When I meet with some former colleagues for dinner, it is more often at a restaurant in the suburbs. Living in the heart of the city, I am reluctant to venture past the first ring suburbs. At this time of year, commonly known as “road construction” meeting at 6:00 p.m. at a suburban place means traffic jams all the way there.
Parma is secreted away in a business tower complex that is across the street from another tower that harbor Kincaid’s, a Twin Cities favorite of the business elite. After a phone call to the restaurant (I overshot the street by a half a mile.) I discovered that I was practically on top of the place. 8200 Normandale Blvd. is on 83rd street. (Huh?)
Once inside, I saw that the décor was defined by dark wood and white table clothes. There were many people in finery and tans who sat outside and inside who watched me enter to join my friends. (Was I so obviously out of place?) My friends hailed me and I sat down to catch-up with all the news.
Then the night began. People all around us were being cared for, but finally our fearless leader asked a staff person where are server was. The staff person ran to find someone to take our table. A very polite and professional man took our drinks order. A woman server showed up. After a short discussion between them, the woman became our server. (There was a party, she said. They were very busy. This was the last of the parties.) Noted.
Our fearless leader took the opening to let the server know that she had made a reservation when they had first opened the restaurant, for a 5:00 o’clock slot. When she arrived with her friend they were told that they would have wait 45 minutes even though they arrived on time. “The place was packed.” They didn’t want to wait and left.
“Oh, that was another party,” the server replied smiling. “It went on longer than scheduled. ”
The food was “good” for all four of us. I chose the Vodka Penne with a tomato cream sauce and chicken. (It’s a meal I would not likely make for myself.) All the meals looked nicely done that were formally presented by a couple of servers. The chicken was tender and delicious. The pasta was just right. (Wrestling rubber chicken is always so embarrassing.) Ambient noise proved to be too much for me to hear very well.
At the end of the meal, our smiling server offered us dessert on the house to make up for the meal that never was. Nice gesture. I had the strawberry shortcake gelato. Very tasty. I didn’t need it, but free is free. (However, when the bill came there was a charge for some of the desserts.) Noted.
Americans dining expectations are for prompt service. I noticed with this new establishment, that service for our table was chaotic. (Not enough staff for the number of customers? Yes, that could be the reason or the rhythm has not been established.) My fellow diners concluded they would not return. Parma 8200 is a D’Amico chain restaurant. Noted.
Parma 8200, 8200 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington; 952.896.8888