On April 5th I chose to take my employees out to celebrate at Giovanni's. This was the most unpleasant dinning experience I have ever had, but it was not the fault of the restaurant, it was the result of the behavior of my employees, who were obviously not accustomed to fine dining. The service was superb and the food was excellent as always, but my employees were not accustomed to five star cuisine and sauces that had not been frozen or had come from a can.
The members of my party were indecisive and, not only made snide remarks about the hostess and the Englishman dressed in the tuxedo, who both greeted us politely upon our arrival, but began to complain about the potency of the drinks that were delivered to them, suggesting that they were not strong enough. Some were obviously intoxicated upon their arrival, and they continued drinking, obviously hopeful that the tab would be covered by the company's account, and swearing at the table until I noticed that a nearby table actually moved to the bar although their meals had not yet arrived. The servers were pleasant, despite the cold and hostile nature of my employees, and were able to answer all of the questions asked regarding the menu choices and drink options.
The salad course was delectable and the dressing was outstanding, however my coworkers continued to find something to complain about. The servers took note of their dissatisfaction with the salad course and offered another salad with different dressing options immediately to my party members. One of my employees was so intoxicated that she fell out of her chair trying to make her way to the bathroom. She had not drank after her arrival, but had obviously done so before arriving, and she was one of the most unpleasant towards the Giovanni's staff, who continued to endure unwarranted complaints from my group.
When the entrees arrived the benighted comments came between bites of the food, which was incredible. I have eaten at acclaimed restaurants throughout the Triad and internationally, and I though that my veal was tender and the flavor comparable to the similar cuisine that I have experienced in Italy.
Although I found the entree course delicious, one of my more inebriated employees, who I had to cut off at this point, complained about his veal, even though we had ordered the same dish. There were complaints about the Chicken Parmesan as well, so I asked to try the dish myself, and was impressed. The hearty peeled tomato sauce that I know so well was perfectly complimented, and with just a hint of basil I thought, and was topped with melted mozzarella cheese. Another employee was complaining about her Shrimp Scampi dish, and, even though most of their dishes were consumed, they demanded to have these courses removed from the bill. I tried one of these scampis and thought that the breading was perfect, but she continued to insist that it was not what she had expected and she proceeded to exclaim, rather loudly, that just last weekend she had been at Red Lobster and their scampi was better than Giovanni's. I had to disagree. After hearing her spew dispicable comments about her food, which she had eaten most of, I decided to pay with my personal card, and not with the company card.
I was so ashamed with my employees' behavior that I quickly paid for the bill and left before they could order any more drinks or cause a bigger scene in the restaurant than they already had. Using my personal credit card was the most intelligent decision, since I did not want the undisciplined nature of my dinner companions to be associated with my company's good name. The chef emerged from the kitchen and tried to offer a free dessert in addition to removing the dish from the bill. My employees quickly became indifferent about these items remaining on the check whenever they realized that I was, reluctantly, paying their bill, and tried to order more drinks after the entrees were removed.
My party was shouting threats about leaving unwarranted reviews about their supposedly horrible experience because the server was asking them to open another tab since I had already paid my bill. On my way out, I tipped the kitchen and the wait staff for their unmatched tolerance of my disorderly party.
I will return to Giovanni's for not only the service and the food that our table received, but also for the professional manner in which the servers managed this lawless group.
I plan to return to Giovanni's with clients, but never again with my unruly employees. I have only to apologize to Giovanni's staff and to the chef for the actions and behavior of my employees that evening, which can be summed up as:it is impossible to serve escargot and five star scampi to a crowd whose definition of an exquisite seafood entree can be summed up in two words "Red Lobster".