Escondido, CA
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Are you being “overserved?”

Is it possible to be overserved? I’m not talking about drinking alcohol, where one can most assuredly be “overserved” by the tavern keeper. Instead, I’m talking about the management of a restaurant being too effusive, too hovering, too attentive.

I had that happen to me over the weekend when a friend of mine and I went in search of a poke bowl, which is kind of a new fad of food that is springing up in Japanese and Japanese fusions restaurants throughout San Diego County.

I’m not going to identify the restaurant, except to say that it’s not in Escondido.

A poke bowl is a wonderful concoction, part sushi and part other goodies like rice and seaweed salad. It’s a Hawaiian variation if I’m not mistaken and has taken off stateside. And it’s quite delicious. Good for you, too. I think, although I really don’t care. I don’t go to a restaurant to eat health food.

So, my friend and I had gone to this restaurant several times and tried their version of a poke bowl. And it was mighty fine.

We decided that we wanted to buy a poke on a Friday evening as we had done several times before. On a sign outside it promised that the poke bowls were on sale. We sat down at a table and the extremely (extremely!) friendly manager or owner seated us, and hovered over us for a while before sending the regular waiter.

We decided to order the poke, only to be told that the pokes were only served at lunch time and no longer at night, although the menu wasn’t clear on that. We were pointed to a menu item that had basically the same ingredients as a poke bowl, but in a larger bowl, and, of course, about twice as expensive, even though it was meant to be shared.

We decided that this wasn’t as good a deal and were glumly looking on the menu trying to come up with a substitute. The owner came over and became very insistent that we should try a dish that she claimed was just as good and that she was sure we would like.

As we continued to go over the menu trying to make up our minds, the owner kept returning, and saying “Trust me, you’ll like it.” My friend got quite upset at this treatment.

Finally, we got tired of the helicopter routine, and decided to cut the evening short and go find some food that we did want to buy somewhere else. I asked the waiter for the bill for the drinks we had consumed so far and said we were leaving.

The head waiter came over and asked why we were leaving and I explained that we had come in for a particular item, and were disappointed it wasn’t available. I DIDN’T tell her that the real reason was because her boss was insisting on selling us something she thought we would like and wouldn’t let the matter rest while we got a substitute.

The owner came over again—and when I said we’d really had our hearts set on the poke bowl and were going to go look for one, she said. “You come and get the poke bowl for lunch next time.”

Uh, no, I thought, we will get the poke bowl that we wanted at one of your competitors for dinner. And we probably won’t be back.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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