Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dining Diva Review: Mungo's Restaurant in Fairview Heights IL--Review


My husband and I had dinner at Mungo's tonight (9/5/07) and it was quite a distressing experience. I grew up in the restaurant business, owned a very profitable one for a while and spent 2 years at Le Cordon Bleu in Tokyo--along with having been cooking for almost 40 years. First, there was some sort of black gunge in my iced tea--not a big deal, the tea was replaced immediately but I couldn't figure out what it was that was in there--but it made a yukky dark brown smear on the tacky white butcher paper they put over the tablecloths--what's up with that by the way? Can't they afford tablecloth laundry? It looks REALLY tacky to have white paper over a burgundy tablecloth--here's a hint--spring for the Plexiglas cover if you can't afford tablecloths or better yet no tablecloth. Anything is better than the white-trash ambiance of the paper-covered table! I had the Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken and asked for the chicken to be well done since I've been served MORE than my share of raw chicken and shrimp over salads and pastas and I hate sending food back. The fettuccine was good, but the chicken was ROCK HARD and obviously had been microwaved--there wasn't a grill mark or browning of any sort to be seen on it and I could barely cut it with a knife--really bad. I told the waiter this but didn't send it back because in all fairness I DID ask for well-done chicken and I figured the chef wanted to make sure it was not coming back. The waiter insisted that it hadn't been microwaved, but it had been not that I cared to argue about it, I just wanted to eat after a stressful day of wedding planning and auditioning restaurant and caterers. I had forgotten about it; when to my utter astonishment, a man dressed in blue-jean cutoffs claiming to be the OWNER (who looked like he'd been nipping a few at the bar) came to my table and began screaming that the chicken had not been microwaved and that it had been sauteed in olive oil and that I had insulted his restaurant and that I shouldn't tell them how I wanted my food cooked--just let them handle it. Up to this point the crud in the tea, the tacky butcher paper over the tablecloth and the rock-hard microwaved chicken were basically non-issues and I would have given the restaurant another try somewhere down the road since I always eat somewhere twice before reviewing or deciding never to eat there again. In the limo/wedding/hospitality biz one has to be a little flexible and realize that doo-doo does happen--regular chef is sick and the replacement pops a piece of chicken in a microwave to try and give the customer what was requested, but for the owner to come out and scream at dinner guests is an experience I have never had--and won't repeat. I didn't understand why the place was so empty at the dinner hour, but after being lambasted by the owner, it all makes perfect sense and I understand why the poor chef lied about microwaving the chicken to his enraged boss--who then turned his rage on the customer, a super no-no in the hospitality industry. As a retired restaurant owner, professionally trained chef and limousine business owner, I do have more than my fair share of cooking and hospitality experience and I wouldn't eat there again if I were STARVING to DEATH. My wedding guests CERTAINLY won't be subjected to a dining experience at Mungo's and the owner should seriously consider some etiquette lessons--which would be a tax write-off because it would help him manage both his restaurant and temper. I was so stunned that I didn't even think to get up and walk out--which astonished my husband to be who told me later that he was fully prepared to get up and walk out. This man has a LOT to learn about the restaurant business--treating customers badly explains why he can't afford a good chef, table linens and iced tea without crud in the bottom of the glass!
Food: 1 star
Service: 2 stars
Screaming and Possibly Drunken Owner: Unbelievable!

1 comment:

Limo Barbie said...

I was working the night that "Limo Barbie" and her party were at Mungo's, and I can confirm the attitude that the owner had...However, with all the "bad press" she gave us, was there anything good about her trip here? It seems that from the moment she sits down, everything has gone wrong. The food was bad, the tea was bad, the butcher paper was ridiculous (most of the employees will agree about the paper)...Would anything ever make this woman happy? It's funny that Mungo's has been around since 1983, and while I'll be the first to admit that the owner is not the best businessman I've ever met, he does still manage to keep going. I've been with Mungo's for 20 years and I want people to understand that things can be corrected without having to resort to such "blogs" and "comments". Let people make their own choices about dining out, etc...I will tell you what I tell everyone about why I've been at Mungo's so long...I do think the food is some of the best around, (compared to all the "corporate places"), and I am there to take care of my guests and at the same time make a living for me and my family. If you have a problem with something, speak to your waiter first, or just ask for me...Jeff

Note: This comment came to me at my other blog where I posted this same review. I feel vindicated.