Valium Vickie

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dear Signature Room

I didn't mind turning 30 as much as I thought I would. But when my girlfriend/fiance/soon-to-be-wife hit that milestone, it was a different story altogether. All of a sudden, it just hit me: I was never going to have sex with anyone in her twenties again. Unless I make some very poor life decisions and decide I want to give half of my shit away, I'll be banging mature adults from here on out -- and that's a terrifying realization. (For the record, when I turned 20, I never thought, "Oh shit, Jared, you're never going to have sex with another teenager again!)

Anyway, even though I didn't want to celebrate her body's natural aging process, I still took my girlfriend/fiance/soon-to-be-legal-responsibility out for a nice dinner. To mark the occasion, we went to The Signature Room, a restaurant located on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Building in Chicago. While the dinner was nice, it's the correspondence I had with the Director of Operations following my innocuous responses to a survey that will last a lifetime. 

For your reading pleasure, here is that very conversation:

The Message That Started It All

Dear sir or madam,

I tried very hard to fill out your survey on my dining experience on 6/16, but unfortunately, I kept receiving this message: ERROR: Please fill out the required information in red -- even though I did fill out the required information in red.

It's a little frustrating considering I wanted to tell you what a great overall job you did. Also, I've put a considerable amount of time into the "Is there anything we could've improved about your visit ..." question, and I'd greatly appreciate some type of response. Here is my response to said question:

Overall, our dining experience at The Signature was superb. The food was delicious (I had the Pancetta Seared Scallops while my better half opted for the Filet of Beef), the view was breathtaking and the ambiance was enchanting. There was, however, one thing that put a damper on our evening. That thing was a peculiar German couple.

Before the couple’s food arrived, they made several discreet overtures toward my fiancé and me, such as heavy petting followed by long uncomfortable stares and winks in our direction. When the couple’s second bottle of wine arrived (the 2008 Petite Sirah from Artezin, which my fiancé and I would’ve chosen had we gone with a red), the German gentleman looked our direction (we were sitting adjacent to the couple), repeatedly stroked a bottle of wine, moaned something in his native tongue and laughed maniacally. Things got even more bizarre when the couple’s food arrived. The two used the Signature Room’s cuisine, which I’ll admit was delectable, to escalate their courting routine. There are many, many examples of how the strange German couple used your succulent dishes to lure my fiancé and me back to their bedroom. But in the interest of time, I’ll focus on the two most appalling.
Appalling example number one: The German man stood up, looked directly at us and said, “Excuse me.” Then, the pervert scooped up a good-sized handful of whipped potatoes (a side item of what looked like a perfectly cooked “Manhattan” Strip Steak entrée), yelled out “Das Animal” and shoved potatoes down his pants. With his hand deep down in his pants, this sad deviant proceeded to massage his potato-covered genitals and make this awful moaning sound until the waiter approached and asked if the couple would like another bottle of wine. (I believe they opted to stick with the Petite Sirah, which, I must say, was probably the right decision.)
Appalling example number two: The women turned to us (again, we were sitting adjacent to these freaks) and said, “Young couple, I vant you to see something.” Then she turned back to the man, said, “I vant you to eat some of mine,” and casually placed her entire dish onto her lap and slid her chair forward until her lap and the entrée were hidden from view. With that, the man pushed his chair back, got down on his hands and knees and crawled toward her end of the table. As soon as he reached her lap, the woman lifted the tablecloth to reveal a middle-aged man on all fours using only his mouth to devour a plate of food placed directly on top of his dining companion’s genital region – and evidently loving every second of it. For her part, the women looked directly at us, closed her eyes and softly moaned, “Ve vant to play. Ve Vant to play vith you two.” During the incident, I distinctly remember thinking two things: 1.) These are the most disturbed people I’ve ever encountered; and 2.) It looks like she got the Scallops, too. What an excellent choice. (That’s how impressed I was by your food!)

So why am I telling you this and what do I expect from you? Obviously, I don’t expect you to bar German couples from eating at The Signature Room. That would just be ridiculous. However, I do think there are several precautionary measures your restaurant could – and should – take. After all, I can’t imagine this is the first time you’ve heard of something like this happening. Here’s what I suggest: When someone with a thick German accent calls to make a reservation, try seating his or her party as far away from the other restaurant patrons as possible. Or, even better, add a small section that’s exclusively for German swingers. It may seem a bit much, but we all know the statistics: Just 7% of German couples are monogamous; 43% are admitted sexual deviants (of the legal variety); and 73% are self-described “swingers.” Please let me know what you think about my comments and suggestions. My fiancé and I are entertaining the idea of being married in Chicago and, should this occur, we’d love nothing more than to hold our rehearsal dinner at your one-of-a-kind restaurant.
Jared Bilski

The happy couple moments before a fictional German couple ruined their evening.

From: Angela Roman Aspito <>
To: "" <>
Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2013 2:34 PM
Subject: Recent Signature Room Email

Mr. Bilski,

This isn't funny. If you have legitimate feedback that you would like to share, please feel free to do so.

Otherwise, please stop wasting my time.

Angela Aspito
Director of Operations
The Signature Room at the 95th

Sent from my iPhone
From: jared bilski []
Sent: Friday, June 28, 2013 9:54 AM
To: Angela Roman Aspito
Subject: Re: Recent Signature Room Email

Ms. Aspito,

I never intended my response, which I think we both can agree was a bit disturbing, to be "funny." As for the legitimate feedback, I tried several times to fill out the survey form that you sent me with no success. Also, I believe that I did make it a point to say I rated your restaurant with "5s" in every category except for the timeliness of the food, which I gave a "3" (it did take a little longer than expected).

But none of this changes the unfortunate events that took place during my meal, which I felt obligated to pass along to The Signature Room. After rereading my message, I admit that my own neuroses (and possibly even personal prejudices) caused me to go a bit overboard in my response. My longtime therapist often tells me that I have a problem reacting without thinking about the consequences first, and I seem to have done so here. I realize now that asking you to section off an entire section of your restaurant for "German Swingers" is not only a bit unreasonable, but possibly even a form of discrimination, and I do apologize.

However, I was still very disturbed by the couple's behavior, and I was honestly trying to find out whether you've ever received similar complaints from other restaurant patrons. My fiance dined at The Signature Room years ago, and she told me she was involved in a similar, though not as extreme, incident with another aggressive couple. I've done some research and discovered that swingers tend to frequent a select group of restaurants on a regular basis. So, if The Signature Room is a hub for swingers, perhaps you should let other patrons know about it in advance, or designate a specific night for swingers. But again, I'm probably overstepping my bounds here.

Ms. Aspito, I'm a bundle of nerves over my experience, as well as how my comments on the experience were taken, and I hope this letter helps to clarify what I was trying (unsuccessfully) to convey with my initial -- and admittedly emotional -- email.

Jared Bilski

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Angela Roman Aspito <>
To: jared bilski <>
Sent: Saturday, June 29, 2013 5:51 PM
Subject: RE: Recent Signature Room Email

Mr. Bilski,

I took your initial email very seriously, and I watched our video footage from the night of your visit.  For the duration of your meal I was able to see your table and the table next to you and there is absolutely no evidence of the claims you are making.  Additionally, I spoke with your server and he informed me that nothing out of the ordinary occurred in his station that evening.  Since there is nothing to corroborate your story, I am taking it for just that, a story.  And I will not be responding to any further correspondence from you.


Angela Roman Aspito
Director of Operations
The Signature Room at the 95th®


Jason said...

Easily the best blog entry I've ever read here. Always great but this was hilarious.

Jared B. said...

Thanks man! That means a lot.