an open letter to alex patout

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Dear Mr. Patout-

I'm writing to express to you our disappointment with the dinner we had at Alex Patout's Louisiana Restaurant in the French Quarter on June 3rd. We chose your restaurant to celebrate our eleventh wedding anniversary because we had fond memories of the excellent food and service we'd enjoyed there a decade ago--it appears, however, that over time both have suffered declines in quality.

The service was friendly and fast--but a bit too fast. We felt quite rushed, and had no sense of a leisurely, well-paced meal. Although we ordered both appetizers and dessert, the time from our seating to our departure was slightly under one hour; this is good for turnover and revenue enhancement, I'm sure, but it's less than ideal for diners wishing to relax and enjoy their meal. We don't often spend $100 on a meal, and when we do, we generally look forward to the entire dining experience, not just a quick succession of plates.

Our food was good, but not spectacular, and most certainly not of a quality commensurate with the cost. The crab and corn bisque was bland, and my lump crabmeat dish had an alarming number of shell fragments. We had substantially better (though comparably priced) meals at other restaurants in town during our stay--particularly Emeril's and Dante's Kitchen--which made the shortcomings of our meal at your restaurant all the more apparent.

I hope that we simply caught your staff and your kitchen on a bad night, and that our experience wasn't indicative of the current overall quality of your restaurant. I suspect, however, that on future visits to New Orleans we will find other places to celebrate special occasions.


Elizabeth Lawley


When we booked our reservation online, we received a confirmation email from "Alex Patout <>"--which may or may not have actually come from the chef himself. That's the address to which I sent the above message. If I receive a reply, I'll post an update.


Update, 6/17

Since I had not received a response, I followed up with another email yesterday. In it, I pointed out that I'd posted the letter on my site and that it was now showing up in the top ten results for "Alex Patout." I received this response today:

Dear Ms. Lawley,

I apologize that we did not write to you at your email address. We, instead, wrote a letter to your New York address. We hope that you have it by tomorrow. I will check back with you then. We have had so many problems with our server that we don't leave anything to chance anymore.

Thanks for your patience.

Marcia Patout
Alex Patout's Louisiana Restaurant

I'll update again when I get their answer.

1 Comment

Your open letter is a wonderful example of fair and balanced consumer feedback. It states expectations and by providing details on the establishment's performance suggests ways of improving product and performance (or at least managing consumer expectations). A lovely example that can serve as a model in many a composition class.

Shells fragments in the crab dish is for me, a vegetarian, like grit in the parsley.

It is a pity that your dining experience was not as enjoyable as it could have been but it did provide the ocassion for some excellent prose which I quite enjoyed reading and I hope provides you some future pleasures should you have occasion to re-read your blog entries years hence.

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This page contains a single entry published on June 7, 2004 7:59 PM.

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