Thursday, December 27, 2012

No Christmas Cheer at Mark Pi's

No Christmas Cheer at Mark Pi’s
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 27, 2012

To enter the service and culinary gates of hell, visit Mark Pi’s China Gate and Sushi Bar on North Meridian Street in Carmel.

Surly to bed and surly to rise should be the philosophy of the management and wait staff at Mark Pi’s who did themselves a disservice by remaining open on Christmas.

For openers, there was the waitress who at first appeared to want to take our order, but while we briefly deliberated over a particular menu item, turned and walked away not to return for several  minutes. On her next attempt at taking our order she directed her attention to a neighboring table. When asked if she was planning on taking our order, she snapped that she was busy and seemed irritated that we dared to bother her.

Several minutes later the waitress brought me my Miso soup, slamming it down on the table to the shock of the four of us, and with such force that enough soup flew out of the bowl to fill the bottom of the saucer. She also forcefully dropped the four empty plates on the table as though they were radioactive.

Clearly by the look on my face the waitress knew she was in the wrong, took my soup away, and brought back a fresh one that remained in the bowl along with an apology.

Next up were the Spring Rolls – six on a plate, each roughly the size of a wine bottle neck. Tasteless and greasy at best; devoid of any nutritional value.

Bring on the entrees, bring on the spice. I ordered the Classic Hunan which as advertised is spicy hot, but as food is supposedly made to order, I specifically requested non-spicy. One bite and I was reminded of a Bobby Slayton stand-up bit eating spicy Chinese – “head on fire!” More chili peppers than a Santa Fe ranch. Back it goes. Second attempt was better, but there should not have been a need for a second attempt if the server was doing her job and looking at the actual plate prior to serving it.

Then there was the Pad Thai – or should I say the Pad the bill Thai. Two orders of Pad Thai proving that all dishes are not created equally. Both were ordered with chicken (at an additional charge, no less) and while one was appropriately prepared, the other may have had two minute pieces of something resembling poultry. Back it went, this time with an exasperated waitress. Clearly, sifting through the dish, it was painfully obvious that the restaurant was trying to rip us off.

But adding to the culinary cacophony was the speed by which the waitress brought the bill – two of us were barely halfway through our entrees and she made us feel a part of the Indy 500. The four of us agreed we had not felt this rushed in ages.

And adding insult to injury was the insolent attitude of the manager who couldn’t be less patient listening to our legitimate concerns – concerns that when addressed properly would make future patrons’ visits more enjoyable than ours. This manager, said his last name was Wang, claimed not to have fielded a complaint in his 30-plus years in the restaurant business – a virtual impossibility.

Needless to say, a fine time was not had by all as this was the first and last visit to Mark Pi’s in Carmel. I am happy to furnish a copy of this review to their corporate office in Columbus, OH.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN. He has enjoyed fine Chinese cuisine and service in New York City’s Chinatown, NJ, Washington, DC and Chicago among other locales.

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