, I jumped in. “It is the fourth one down, under the eggplant pizza.” At this point I honestly believed the man could not read since as much as he stared at the sign he showed no appearance of comprehending it. So I read it to him.
“It says broccoli. Zucchini. Mushrooms. Spinach. Fresh mozzarella. Basil. Tomato sauce.” I paused for emphasis after each ingredient. “Zucchini. (PAUSE) Mushrooms. (PAUSE) Spinach. (PAUSE)” etc. You can tell I am a former teacher, right? There’s a reason it says “former.”
So the guy looked at me and rather than calling me a jerk for treating him like an illiterate fifth-grader from Neptune, he said, very sincerely, “thank you.”
Then he walked away and stared at the floor.
By now the girl behind the register had come over and wrote down our order on her pad. Saarah asked her if the guy knew what he was doing and she sadly shook her head and, with a look on her face that said she’d been through it all before, without a word, walked away.
Saarah looked at me. At times like this she can read my mind, and when she said “want to get out of here?” I was already wondering what took her so long. Without a single backward glance we left. And it I bet the pizza guy had no clue we were gone. Or even that we were ever there.