Waiter, There's a Roach in My Eye

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My husband and I had a long-overdue couples' night with two of our best friends, Jeff and Jessica, one recent Sunday at Origin Asian Bistro, a South Miami restaurant that was Miami New Times's 2006 choice for Best Restaurant in South Miami-Dade. We love the place: The Malaysian roti is to die for, the red curry duck is incredible, and the papaya salad is off the chain. We were seated at the end of a long, lime green hallway, in a quiet and romantic nook.

The food was as excellent as the company, and we enjoyed ourselves tremendously — until a kamikaze cockroach came zooming down from the ceiling, right into Jessica's eye. Yes, into her eye. The roach bounced off her eyeball and landed on the table. Jessica and I screamed so loudly the restaurant went silent. Shortly thereafter, three members of the waitstaff came to see what was wrong. By that time, my husband had smashed the offensive insect and it was still fluttering, half-crushed on the table. A waiter scooped it up with a white cloth napkin and then delivered the check without apology. On our way out, the staff smiled sweetly at us, waved, and said, "Come again."

We were perplexed. "I just felt that they should have been more sympathetic, at least apologetic," says Jessica. "I didn't expect to be comped, because we had already eaten. I'm angry at how the waiters handled it. I was really traumatized! I can't tell you how many times I had to wash my eye."

When I contacted manager Lena Sumonthee about the encounter, she was shocked. "Ay!" she exclaimed. "Usually, if something like that happens, we will compliment the check." Sumonthee promised to inquire about the incident. "I will find out. I want to find out what went wrong, and how come I wasn't told."

We plan on returning to Origin, but I'm having a difficult time convincing our friends to join us. Even if she wears goggles to her next meal, Jessica isn't likely to forget the incident anytime soon. -Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik

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