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Dinner at Los Feliz

Honestly, after my kick-ass brunch at Shopsin's, I thought that my Saturday (food wise) would just keep getting better from there.  Unfortunately, this is where it ended...

Cathryn, Clint, and I made our way (reservation-less) to Los Feliz at approximately 8:30pm on Saturday evening.  Upon our arrival, I was instantly taken by the restaurant's casual-yet-dramatic, sexy, dimly-lit, gothic-chic interior. 

I found myself pleasantly surprised that the three of us were seated, at a table of our choice, immediately.  A tortilla chip-filled brown paper bag and side of salsa arrived simultaneously with our glasses of ice water.  I chose to begin my evening with a hibiscus margarita; so you can imagine my confusion when I was served a colorless beverage in a salt-rimmed glass.  I overheard the young man at our neighboring table ask our waiter why the lime margarita he ordered was magenta-pink in color.  It was obvious that we were mistakenly served each other's drinks.  Once our orders were corrected, I secretly wished that I had just asked for a god damned bottle of beer: my hibiscus margarita was bland, watered-down, and utterly flavorless.  What a disappointment. 

The three of us were quite hungry, having already plowed half-way through our second bag of tortilla chips and salsa.  Finally, our waiter returned to take our order.  Cathryn, Clint and I decided that we would split three entrees: Chile Relleno Tacos, Chicharron de Pollo Tacos, and the Pollo Quesadillas.  Apparently, after I stepped away from the table to check out the restaurant's space downstairs, Clint asked for another bag of tortilla chips and salsa, only to be scolded and embarrassed.  "Another round of chips and salsa?" Our waiter snarked.  "I've been told by my manager that you need to be cut off."  Was this guy serious?

Downstairs, Los Feliz has several differently-themed cavernous rooms, in addition to yet another "downstairs" below that, which houses a lounge/club.  While I was only there briefly, I will say that the use of the space is quite impressive, clever and dramatic. 

When I returned to our table, I was shocked to hear that we had literally been "cut off" from more chips and salsa.  If that is the policy, then that's fine; if we needed to be charged for additional chips and salsa, no problem; but I find it inexcusable to treat a customer like he's some kind of free-loading punk who's only sipping ice water and not ordering food.  This was reaffirmed when I asked to speak to the manager.  "Sir, is there an issue with us asking for more chips?"  I asked.  "Yes, there is an issue," he responded.  "One or two rounds is fine, but three?"  I suppose he wasn't blatantly trying to be rude about the situation, but he certainly wasn't the poster-child for stellar customer service.  Had he worded things a bit differently, perhaps we would have left Los Feliz with a better taste in our mouths.  Instead, we were made to feel like morbidly obese local yokels. 

It's taken me a long time to come to grips with the fact that most Mexican restaurants in NYC charge patrons for chips and salsa.  I get it and, unfortunately, I have to be OK with it if I want to frequent some of my favorite spots.  However, if you're going to serve me free chips and salsa and then cut me off, explaining yourself in a patronizing and uncompassionate manner that leaves me and my fellow diners feeling like a bunch of free-loading fat asses, then I have a problem.     

And honestly, the food that we ordered was decent, but I'm not in the mood to give Los Feliz any more credit by talking about "how delicious our chicken quesadillas were," etc.  I'm sure we just came on an "off night," or "I'm being too sensitive," or "we just had a bad waiter," or whatever; but it's going to take me a while to get over the fact that we all felt much worse about ourselves post-dinner than we had prior to our arrival.

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