Luna Grill – Slow Service, No Potatoes and Something Extra in the Coffee

Those of you who have dined with me may have noticed that I am not afraid to reward good service, even handsomely, when it is deserved. It’s all about service. The mark of good service is not the absence of problems but rather how a problem is dealt with to ensure customer satisfaction. A problem is an opportunity to shine in the darkness of the situation.

Luna Grill at Dupont Circle failed this simple test of customer service.

My brother and his wife were in town and I told them not to eat at their very expensive hotel restaurant when they were merely steps away from Luna Grill, which had been so inviting and good on previous occasions. The three of us got there, drank coffee and ordered food.

Problem #1. When our food arrived, the potatoes I ordered did not make it to the table. I gently reminded the waiter that I had ordered them, figuring it was an easy mistake to make. “We don’t have potatoes,” the waiter responded. I pointed to my brother’s plate and suggested that apparently they did have potatoes, since my companions both got them. The waiter left in a huff and quickly brought my food. Weird but true.

Problem #2. My sister-in-law reached the bottom of her coffee cup and found some trash plastered to the bottom of the inside of the cup. When we told the waiter, he quickly removed the offending cup and brought her another cup of coffee. No apology, no offer to comp the coffee, no sending the manager over to apologize. Nothing. Basically, it seemed rather routine to this particular waiter. I guess that’s normal for Luna. Want trash in your food? That must be the place to go.

Problem #3. The waiter disappeared toward the end of our meal and we had a hard time getting our bill. Then I had a hard time getting my credit card back. I was about ready to go behind the bar to retrieve my card when it was finally delivered to me.

Luna Grill certainly did not meet my expectations for cleanliness or service. Will I be back? Probably not. It’s not hard to keep customers happy. Just give them what they order, apologize if something goes awry and generally be attentive. That’s all it takes. This isn’t rocket science.

If you work at Luna Grill and got a pretty low tip on Saturday morning, that was from me. Yes, I left a tip for bad service, but that was just so you wouldn’t think I forgot, had I left what you really deserved.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

Carl Weaver is a writer and brewer for and has been making beer and wine for more than 20 years. He is also an avid photographer and writer and just finished his first book, about a trip he took to Thailand to live in Buddhist monasteries. He considers himself the last of the Renaissance men and the luckiest darned guy in the world. Follow him on Twitter.

2 thoughts on “Luna Grill – Slow Service, No Potatoes and Something Extra in the Coffee

  1. Sounds like you had a bad waiter and considering you found the service good enough from eating there previous times to bring your family along it seems a little silly to write the place off as bad from the one experience (especially since it seems to all stem from a waiter rather than the restaurant.)

    Its my go too choice when I am hungry and in the dupont area and I have always had a good experience (good food and service). And its hard to find better prices!

  2. How many unsanitary experiences coupled with terrible service should I have before writing the place off? Two? Ten?

    When it’s great, the food is good. I have been to this location a few times and the Shirlington one as well. It’s good, never great. The prices are okay but nothing to get excited about.

    I’ll tell you what – if you buy, I would be more than happy to dine with you there with an open mind and do a write-up on how great the place is, if it proves to be so. I will eat my words with a side of potatoes if they choose to deliver them.