My friend Bryant and I went to a Vietnamese grill in Dunwoody the other day. The restaurant was difficult to find, hidden in one of the corners of a huge shopping center. Not a smart location move on Com’s part.
We walked into the grill at 6PM on a Wednesday evening and the place was nearly empty. However, over the course of two hours or so it filled up a bit, with young Caucasians.
Let’s see. Com is a Vietnamese restaurant with French influences, and a bar counter. However, the decor of the place has convinced me that the restaurant is suffering from a long-term identity crisis. In a dimly lit dining area, why would you choose such a light shade of wood for your tables and chairs?
But then I realized it’s all the actual food itself.
Our waiter was very warm; we asked him what he recommended and he told us about two dishes that were not even close to the most expensive on the menu. He even offered to teach us how to roll the wraps we ordered.
You don’t have to order the most expensive items on the menu to have a great meal; due to their large portion sizes, I was very full and satisfied afterwards, though we didn’t have any leftovers.
You’ll enjoy this place if you’re searching for relatively inexpensive but really flavorful, fresh Viet food in the Dunwoody area.
As for authenticity, it seems to maintain some aspect, though definitely going for some sort of Vietnamese-American fusion approach, which I respect.
You’re probably wondering about the title of this post:
My friend offered to pay the bill so I let him do that, and then we left to go find ice cream. We went back to Com in search of a spoon or two – and then disaster struck.
Upon walking back in, we made eye contact with our waiter, who eyed us suspiciously as he walked over. Not a smile in sight – what happened to the polite, cheery guy who had showed us how to make our vermicelli wraps?
When I asked for disposable spoons, he said the restaurant didn’t have any, so then I asked if we could just borrow a spoon and sit outside on their patio. He promptly pulled us aside and asked in a not very polite way if anything was wrong with the meal, because we had not tipped him. Embarrassed, we quickly gave him an overdue tip and he grumpily produced some disposable spoons for us.
I thought the restaurant didn’t have any disposable spoons????
Okay, we didn’t tip him. That was our mistake. But it wasn’t intentional; I hope the guy realized that from the horrified look on our faces after he told us.
BUT REGARDLESS, IS A WAITER EVER SUPPOSED TO DO THAT? He used passive aggression in a directly confrontational way that made me feel very uncomfortable. Despite how great our meal initially tasted, that encounter has ruined the whole experience for me.
I’m not going to just sit by and rant about how good the meal was (though it really was) but ignore the after-meal encounter that left a sour taste in my mouth.
I’m not sure if I will personally return to Com, though I still think anyone who goes (and doesn’t forget to tip their waiter) will have an enjoyable meal. I wouldn’t let my individual experience get in the way of the aura that the restaurant as a whole is getting at.
More on tipping culture; as a cafe employee myself, I understand at least to some extent the frustration that ensues when an employee puts forward a great deal of effort to make magic happen for a demanding customer.
It’s written in between the lines of our job description, and in our culture, some sort of monetary compensation is expected. Though sometimes customers just take off, leaving us in the dust. I get it.
But do you know what you just did? You just alienated a satisfied diner who was completely willing to come back the next week and not forget to tip. You never know the intentions of customers who don’t tip. Perhaps they forgot, perhaps you unknowingly offended them.
I am hesitant about being so forward about someone who didn’t tip; I would never confront anyone like that.
What do you think of American tipping culture?
It’s got a fascinating history.
5486 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd, Atlanta, GA 30338