Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tell It Tuesdays: Cafe Habana| Malibu

Restaurant: Cafe Habana
3939 Cross Creek Road
Malibu Lumber Yard
Malibu, CA 90265

Drink Damage: Virgin Cuba Libre | $4

Interior Swag: Love, love, love the interior and exterior. Large tropical plants line a patio furnished with big, comfortable wicker chairs and benches. The design is simple, open, and clean with tasteful design details on the walls and around the bar to create a cozy and warm environment. And of course the fact that the entire staff looks camera ready for the latest fashion spread doesn't hurt either. Our waitress wore sunglasses, bright pink lip stick, and jeans wrapped tighter than a burrito.

Food and Drink: The food is made with the freshest ingredients and presented in giant portions. Our party ordered guacamole as an appetizer, and for our entrees, chicken quesadillas, bean cheese and rice burritos, and shrimp tacos. Dessert was made up of $7 scoops of gelato with a tablespoon of chopped fruit.

Service: Our server had a huge personality and was the master at up-selling. "How about adding chicken to the quesadilla?" $4. "The fish tacos are great but the shrimp tacos are even better." $2. "Maybe the kids would like a scoop of ice cream?" $7 + $7.

Because I liked our server so much I was really surprised by her lack of interest in the long black hair draped over my second shrimp-add-two-dollars-more taco. I had scarfed down the first one and despite being full, was fully committed to cleaning my plate.

She looked at the hair and said, "Ew." Then, "Do you want me to get you a new taco or are you full?" The rest of my party was done, and I was full, so I said that making a new one wasn't necessary. However, I never expected to be charged $16 for the one taco I did eat.

I tried to let the charge go. I kept telling myself that I could have asked for a to-go shrimp taco, even though I knew it would sit in the fridge for a week and then be tossed out. I also tried to tell myself that I was full and could have skipped the second one anyway. But I couldn't get it off my mind.

The next morning I called the restaurant and asked to speak with a manager. The nicest woman helped me and was horrified that A) there was hair in my food and B) the dish was not taken off the check. She apologized several times and immediately credited my card. That made it all better.

Go-Back-Again-Ness: Too good not to go back. Just beware of waiters wearing sunglasses.

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