I got a chance to see one of my good friends in Walnut Creek this Memorial Day weekend, and we were in the mood to enjoy some great food and drinks in the city’s quaint downtown area.
We decided on Pyramid Alehouse, known for its extensive list of craft beers and great pairings of higher-end pub food. Unfortunately, I feel that our waitress — and potentially other staff — needed an education in accommodating guests who have food sensitivities.
The Dish of Choice
I ordered the crab cakes, which were coated in panko crumbs and dressed with a sherry-cayenne aioli. I also chose the mozzarella sticks, which were handmade and egg-roll wrapped, coated in panko crumbs and paired with a spicy marinara sauce for dipping.
For a drink, I ordered the Pyramid IPA, which is described on the menu as a lighter take on the IPA, infused with tropical fruit flavors and a “crisp and zesty finish.”
Altogether, my bill totaled $30 without tax.
The crab cakes were delicious and succulent. The crab was tender, and the breading was crispy and not overly heavy. The spice from the aioli caught me off guard at first bite, but after the first few coughs, I really enjoyed the heat.
The mozzarella sticks were filled with a generous amount of cheese, and the egg roll wrapping with the panko crust brought heartiness to the appetizer and set it apart from other mozzarella sticks I’ve tried.
The IPA had a heavy taste (I think IPAs are supposed to be that way) but went down lightly and had refreshing fruity notes.
Altogether, I was pleased with my meal. I only needed to order the crab cakes, which were filling enough on their own. I ate one of the mozzarella sticks and had the rest boxed up to snack on later.
Unfortunately, the service left a lot to be desired. My friend has Celiac disease, which means she can not have any gluten products or she will become seriously ill. She explained this to our waitress, who looked at my friend as if she was speaking a foreign language.
When my friend asked what menu items she would recommend for someone who cannot have gluten, the waitress suggested she have a salad. It would have been better if the waitress said, “I am not sure, but let me speak with the chef and come back with some suggestions for you.” The waitress’ body language made it appear as if she was not interested in accommodating my friend.
My friend decided to go with a burger without the bun. The waitress said she could have the burger in a lettuce wrap, which was a good suggestion. My friend couldn’t have the fries because they were cooked in the same oil as foods with gluten. So my friend asked if she could swap it out for another item. The waitress said she could get a side salad but it would be a $2 up-charge.
My friend wasn’t being a picky eater. She would have gotten sick if she had the fries, so being charged an extra $2 for something she cannot help was a bit insulting. My friend decided to give the fries to me.
So when her dish came out, the fries were on the same plate as her burger. Wouldn’t common sense tell you to put the fries on a separate plate?
I try not to be too harsh when it comes to waitstaff because I know they don’t make a lot of money, and dealing with the public is a hard job. The waitress could have been having a bad day or honestly may not have encountered customers with food allergies and sensitivities. But I feel like common sense and compassion on her part could have went a long way.