• Pure Food and Wine: Eight fuck you’s and one fuck off.

    January 9th, 2010mr meanermore restaurants (not LA), NYC

    From the moment I got a voicemail from Pure Food and Wine calling to confirm my reservation I thought I might be in trouble. The person on the other end of the line said “… as you’re not picking up we’ll have to assume this is the right number…”. The reason I didn’t pick up is that I was on an airplane headed to JFK, so fuck you on the attitude.

    We booked an early table as we’d been told that the place can sometimes get rather busy and doesn’t always honor its confirmed reservations with decent punctuality. Upon arriving at the the restaurant after a short walk from our hotel at nearby Union Square in sub-zero temperatures, with empty stomachs and a full wallet (more on that later) we were greeted and asked to wait by the door. And wait we did for about 5 minutes while the greeter walked to the back of the restaurant and appeared to be texting somebody from her ‘phone. Oh dear, I sensed trouble ahead.

    I tried to crack a trite and harmless joke with the dead-eyed greeter “can we dine on the patio?” which I thought was rather funny considering the blizzard conditions outside and the fact it was covered in snow. Without any eye contact she said “sorry, that’s closed tonight”. Fuck you number two.

    After being seated at a rather small two-top against a wall (remember: the restaurant was EMPTY), the greeter resumed her texting, and we waited another 5 minutes before somebody showed up with the wine and food menus. They also offered some kind of fancy filtered tap water which we gleefully accepted before ordering our food and wine. We also asked the server (whom we never saw again after that interaction) if the menu was entirely vegan, to which he replied “of couuuuuurse it is!” in such a patronizing way that I was stunned. Fuck you number three. I pressed further, seeking clarity on the “honey” that was included on several items to be equally patronized: “Well, most vegans eat honey.” Well I don’t, so fuck you number four.

    I ended up ordering a horrendously expensive bottle of wine from the list (as none of them were reasonably priced), and we began to settle in and review the food menu, deciding on a HONEY FREE appetizer of “Sushi Rolls with Dr. Cow’s Cheese”, which we ordered when a rather bubbly lady server finally showed up at our table to give us some attention. We also went for the incredible sounding “Thai Coconut Noodles in Galangal Red Coconut Curry: mung bean shoots, heirloom carrot, saffron oil, thai basil.” and “Port Soaked Portabella Mushroom Layered with Spinach and Fennel Caponata. Lemon garlic kohlrabi with smoked paprika aioli, aged balsamic.” for our two entrees, which we decided to share.

    Thai Coconut Noodles in Galangal Red Coconut Curry: mung bean shoots, heirloom carrot, saffron oil, thai basil. $24

    Upon arrival (remarkably quickly, indicating that these dishes might have been pre-made), the noodle thing was a smallish pile of bland, cold, slimy noodles topped with bean shoots and grated carrots atop some sticky dressing. Upon looking at the menu description, it was just a fancy way of describing exactly what the meal was. To call it disgusting would be an understatement. It was not only cold (as in refrigerator cold) but composed mostly of air and leaves. Still, at only $24 I suppose it was a deal (joke). Fuck you number five.

    Port Soaked Portabella Mushroom Layered with Spinach and Fennel Caponata. Lemon garlic kohlrabi with smoked paprika aioli, aged balsamic. $26

    Next up was the mushroom thing. If you think that it looks like a couple of portobello mushrooms with some spinach in between them, you wouldn’t be far wrong. The thing was tiny, freezing cold and tasted like the bile one pukes up the morning after food poisoning. Two cold, limp and wet mushrooms still containing the grit from the ground with bell peppers (missing from the long list of ingredients listed in the menu). I can’t imagine how any sane person would want to eat this. The fancy menu description, again, set a stratospherically high expectation for what was a deeply disappointing dish. Sorry, but that thing for $26 deserves a Fuck you number six.

    Sushi rolls with Dr. Cow's cheese. $16

    The highlight of the meal was clearly the appetizer. We were served very small sushi rolls (both in circumference and length. ahem.) with basic ingredients (mainly daikon sprouts and cucumber) and an almost undetectable amount of Dr. Cow’s cheese deep inside (not that those small roll slices could go deep at all). At $2 per slice, $16 total this was a complete rip-off and wasn’t even that good. Yeah fuck you number seven, Pure Food And Wine.

    Oh, and after we placed the order, the only attention we received until check time was from a very polite person (within limited English language skills) delivering food from the kitchen who topped up our glasses on occasion and was otherwise busy bussing tables and sweeping the floors. The server didn’t show up except to try and sell us dessert after everything had been cleared away. There was no enquiry into the food, no “was everything OK?”, NOTHING. She just thrust the desert menu at us and walked away. Fuck you number eight.

    The entire time we were there (40 minutes) only a couple of parties showed up, and the waitstaff spent most of their time at the bar area laughing loudly while discussing how cool it would be to live in LA as weed is “legal out there”. I shit you not. At the same time they were enjoying themselves, the bus boy/server/bathroom cleaner/water filler and probably chef was running his ass all over the restaurant keeping everything together.

    We paid, and promptly left, $114 poorer (we just couldn’t bring ourselves to leave a tip) and headed to Maoz for some real food – even though we’d choked down every morsel of our meager portions.

    We discussed our experience with some fellow vegans via twitter and email that evening, and here are some select responses that we got:

    Yeah, the place can be very “hit or miss”
    Why would you go there on a cold day?
    You really have to know what to order. Your menu choices really sucked
    Yes, I’m completely done with that place. So expensive and some of the menu items are a rip-off
    The menu descriptions seem like you’re getting “fine dining” food, but you really don’t.
    You guys just don’t get raw food! (ON THE CONTRARY!)

    Basically, nobody jumped to defend that awful place unreservedly. Many did say, though, that they had eaten some really good food there, but it was offset with indifferent service and a huge risk of ordering something that wasn’t the best item of the day.

    How about this, Pure Food and Wine: Don’t put items on your menu that SUCK. Create a consistent dining experience, call out honey on the menu as not vegan and tell your waitstaff to give a shit about your customers.

    Until then: you’re getting one Fuck Off after eight Fuck You’s.

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81 responses to “Pure Food and Wine: Eight fuck you’s and one fuck off.” RSS icon

  • PFW is the RFD of NYC, except to a greater extreme: MORE expensive, WORSE service, WORSE food. Only ever go there at lunchtime in warm weather, preferably late afternoon and sit on the patio with a bottle of wine a sushi. It really is quite pleasant then. If you can get a table.

  • I’ve only been 3 times, but each time I went everything my friend and I ordered was amazing. I’ve never had the sushi or portabella thing, I had the thai coconut noodle curry and the flavors were extraordinary, I was drinking the leftover sauce from the bowl, and the heirloom carrots were the best carrots I ever had.

    The waiters seemed like they might be rude but I was with my cute bubbly friend who no one can be rude to, so they were nice to us.

    Did you really not order dessert though? Their desserts are unbelievable, especially the ice creams.

  • 26 dollars for a mushroom? RAPE.

  • Oh shit – I laughed my ass off at that review! ‘Most vegans don’t eat honey’ ? Apparently he doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about.

    I bought some vegan pita pockets at the store the other day and when I got home, I noticed honey on the list of ingredients along w/ the label VEGAN. What the hell? Use agave mofo’s!

    Ohhh – the ignorance and apathy in this world is astounding

  • I meant to say ‘most vegans eat honey’. ‘Cause they don’t – idiot waiter dude.

    Alison, why would you continuously pay that much for food? And why put up w/ the shit service?

  • b/c like I said, they were being nice to us and the food was amazing. I don’t live in NYC so we were splurging for the awesome food and best desserts we’d ever had.

  • I have to say, I’m less surprised at this review than all the rave reviews I’ve read. SM’s book without MK was a bunch of pics of her and her friends hanging out at PFW – and I think there was smoking in one pic – pretty inappropriate for a cookbook. $2 each for a tiny lil sushi piece? SUCK!

  • When the recession hit in 2008, I predicted pure food & wine would go out of business by the end of 2009. I was wrong. But maybe 2010 will be the year.

    You know pure food & wine was started by vegan-haters, right? The concept was over-priced, crappy vegan food in a faux-upscale environment just to see if vegans would fall for it. Until you came around, it was working.

  • “the waitstaff spent most of their time at the bar area laughing loudly while discussing how cool it would be to live in LA as weed is “legal out there”.”

    Hahahahahahaha, yeah, no. Please don’t come here. We have enough douchebags. Why anyone in NYC would want to come to a non-functional city with nothing to do but look at celebrity homes is beyond me.

  • lol @Nick

  • Ugh that sounds awful. There is nothing I hate more than outrageous prices for food. I will definitely never do dinner there but maybe I will go to the take-out part to try a dessert.

  • fuck this place I really hate everything there and all the staff.

  • The only good thing about that place is the water. They use some $6000 water filter and it tastes like silk. We drank like a million bottles of it. Sarma the owner was there the night we dined so everyone was behaving. Sorry for your horrid experience. I’ve seen some of Sarma’s blog posts in the past about bearing making ends meet… I always crack up with I read Dr. McDougall’s experience at a raw restaurant. http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2009nl/nov/nuts.htm Scroll down to “I Once Ate a Nut-Based Meal” about the former Roxanne’s. My one theory is that people on Raw diets, much like people on Atkins don’t get enough carbs to their brains (which is the only fuel our brains run on) and become rawtarded…. j/k!

  • You should do stand up comedy.:-) I thoroughly enjoyed your review, while I’m sure it sucks that you had to break the bank for such crappy food. You made me laugh and then I felt so bad for the multi-purpose dude that was left with multiple duties, sad and inhumane.

  • Wow, I can’t say I could ever afford to eat such expensive food to begin with.
    Thanks for taking one for the team(?)

  • ¡Yo Soy Liz!, don’t bother with takeout either. The place is not much larger than my bathroom and the service is just as rude. You have to crane your neck to see what’s in the case because one of the few dining tables is practically up against it. After hearing the woman in front of me order two things from the case for $35 I left laughing, my wallet still full.

    MrMeaner, thanks for the honesty!

  • Ok good tip ASB, I don’t care to be a total sucker. Candle 79 here I come!…well when I actually get to NYC hopefully later this year.

  • I HATE sucky meals at rip off prices. Thanks for the heads up because I love raw food and would have gone here on my next trip to NY. I love you quarrycouple!

  • pure food and wine is complete crap. the owner is an arrogant bitch too

  • Well…at least you got pretty pictures, yeah?

    ASB and Yo Soy Liz – the only thing I’ve ever gotten from there was the ice cream from the takeaway. It’s SOOO EXPENSIVE, but I have to say…the Almond Butter Cup was really good. But I would never spend that much if I wasn’t PMSing.

  • I love Pure Food & Wine and One Lucky Duck. I’ve only had wonderful service and outstanding food. It’s my favorite place to eat in New York. Sarma is sincere and forthcoming and kind. I hope they always do well and only get better and bigger. The desserts make me swoon!

  • It’s places like this that kept me vegetarian for five years. Thank god I finally discovered that not all vegan restaurants are like this.

  • Sarma can suck my big white cock.

  • what a foul post. One “fuck you” should have been enough to go elsewhere, anyway.

  • First, ouch ouch ouch on this. Of course it was sent to me. Was debating whether I should comment and then I saw Skip’s comment so figured I have to now. Skip you really want me to suck your big white cock and I’m an arrogant bitch? Do we know each other? I so now want to meet you in person. Let me know if you’re in the area. Quarrygirl, if you’re back in NYC let me know too and I’ll be happy to set you up with a dinner, and dessert this time, on me, not against the wall, on a busier night, with all different dishes. If you still think we should get 8 fuck offs, go for it again. That’s cool. You can find me anytime at sarma@oneluckyduck.com.
    Nick J, why do you think I’m a vegan hater? So much rank hate shit is going on in this whole blog party. I don’t hate vegans, but you’re right, I didn’t open the restaurant to cater to vegans. It’s meant to get other people to open their eyes and maybe shift to eating more plants, less animals. Sorry so many of you think so shitty of us. Why don’t one of you try to open and run a big restaurant and takeaway in NYC and hire a staff of 70 plus and pay huge rent and other costs and see how it works out for you? I’m spoiled by reading only good reviews, and getting really good press, and people loving our staff. Probably a good thing for me to read something like this once in a while. Still can’t say it doesn’t hurt. A lot.

  • skip, whomever you are there’s no need to get so personal

    sarma, you should spend more time at your restaurant. you have serious staff discipline and quality issues that need your attention. also, your staff should assist customers with menu options – I’ve had great food and shit food in your restaurant, sadly more of the shit than the great.

    your stuff is overpriced, the menu descriptions don’t really describe what’s going to be served and your staff are deplorably rude.

  • @Sarma – not sure if you were in the restaurant the evening we were there, but as max says above, you or your manager might need to spend a little more time there.

    I just researched some reviews online, and find that many people have had a similar experience to ours. Somebody on Yelp even said they had to go and eat at a second restaurant after paying over $100 to you for three courses, which is exactly what we had to do.

    We’ll definitely check out Pure food and Wine some time in the future. in the meantime, thanks so much for showing up here and leaving such a constructive comment.

    Sadly, “skip” left a fake email address or I’d be glad to offer you both a mutual introduction!

  • Love the unabashed review! I’ve been to PF&W twice and both times the food and service were decent (desserts are certainly the star) if overpriced. However, the fact that I also had to pay to consume an entire other meal after leaving both times makes me pretty sure I won’t be back. And it’s not the rawness either. That shit never happens after I leave Cafe Gratitude or Alive in San Francisco! Composed of air and leaves for sure. 🙂

  • This review and the tweets from Quarry Girl about it have turned me off of reading this blog. Tweeting “we tore pure food & wine a new asshole!” and making “fuck you” the thematic thread of the post are childish reactions for a review. I know you’re “just a blog” and you obviously dont take it too seriously, but that doesn’t exempt you from common courtesy and tact.

    If you want restaurants to take you seriously, try using a bit more constructive criticism and less juvenile reactionary language. I can understand being tough on a place like Chipotle since they are a big corporation that will respond well to brewing controversy, but you just “tore a new asshole” for an (almost) vegan restaurant. Is that worth it? Are they really the enemy? Or should you save the sensationalism for a later time and merely report the facts of your experience without the rude attitude? I’d hope for the latter. Find half an ounce of professionalism please.

    FYI I have never been to the restaurant and I dont give a crap about giving a negative review if the food is bad. I just think the tone of this post is disgusting. You shouldn’t be so happy to give a bad review. It’s not flattering!

  • Hey Quarrygirl, thanks for the honest post about Pure Food and Wine when everyone else just seems to be posting positive stuff that isn’t true. I’ve said it here before, and I will say it again. Food blogs in genereal are way too positive, and this is a breath of fresh air.

    Don’t listen to people like Keri. She obviously doesn’t get or appreciate humor and honesty. Let her eat bad food and hope someday she removes that stick from her ass.

  • keri, you can suck my big white cock as well. let’s have a threesome

  • lol

  • Great, honest review. I’m sure glad you liked our raw cheesecakes..:).

  • the reviews on this website are stellar. i am so tired of all the vegan blogs reviewing merchandise/restaurants with glowing comments over and over again, when truth be told, things aren’t always great. cheers to quarrygirl for keepin’it fucking real.


  • Ok, I’ll say it if no one else will…Skip, the jig is up. We all know u have a small dick (one that cannot even be called I cock I would wager). Based on your attitude towards women and the fact you hide behind a fake email address, we know you’re a wee lil man. Right, Skipper? Go back to CL, please. Do yourself a favor: step away from the keyboard and get a life.


    PS-I could give a fuck what 6th grade comment u will make about me because unlike you, I actually have sex.

  • @Mr Meaner,
    Definitely let me know if you’re back. I did check out the comments on yelp, but the unhappy ones are few and far between the happier ones. Anyway, I’ve never spent this much time following something like this so I’m out.

  • This negativity gives vegans a bad name….Way too much hate here!!

  • Oh shut up

  • @MrMeaner you edited my last comment because I identified your names. Happy to post on my own blog about who you are, full names and links to your real selves. Sent you an email instead. Curious if you’ll edit this comment too.
    It’s totally cool to say whatever you want and if you’re experience was shitty then that’s regrettable and am sorry for that, just think the total lack of transparency is pretty lame. Not sure why you’re so concerned with people knowing who you two are. I do, now.

  • yikes! no need to get all crazy and threatening. the only reason we don’t put our names on this blog is so that we don’t get special service when we dine out. no doubt our experience would have been different at pure food and wine had the staff known we were bloggers.

    most, almost all, of the reviews on this site are positive, and we post those anonymously as well.

  • Definitely not crazy and threatening. You just seem extremely concerned about my identifying you. Still think you shouldn’t have a problem saying who you are. And I wouldn’t worry about the special treatment. You’re not writing for the New York Times.

  • Oh man, where was I yesterday and how did I miss this? I love a bit of quarry controversy, just when all your reviews were starting to get soft! Looks like not all restaurant owners can handle bad reviews.

    Keep up the honest work.

  • Yucky. I will stick to Candle Cafe.

  • don’t think I’ve ever seen such unprofessional behavior from a restaurant owner in a public forum. seriously, thousands of people read this blog every day and they even won a veg news award recently. I’d bet that looking good on here is equally, if not more, important than the new york times!

    it’s not the bad review that means I’ll never visit you again (yes, i spent over $1, 000 recently with my party) but you are showing your true colors here for sure.

    what a whiny person you must be in real life.

  • oh, and that mushroom dish really isn’t particularly good.

  • this shit is pure entertainment! salma should stop worrying if you’re so unimportant and find a new hobby other than stalking customers.
    willy is right on the mark.

  • sarma can suck my dick too – but that’s cause i find her hot. 😉

  • LOL! This is great drama. Sarma is obviously just some awful aging wannabe hot woman who never made it as a model. Her site is ridiculous! Maybe she should focus less on getting facelifts and more on preparing good food.

    Haha, Sarma!

  • Wow, what a damning response from Sarma! Remind me to never eat at this restaurant. She or he is acting like a child.

  • This comment thread really shows how, when the genie is let out of the bottle, it joins the cat which got out of the bag and all hell breaks loose.

    I’ve been eating at PFW on and off for two years, and the post here is dead-on, even though I really don’t like its “fuck you” stuff.

    Sarma, you are a FOOL for escalating this as a personal affront. This isn’t about a blog, the identities of the authors or you as a person, but your attitude, which can only backfire.

    I shall never set foot in your door again, and will bad mouth you, One Lucky Duck and Pure Food And Wine every chance I get.

    Not because of this asinine review, ether (which isn’t worth the digital paper it’s written on) but because of what you’ve been doing and saying today.

    Oh, and I DO write for the NYT, as does my wife. I get most of my leads from blogs just like this.

  • Funny thing, I have oodles of vegan friends in NYC, and visit at least once a year. Yet… the first time I ever heard of Pure Food & Wine was when Howard Stern mentioned them on air.

    This review kinda reminds me of the first and only time I went to Counter in NYC. I got some sort of overpriced polenta dish that sucked and filled my back tooth, and when I seemed annoyed, the douche water told me my dish was quote high-end unquote, as if I didn’t know Polenta was fucking cornmeal.

    Also, fuck you to the kiddies who cannot handle the word “fuck” in the real world.

  • Pure Food and Wine is so ridiculously overpriced and gross. They were a good vegan option a while ago, but with the choices now….you’d have to be a fucking idiot to eat there. No offense, Sarma. Please dont stalk me.

  • I think this has become gross. I think Sarma is coming out of the gates protecting her babies. I think I too would punch back when faced with such negativity. And not to go too Pollyanna on you but why not wish each other well, to do better and be better in the face of criticism? Why not say thank you for another opportunity to dine at a great restaurant on the house? That is gracious and professional. Mama lions are who they are. I see what Sarma is standing for. I don’t see that negativity has anything but quicksand with which to sink into.

  • SARMA. Rise above this and let it slide. Also, eat some humble pie and learn.

  • Lucky we didn’t say anything about the dirty knife.

  • Wow Sarma you are delusional. You highly underestimate the power of a review and your reputation. A sane person would have emailed them and apologized profusely, promised to look into the problems, address employees lackadaisical behavior, etc rather than treating customers to a wonderful night (which I have had at your restaurant). Personally I’d have looked them up and either refunded them or sent them a gift certificate for the amount they spent and welcomed them back after you’ve cleaned house. You could have had a your own post “Pure Wine and Food gets a somewhat deserved kick in the pants” and then detailed everything you’ve done to remedy the situation so other patrons will be glowing about their experience rather than the above.

  • hahahahahahaha. hahahahaha. hahahahahahah. hahhaha.

    OMG!!!! I’ve eaten at Pure Food & Wine a few times and this review sums it up. I can’t believe “Sarma” – look at her blog and all the pictures of herself pursing her lips with her ugly tattoo thrust in your face.

    I had no idea the restaurant was associated with a skank like her. Never fucking going there again.

    Oh, and your staff give lesbians attitude too.

  • All this is now in the hands of a journo over at http://www.nytimes.com/pages/dining/. Angle: “Beware of your best friends and worst enemies: The FOOD BLOGGER”. It’s pitched, it’s going on the blog and probably to print.

    I don’t care about the fucktards who write THIS blog, but you, Sarma, need a lesson in humility.

  • Some things never change. We wrote off “pure shit and whine” after the exact horrendous service and overpriced food you experienced… 3 years ago!

    Thanks for spreading the word among the vegan community to avoid this piece of shit of a restaurant.

  • hi Quarrygirl:

    Thank you so much for posting this review. I know that it is not easy to run a restaurant, but in New York, there are so many well-run vegan establishments that genuinely care about their customers. Many of the people who frequent Candle, Angelica’s, Mana, Gobo, Peacefoods, etc (lke myself) bring hundreds of people to these restaurants to show the world that eating vegan can not only be healthy, but a varied and tasty experience. There are many wonderful choices in the city.. i have personally tried over 60 and can whole heartedly recommend at least twenty joints that not only offer heatlhy and tasty options, but treat their customers with respect.

    PFW is not one of those establishments. In fact, I would say there are only two places in Manhattan where I will be adamant about not returning: PFW because of their horrible service (3 times in two years!) & House of Vegetarian (horrible food): that’s the list. I know everyone has off nights, but I received the same reaction to the question “is everything vegan” the first time I went, as well as the complete neglect and patronizing the entire night. That first time I felt embarassed, as I have become the de facto health/natural food/ vegan source for recommendations in NYC amongst my friends and their friends. After vowing not to return, I brought other vegan friends two other times who had heard of PFW and wanted to go. They were infuriated by the service, and I felt like a moron for not learning my lesson. Now, I refuse to bring anybody there, and just tell people to risk it on their own instead of involve me.

    It is a shame, too, because the name is very strong in NYC and I couldn’t be happier to intro people to raw food. NYC has some wonderful vegan spots, but not many raw. Raw Soul and Quitessence are not bad, but they are not easy to get to (Raw Soul) or small/expensive (Quintessnce). LA has a ton of great raw joints (Au Lac, 118, etc.) and I do not see why NYC couldn’t be the same.

    Quarrygirl: keep up the posts: they are hysterical, straight to the point, but still manage to be laid back. hope you make more trips to NYC!


  • i am totally turned off to this place. not because of the review, but because the owner is being a total cunt and i don’t want to give her my money.

  • Check out this chick’s blog. The content is so asinine!

    “I get asked a lot if I’m vegetarian, or vegan. I don’t call myself or think of myself that way, even though I eat that way most of the time. Just not 100% of the time. And I don’t like rules. Some people are absolutist about it which is actually admirable, but it’s not what works for me. And I don’t think pushing absolutism onto others is what will change the world.”

  • If you want vegan sushi, you must visit http://www.soyandsake.com/

    Even if you don’t want sushi, you need to go there if you’re in NYC. Immediately.

  • Oooh, Internet Fight!

    I’m so sorry that somewhere on the Internet, someone is saying “fuck.” Quarrygirl is by far the best LA vegan resource available, and has no reason whatsover to be afraid of stepping on any toes.

    I say fuck on the Internet too, and as my money is just as valid as a sweet and peaceful Yoga Journal subscriber’s – I’m a potential customer of this restaurant.

    Or, rather, I would be if Sarma’s response to this post had been remotely been that of a grownup. I think that when I visit NYC, my money will cheerfully go elsewhere.

  • I ate at Pure Food and Wine last fall, and it really was nothing to write home about. Certainly not worth the $160 my wife and I spent on three courses and a bottle of wine.

  • OK. This pretty much feels like I’m jumping into a tank of piranhas (just took me a while to sort out how to spell that word). But…. here goes. It seems I probably should have kept my mouth (keyboard) shut, but I didn’t, so now there’s this aftermath. First, sometimes something written may be read as if it’s laced with sarcasm or attitude, even if it’s meant to be sincere. I’ve learned this the hard way. So, that being said… please don’t read any sarcasm, attitude, or anything like that in the following b/c that’s not how I’d be voicing it and is not the intent.

    Sure, I’ll eat humble pie. I really was taken by surprise by this review as I’ve never seen anything like it. And I really genuinely was unaware of so many people having been unhappy with their service to this extent. Anytime someone does write in through the website or via any other means I always reply directly, and offer amends, and try to look into the source of their less than great service, and do something about it.

    Maybe I’m also just a bit blinded by my relationship with my staff which is that I know them all very well personally and know that they’re really really nice people, some having worked with me for years. I truly do get so many comments about our “lovely” staff, so its my bad for being overly comfortable that that’s usually going the be the sentiment. Hearing that’s not always the case, and to this extent, will only help us improve.

    I also know they all care about what we do and care about people’s experiences. I’ll make sure they get better at giving the guests that impression more consistently. Also, while it may not make everyone happy, I don’t hire all vegans. So if they misstep in saying something about honey, or anything else, maybe that’s why. I’m not sure. But they’re all well informed on what we do (or, I’ll say that I’ve always thought so), and I like that a lot of them end up shifting towards being vegan after working with us for a while.

    Also, want to point out that it happens that now and then you hire someone new, and it takes a while to figure out that it’s not working. That’s always a huge drag for an operator, because unless someone tells you, you’re not able to eavesdrop on every table and witness the interaction between guest and staff. I’ve certainly let people go in the past when I’ve found out from guests (usually a regular or friend who will tell me, or someone who otherwise takes the time to email me) that they’re getting ‘attitude’. I’ve been to restaurants and gotten this kind of service and I know how it taints the entire experience and reflects really badly on the whole operation. I’m not making excuses or anything… just saying that from where I sit, this is an issue that is not always as easy to manage as it may seem.

    Someone said I should have been more apologetic. Please understand, it’s really hard to read someone anonymously trashing your restaurant (which is the livelihood of a lot of good people). I’m always incredibly apologetic in response to any unhappy feedback, I’m just not used to this, at all. And I can’t help finding it alarming to be called an arrogant bitch or a vegan hater. I’m definitely not a vegan hater, and really don’t think I’m bitchy and I’m as insecure as the next person, or more so. I’ve always been really proud of what’s been created at my restaurant and how many people have shifted to eat better and more plant based as a result. Maybe somehow, somewhere, that appears to translate into arrogance. I really don’t know. I do know that I can and have in the past been defensive now and then, usually being protective, or trying to explain. For example, if people are upset about high prices, or imply they’re being ripped off (which people also sometimes think is the case when you’re serving “just vegetables”)… I’m usually quick to point out that we use the best ingredients we can find, we don’t compromise on the organic thing, and there’s a lot of labor that goes into our food. People might look at one of our mallomars from the takeaway and think $6 is a lot, but it’s not flour, white sugar, and gnarly cheap oils. It’s organic nuts, fresh young coconut, the best coconut oil, agave, etc. etc. and none of it is easy or fast at all to make. Also, people are sitting in a space in gramercy park manhattan (not cheap real estate) with a gigantic garden in the back. If I could produce stuff at lower prices (including the vegan stuff we sell on the website, also expensive) I would. And I hope I can before too long. I hope organic produce becomes WAY more affordable (especially relative to chicken mcnuggets).

    If people come to my restaurant and are disappointed, I think that totally sucks and I’m hugely disappointed. But if I read about it in the form of all these fuck you’s on line, anonymously with such a big audience, and from the author’s twitter about “ripping PF&W a new asshole”… is it really hard to understand that I might want to chime in? I realize I probably should have just taken the feedback and kept quiet. Really I have so much else to do (yes, like being at the restaurant more instead of sitting in my office writing this). But like I said, if its some kind of giant wake up call that my staff are not always lovely angels, then it’s all a good thing. I’m ok with it. (Maybe I’m like the parent who is predisposed to thinking their children are angels, and shocked to hear if they misbehave sometimes??).

    You can all make fun of me for saying this, but I really want to help more people eat healthier, feel better, eat less animals. I tried to make the restaurant look and feel mainstream, so that the unsuspecting “meat and potatoes” people may be lured in to try it. I named my brand One Lucky Duck (fully expecting some kind of sarcastic commentary on this too) in part because I wanted it to be appealing to kids. Kids are sensitive. If they know what they’re eating and really understand where it’s coming from, they’ll be pretty likely to skip the burgers and milk in the lunch line. And if I can make vegan (and raw) snacks that taste good with a cute brand, hopefully that helps too.

    If it makes anyone feel better to know, I’m not running around with piles of cash falling out of my pockets from all the hefty dinner tabs you or anyone else has paid at my restaurant. Hardly. I’m doing my best. It’s ok if people make fun of my website, or what I write online, or what I’m writing here and now, or overly promotional looking pictures, or anything else. That’s okay. I understand all that, and it’s easy to make fun of, I totally get that. Like the cover of my last book makes me queasy, but it’s what the publisher and “barnes and noble” wanted (they kept telling me that) and I wasn’t in control. I’m not always happy with what’s put out there too, or I think it’s embarrassing, or whatever. Fully aware this is all my choice and just have to roll with it, and whatever comes with it. Kind of reminds me of when I had blue hair all through junior high school. I totally got made fun of all the time. But I never complained because of course I had to expect that. And people were often really clever when they made fun of me, which I can still appreciate even if I’m the target. Overall, I’m just bummed to know there are so many people out there (from the comments above at least) who are unhappy about my restaurant. With the possible exception of Skip, to anyone above (or below, if the comments keep coming) if you want to come back, definitely send me an email (sarma@oneluckyduck.com) and mention this super fun blog post and I’ll do my absolute best to make sure you leave extra happy, stuffed, and maybe even drunk, if you’re into sake cocktails.

    If anyone has any specific comments for me, like on our food, please let me know that too, b/c it helps. (Heard the ones in this post loud n clear). We change so many of our dishes all the time, seasonally and otherwise, that I can make sure if people aren’t happy with something we’ll change it. Also, like most restaurants on the expensive side, if a guest says they’re not liking what they ordered, we’ll replace it with something else.

    Finally… quarrygirl/mrmeaner, if you ever come back and before you write anything else, you should have dessert. And in response to so many requests for it, we added a beer too (no PBR but it’s organic at least). I know you like beer. So do I, even thought it’s not raw, all yeasty, whatever. Right about now, I could really go for one. Or 7. Agreed about asking to sit in the patio in blizzard. Not sure why the dry response, b/c it is/was pretty funny. And, I really did mean what I said in a previous comment about letting me know if you’ll come back , and I’ll take care of everything. I wasn’t saying that with hostility, even though could see how would seem that way. OK… maybe a little hostility… I was fresh off reading all of this. But I get it, and really do want to make you, and everyone else out there, happy.

    Thanks for reading. I’m trying. I’m pretty sure someone’s going to call me whiny, or stupid, or juvenile, and/or find all kinds of things offensive to point out in this. But really, especially when it’s about something tangible I can improve on, I do want the feedback.

    (Am FULLY aware that posting this gigantically huge long comment is only further risky and may likely only draw more attention to this whole thing and be more damaging for me and my place from a PR perspective. Going forward will do my best to just take the feedback, make things better, and get on with it. Please know I really am taking all 8 fuck off’s and the fuck you to heart.)


    p.s. Skip, just because I’ll eat humble pie, will still def. not “suck [your] big white cock”. ☺

  • holy shit that’s probably the longest comment ever posted on anyone’s blog, of all time. scary.

  • Definitely the right way to go about it. Cheers.

  • I agree. Seeing the sincere post and wanting to make things right makes me want to give the restaurant a try in the future.

  • THANK YOU, sarma for such a wonderful and heart-felt reply. thank you, so much.

  • Sarma,

    I took a class in customer relations which was somewhat of a revelation to me.

    They said that in any business, something like 80 percent of the people who walk out the door and vow never to return do so without voicing their complaints or saying one single word to anyone.

    Over time, this could represent thousands of people … and could mean the difference between success or failure of any business.

    The owner/manager/staff never have a clue that the customer was dissatisfied … so they assume the customer’s experience was a positive one … when in fact, it was just the opposite.

    The way around this (our instructor said) is to make sure each customer has a point-person who is easily accessible if something is wrong with their experience.

    This is why so many owners/managers stop at each table early-on to introduce themselves and ask if everything’s all right.

    It’s also very important that this person says, “Come to me if you have ANY problem.” This gives the customer an advocate and friend on-staff.

    I know it’s impossible to be on-site all the time … but SOMEONE should have the responsibility of performing that function when you’re not there.

  • Bilij: I completely agree. Last time I was at Pure Food and Wine, nobody asked me if everything was OK – we just had the check delivered by a bus boy and never spoke to anybody again. I didn’t have the balls not to leave a tip, but I really shouldn’t have.

    The food was meh, service was kinda crap.

  • OMG!!! Sarma, please take the criticism constructively. You are taking this WAY too personal.
    You are starting to act like a real cunt.

    I love QuarryGirl’s blog and this entry!!

  • Um, the criticism in these comments has gone way beyond constructive. It was supposed to be a restaurant review. How is the woman not supposed to take it personally when she is called sexist terms (such as you did), when sexual comments are made about her, when her looks are insulted? If she calls her restaurant vegan but serves food with honey in it, she should be called on that. But the personal criticism has gone way over the line in being constructive or helpful in any way or even having anything to do with the restaurant.

    Sarma has been called a cunt twice already… now three times LOL!!

  • Er, excuse me. Sheryl – you must be drowning in an ocean of political correctness. Do you ever have fun?

  • I sure do! The things I’m thinking about you right now have me laughing really hard!

  • HAHAHAHA… Sarma…. Sheryl (Sarma’s cohort)…HAHAHA!!

    What’s with Sarma’s pics on her website with that disgusting pucker (straw in the mouth) and dumb gaze.
    She’s supposed to be advertising her restaurant not some porn site. She’s friggin ugly!!

  • $200 later we left PF&W and ended up going somewhere else to eat — we ordered 2 plates each (2 apps, 2 meals) and a 2-3 drinks. It was my birthday, so I thought a nice, fancy raw meal was in order — and it was summer, so we sat outside on the patio (which is lovely) and fortunately, we really loved everything we ordered, though it wasnt such intense love that $25+ a plate earns the words “worth it”.

    Either way, even having a nice, friendly (and attentive) waitress and enjoying our meal (and be prepared to pay out the nose) I still didn’t think it lived up to my expectations or the hype and I’ll never go again… $200 for dinner? I’d rather buy shoes.

  • Oh my god. You people are horrible. You know nothing about pure food and wine and are passing judgments about the owner like spoiled children! Your blog post was absolutely hideous, one-sided and unnecessarily crude. I think you were treated with so little respect because you are an ignorant shit person and you deserved it as soon as you walked through the restaurant doors. You were not worth a minute of the servers’ time. You opinions are worth shit. I know you will delete this right away but I’m glad you get to read it. You give vegans/bloggers/humans an awful name. Rot in hell you shit.

  • Hi Quarry girl and everyone else,

    I just wanted to say that I took Sarma up on her offer and I am long overdue to post about it. I emailed her back in September 2010 because I was making a Labor Day weekend trip to NYC and my friends wanted to try PF&W but I was nervous.

    As promised in the comments, she recommended which items to order and when we arrived at the restaurant, she gave us a wonderful appetizer of nut cheese on crostini with a fabulous sauce – at no charge. I loved the food, so did my bf and our friends. And the service was great.

    We made another trip to NYC last weekend for Easter, this time unannounced to Sarma. We had the same waiter as last time, a tall thin guy. He was very friendly. We had no problems with the reservations or the hostess or the service and the food was once again fabulous. If you’re able to make it there before the menu changes, try the passion fruit panna cotta (spelling?) It’s amazing!!!!

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that the owners/Sarma took note of the problems with the quality and service and addressed them. So thank you for the (maybe too harsh) review, because it made our experience that much better!

    And to anyone that might be put off from trying the place, I definitely recommend it!



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