There are some restaurants in Seattle that I adore beyond adore... I frequent them often, recommend them for visitors, and even think about when I can go there again! The London Plane is one of those special restaurants on my list.
Everything about it is near perfection to me... The ambience, the flowers, the lighting, the food, the location... The whole package is something I see as totally beautiful. Up until a couple of weeks ago, my visits there had only consisted of brunch with friends, but on a recent visit in the evening before the Manchester United game at CenturyLink Field, the unfortunate attitude of just one staff member, the one who was taking care of my friend and I, was not only highly disappointing throughout the night, but it also raised the question of a "Policy" we were unaware of.
Against policy to share? This took me aback so I said to her, "We just want one meal it shouldn't be a problem." To which she told us again it was against their policy but she would check to see if they could make an exception.
A couple of disclaimers: First, because we were going to the Manchester United game we knew we'd want bites at the stadium so didn't want a full, 3-course meal beforehand. Next, this wasn't New Year's Eve, it wasn't Mother's Day, it wasn't Valentine's Day, or any other event when I would totally understand that it would be uncouth to make reservations only to share. It was a typical Friday night at 5:30.
Although we had no idea that an exception was made and we would be served our meal, it arrived, which was delicious and beautiful! But it still raised the question, why was it a "Policy" not to share?
So I reached out to The London Plane to ask.
Response from Yasuaki Saito with The London Plane:
"While our dinner setup is functional most of the time, it has put our staff & guests in awkward positions. We have been working on a solution which would allow us to both serve wonderful meals to diners looking for something substantial & allowing for snackers & noshers as well. Basically, the family style, prix fixe dinner will be modified to accommodate a la carte items & additional offerings.
re: policies, we train our staff to put hospitality before them but in this instance our training failed. We will follow up with all our staff to err on the side of generosity of spirit. We will also work with them on when to apply policies appropriately to certain situations which may call for it."
Thank you Yasuaki for the generous and quick response and for taking action to work with staff in order to provide a better experience. It still wasn't answered why it's policy in the first place, but I really appreciate the thought that went into explaining things, plus the follow-up with staff.
I will absolutely continue to visit The London Plane and recommend it to visitors. Hopefully by working with staff to clear up what the Prix Fixe "Policy" is, and when and how to implement it (or not), the atmosphere will only continue to improve.