Here's my bite: we all love to be able to spend a nice night at a local restaurant now and again, but spending that $40 or 50 once a week needs a road map if you will in order to spend wisely.
For example, I've live in RI for almost 50 years and I think that over that much time I may have an eye for quality food and service. So what's my bite??
My bite started this past Sunday evening. The weekend went by pretty fast with the usual Friday night pizza and Saturday afternoon yard work. By Sunday evening I was ready to relax and enjoy a good meal. After driving around North Kingstown for a scenic water view of Wickford harbor, my girls and I thought we'd try Duffy's..
I approached the parking lot, which seemed half full of patrons and said that's a good sign – let's go in. I was confused by the entrance, since there seemed to be many to choose from. The outdoor area was not very attractive and quite loud with music playing. After an order of drinks, we decided that eating inside might be best. It took a walk to the bar to find a waitress to direct us to the actual back entrance. Little did I know then, I should have guessed, it was the beginning of the end, and in hindsight I should have gone with my gut feeling and left.
We were very hungry and it was after 6 p.m., so we approached the entrance. A women standing away from the door looking confused turned out to be the hostess. She asked us if we were dining and I nodded and she preceded to point us to the very first table/booth at the entrance door. Not to my liking I asked if we could be have another table. She looked in the bar area and said she had to get someone to clean off a table – another WARNING sign, but I stayed.
Waiting around for more than a few minutes she waved to me from the bar area to come on in. Once we sat down the waitress noticed our drinks in hand and answered some menu questions I had in mind. The decision to splurge on lobster came upon me after seeing many plates pass by. I inquired about the multiple options to enjoy this lobster plate. It was a bit confusing. One cull? Single, stuffed, prices for each higher than the next. So she recommended the fishermen's style, which she said included both claws and it would be stuffed for $21.95, with two kids meals at $5 each, $40 didn't seem so bad to part with.
The meal came with two sides, baked potato and salad. So we ordered and the wait began. As we waited my girls and I noticed a musky smell and once again I was getting worried that it may be a smoking section, but we were in for the ride by this point.
About 10 minutes passed when the waitress brought the salad and some bread. It reminded me of being at my high school senior ball: the salad was brought in one of those old black small bowls and the bread was pre-sliced packaged white bread. Not very appetizing but edible. Within a few more minutes our order was served. One cup of white chowder, three clam cakes and an order of fried chicken fingers with french fries and of course my dinner…a claw-less baked stuffed lobster with cold, under-cooked potato.
Yes! I said "claw-less" lobster. So I waved my waitress over, asked her where the claws were and she said, “I don't know? I've never seen that before.” I asked her if I ordered the wrong lobster and she said no, that's the fishermen's lobster and it should have claws. She went on her way and waited on two more customers and picked up drink orders all while I waited to receive my claws. Finally, after another flag down she returned and said the cook said the claws are in the stuffing. HA! I was dumbfounded. I asked for a lobster with two claws that would be stuffed and the waitress directed me to the fishermen's lobster. After eating the tail, I proceeded to the stuffing to look for the claws and there were none to be found. Where were they? I wondered? I explained that there were no claws in the stuffing and it only contained two shrimp and six small scallops and breadcrumbs.
At this point my desire to stay was about finished. I asked for my bill and she said, “I'm bringing you two claws.” HA! again. I was clearly finished with my meal and so were my girls. I stated that I would not be paying for the fishermen's lobster with no claws and to adjust my bill for a NO CULL lobster. She came back and said I took $2 off your bill. HA! a third time. I asked for the menu to show her that I would be paying less then the $16.95 that was listed for a lobster with one claw. I had NO CLAWS. She never returned.
I asked the hostess for a manager and the answer was THERE IS NO MANAGER! I thought she must be mistaken, surely there is a manager who is running this restaurant? I asked several other employees and also asked for the kitchen manager to resolve my clawless lobster demise. The response was NO MANAGERS work here. Instead, I was directed to a young bartender who tried over and over to convince me that I should take the claws home and pay the $21.95 for the lobster. UNBELIEVABLE!
Well, after several more minutes of discussion, and having three or four waitresses accost me about my claws, each stating that I was offered claws and I should pay the full bill and take them home...I told the bartender I'd pay him $16 for the lobster and handed him my money for the bill which ended up being $27.97 not including the beverages which came to about $9.
Here's my bite!! DON’T PAY FOR SOMETHING THAT CLEARLY CAN'T BITE YOU BACK! (MY CLAWLESS LOBSTER TAIL… "TALE."