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Customer Service is a Key Ingredient at Suzette's
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Enjoying Fine Cuisine—and Life—French Style
Postcards from Paris: Part Deux: June 2010
Postcards from Paris: April 2010
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Come visit us today:

Suzette’s Creperie
French Bistro & Salon de Thé
 

Historic Downtown Wheaton
211 West Front Street
Wheaton, Illinois 60187
630.462.0898

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Philosophy

WHO IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON AT A RESTAURANT?

If you were to be asked who is the most important person at Suzette’s, who would you say? I would hope that you would say Donna…but that is not the right answer.

You know husbands; they always have something that embarrasses the heck out of you. But you keep the whole package in mind, and that little thing really is not that important. Well my husband is an absolute meat and potatoes man. He doesn’t like anything that has more than two ingredients in it. So we often dine out at steak restaurants. He likes steak so much that when we dine out he wants to make sure that his steak is prepared exactly how he wants it.

When the waiter asks, how would you like your steak? The description begins. I would like my bone-in rib-eye to be 120° at the table with a room temperature plate. No fu-fus. No maitre’d butter, no parsley, no salt, no pepper. Did you get that...a room temperature plate?

As the waiter is writing down all of the instructions my husband pulls out his thermometer and places it in his ice water to make sure it is perfectly calibrated. More times than not, the waiter will then ask how my husband wants his steak cooked, rare, medium rare, medium and then he starts all over again with the 120° at the table description. If the waiter protests and says he doesn’t think the chef has a thermometer, my husband quickly answers. “You had better hope to God that I am not the Health Department”. With that response we know that the rest of the meal may be a little “iffy”. However, when the waiter goes without fuss and explains the description to the chef we are usually on our way to a wonderful meal.

The chefs’ responses vary as much as the wait staff. We have experienced two extremes. Once, the chef rushed out with his hands on his hips, turned to my husband and asked, “Do you got [sic] a problem?” My husband said no, I just want my steak cooked how I like it. This particular chef proceeded to say he did not have a thermometer, so my husband lent him his thermometer. I knew right then and there that we would not be returning to this very nice French Restaurant.

The second extreme is a well-known steak restaurant in Chicago also with a French trained chef. When the waiter asked how my husband wanted his steak, he wrote down all of the information, did not ask the rare, medium rare, medium question, just simply left to give the information to the kitchen. After our salads were finished out came the steak cooked perfectly and accompanied by the chef’s personal thermometer at exactly 120°.

The best part of this whole experience is that we returned to that same steak restaurant three weeks later without reservations and as we walked in the door the owner greeted my husband by name and asked if he wanted a bone-in rib eye at 120°. Everyone my husband knows and even those he does not know hear how wonderful this steak restaurant in Chicago is. And you guessed it, the other restaurant, they know about it too. However, they are no longer open for business.

Several restaurants have cashed in on this unusual request and make a little production about the delivery of the steak to the table. One manager and a waiter deliver the steak on one plate and a thermometer and an alcohol sterilizing wipe on another napkin draped plate. They present the steak and the thermometer with a flourish as the other diners watch on. Chalk one up for customer satisfaction at that restaurant.

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customer service

The wait staff made me feel like I was someone very important. I was. I was their diner for the evening.

 

 

Internal Temperature Cooking Chart: Beef
Rare: 120-125 degrees F
Medium Rare: 130-155 degrees F
Medium: 140-145 degrees F
Medium Well: 150-155 degrees F
Well Done: 160 degrees F and above
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