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Old 01-22-2020, 07:20 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 239
Default Don't eat at La Scala

There’s a restaurant in Beverly Hills called La Scala. They’ve been there a million years. It’s an Italian place. Nothing special about the pastas or main courses. But they offer this chopped salad that is very popular. It’s very finely chopped and if you go at lunch you’ll see 9 out of 10 people order it. Like I said, it’s very good, but it’s just a salad. I don’t think you’d need ten chemists to break down its ingredients in order to recreate it. Chop finely, add items, and drench with dressing, put one olive on top. In fact, if you want to make it yourself, here's the recipe.

But La Scala is one of those chic Beverly Hills eateries that is very status conscious. How you are treated, especially by the host, depends on how important they think you are. I must say that has always bothered me. I never feel I’m considered important enough for them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone and was offered the worst table in the place, despite the fact that the room was half-empty at the time. Either I get push-back that the other tables were reserved or they begrudgingly move me.

No attempt is ever made to make me feel comfortable. And I often think to myself, “It’s just a ****ing chopped salad. I can buy a Vegematic and make one just like it myself.”

They have a seating policy where they will only seat you when all members of your party are present. That’s kind of bullshit but okay. If you say another person is coming then 99% of the time they actually do. Why inconvenience the person who arrived first by having to stand in their tiny crowded waiting area? Who knows? He may even order a drink or appetizer while he's waiting. But that’s their policy. Whatever.

It’s not a large restaurant. One long room with comfortable booths along the walls and two rows of small tables down the center of the room. Obviously, the booths are coveted. When I go I always get there at noon so they’re still available – and then have to plead with the host who instead wants to seat me next to the host stand where seven people can stand over me while I eat.

Recently, a writer friend and I were taking our friend Liz there for her birthday. Liz arrived first, said it was a party of three. I arrived a few minutes later and Liz asked if we could be seated? It was her birthday. The martinet host pointed to their “policy.” Even the other waiting customers gave him ****. “Come on, it’s her birthday. Set her up.” Bowing to pressure the host begrudgingly sat us at a booth. A few minutes later our third party arrived and joined us. The waiter announced that he wouldn’t serve him.


They don’t serve “guests” and we were a party of two. We said, no, we were a party of three. He said that was impossible because they never seat incomplete parties. We explained the circumstances. It should be down on his list that we’re a party of three. He checked, the host hadn’t entered it so we were obviously liars.

He also kept insisting it wasn’t him, it was the “policy.” I said that was bullshit. These aren’t FAA safety rules. It was a matter of accommodating customers. He would have none of it.

I said I wanted to speak to the manager. This high-strung very young waiter said he was the floor manager. I told him they were going to lose a longtime customer over this to which he replied, “I don’t take kindly to threats!” Things got heated quickly after that and I said we were leaving. People at other tables were cheering us. Guess I’m not their only customers who finds their attitude off-putting.

Before leaving I asked for the real manager’s card. I was given the number of the corporate office. We went down the street to Porta Via, one of the ten other restaurants on the same block and had a lovely meal.

When I got home I called the number, got some woman who intercepted my call and wanted to know the nature of my complaint. I said I wanted to speak to the head guy myself, not have her relay it. She took down my contact info and said he would call me.

That was about a week ago. He’s never called. So I say, **** THEM. How many times over fifteen years of doing this blog have I specifically suggested you avoid a restaurant or hotel or anywhere? Answer: This is the first.

Telling this story to a friend last night he said, when his father-in-law was near death but felt well enough to go out for the first time in months they took him to La Scala where not only did they not seat him, they made him stand – an 80 year old man with stage four cancer. Needless to say, my friend now also boycotts the place.

So to repeat:AVOID LA SCALA. Tell your friends and have them avoid La Scala.

There are twenty other Italian restaurants in Beverly Hills. And it's just a ****ing chopped salad.

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