The 5 Best Reader Responses to Our 10 Worst Restaurant Moments


Aaaaaaaargh! It was in my spaghetti! Just glad it wasn’t a corkscrew.

Last Friday, Fork in the Road pooled its collective dining histories and came up with our 10 worst restaurant experiences.

We should have realized our readers had even better stories than we did. Following are the 5 best, out of dozens of responses. Thanks, readers!

5. Lucy says: I ordered a piece of chocolate cake in a diner in Hollis Hills, Queens. Halfway through the cake, I feel something hard between my teeth. I figured it was maybe a piece of solid chocolate, but decided not to swallow in case. I reach into my mouth and pull out…a corkscrew. A fucking CORKSCREW. I tried to imagine what set of circumstances could have led to its presence (a struggle with a bottle of wine near the cake batter perhaps?), but either way, the place closed soon after. Worst experience ever.

4. Hugh says: Boston’s Durgin Park is a restaurant famous for its rude waiters (really rude). I went there with my then-girlfriend and some American dude she knew from her travels in Egypt. (This guy had drilled holes in his glasses so he could go faster when he rode his bike.) From the start, this guy and I did not get along. At the restaurant, we start at the oyster bar. The second oyster I have, I notice something out of the corner of my eye before downing the oyster–a huge flatworm, still alive of course. I am not happy. The guy gives me some crap about “it’s nuthin.” The barkeeper practically tosses like me. By the time we’re shown to our table, the guy is practically challenging me to step outside. The famously rude waiters were amazingly nice to us.

3. Omar H. says: One summer my girlfriend and I went to one of the more upscale Middle Eastern places on Atlantic Avenue in Cobble Hill. We were sharing an appetizer plate on the patio when I noticed a huge slug on the edge of the plate. We laughed and flicked it away. A few minutes later I was freaked out when I saw another slug in my lap. A few minutes later, another. We began to investigate. Underneath our table we found a bunch of slugs inching toward us, with a few more on the ground. I looked around at the other diners, wondering if we were the only ones facing a slug onslaught. My girlfriend and I soldiered on. Then we saw a rat in the landscaping next to us, adjacent to the patio fence. We almost forgave this as we really wanted to like the place (“We ARE outside, so…”). Later I theorized that the rat was eating the slugs.

2. Jiggy says: I spent over $500 on dinner with my wife at Per Se a few months after it opened. It wasn’t very good.

Next: The very best bad restaurant story of all time.


1. Scott says: Last year my wife and I were eating at an Italian restaurant in Williamsburg. We were seated outside, a main draw to the place. Halfway through our meal, we hear a woman shriek as she points to a rather large rat ambling about the garden. Like other jaded longtime NY eaters, I laughed it off, because hey, it’s Brooklyn.

The rat (and I’m talking small cat size here) caused enough of a commotion with everyone that the place finally ushered out a busboy with a broom to attempt to swish the little guy out toward the street. Instead, the rat hobbled over to the nonworking fireplace to hide in a corner. Then it got bad.

Another bus boy came out with a wood log from the brick oven inside. Mind you, the garden is mostly full and everyone has stopped to figure out what’s going on. The armed bus boy then proceeds to BLUDGEON THE RAT WITH THE LOG SPEAR STYLE, jamming him into the fireplace. The rat emits this horrible cry (think a human baby on fire) over and over as this insane person batters it to death in front of everyone.

Women, who minutes ago squirmed at the sight of the rat, now cried for him to stop. And after about 8 blows, stop it did.

Most of us were aghast. Some left. A few minutes later, the owner came out with a shrug and poured those who remained free shots of limoncello. Nothing was comped.

I have never been back. Shame too, they often had decent pizzas.

If you have a great bad restaurant story, please leave it in the comments below.

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