Author: Doug (---.aurorasys.com)
Date: 03-23-07 15:16
I had a sub-par experience at JB, as well. That night, they were understaffed and slammed. Our server was someone I knew. My friends on Culebra had tutored him and given him a job earlier. Good kid, in my book. Because of the connection, we got better service than the others in the restaurant, that night. He kept us in beers while the kitchen tried to dig out, and I appreciated it. Ultimately we ate about 90 minutes after arriving. I had no place to be, so to me, it was a non-issue. My friend is a little less tolerant and when I suggested we each pay $45 on a $77 tab, he said no way. When I made up the difference on the tip, he didn't speak to me the rest of the night.
My thoughts are this.
1. I understand why service can be erratic at restaurants on Culebra. There is a finite amount of help and it moves around according to a formula that I haven't deciphered yet. Probably related to how the employees are treated/paid. I have returned to Culebra to find the entire staff of Mamacita's transplanted to the Dinghy Dock or vice versa.
2. The supply chain is much improved from 12 years ago, but still a long way from mainland standards. If you want fresh fish, or any specific menu item, come early.
3. As one who enjoys my evening cocktails I deliberately set my expectations to a very modest level. Nothing is going to block my island karma. Not restaurant service, not menu items being unavailable, nothing - except warm beer. I love to luxuriate in my thoughts about the day in Paradise and sip my Presidente. When dinner comes, it comes.
4. I have many friends on Culebra, a good number of whom are wait people. I am not tipping them for 'superior service'. I tip them for being part of the infrastrucure that allows me to slow my metabolism to that magical pace that I miss so badly just now. Nobody in food and beverage is getting wealthy on Culebra, unless they own the property.
5. If a restaurant is pricey and I have a subpar experience, I roll with the punch that night and don't go back. JB and Seabourne are in that group. I've had bogus meals at a number of the other places for the reasons mentioned, but at pricepoints that don't scare me off permanently.