Well, tonight was an exception. Everything started off pleasantly enough; we were seated quickly, our waiter was fairly polite and attentive, and things sounded good. I ordered the eggplant linguine with crab meat, chopped tomatoes, baby artichokes, and a light cream sauce. (I made one slight change, and asked them to substitute the eggplant linguine for spinach linguine. I know flavored linguines don't really have much flavor, mostly just color, but whatever.) Sounds good, right? It should've been.
The thing is, it came out, looking good, and smelling good, and on initial taste, tasting good. And then I stabbed a piece of crab meat with my fork and... it... unrolled. I looked at it, perplexed, and then unbelieving, and ate it. What? I tried another. Same thing. It was imitation crab meat. Yeah. FAKE crab meat.
I dug around, and there were a few bits of real crab meat... maybe, oh, a teaspoon-full's worth scattered around the entire plate. Meanwhile, there were many, many... chunks... of the rubbery, fake, pretty nasty fake stuff. The fact that there was a little bit of real crab meat just made it even more ridiculous, as even an idiot would've been able to taste, see, and feel the difference between the two. (For one thing, real crab meat doesn't come in rolled up "sheets" of "meat".)
The waiter came over and asked how things were, and I told him there was fake crab meat in my meal. And I showed him. He was a bit surprised, or at least did a decent job of feigning it, and said he'd go ask the manager.
So he walked the three feet to where the manager was sitting at one of the tables, talking to (presumably) a table of her friends. She said something to him (I couldn't hear what they said), and he came back a minute later and said the manager would be out in a minute. (Out? Out? She's sitting right there ignoring he clientele while she chats up her buds!)
I waited a minute. And another minute. And so on and so forth, until the meal was over. Not once was it acknowledged, the bill wasn't adjusted (and that meal - fake crab and all - was $16, which is just a couple bucks shy of the lobster/pasta special I had last time I went - which was real lobster), and she didn't even turn her head once to look and see what was going on. After grimacing a bit, trying to decide what to do, I settled on this: I wrote a note on the back of the bill pointing out what just happened, and then decided to write this up.
So, while I've recommended it in the past, I can't recommend Cara Mia any more. My meal was bad, the manager's response was appalling, and the price (at least on my dish) was way too high. (Plus the sodas were $2.50 each, and they were small. Minor gripe, but when I already feel like I'm getting gypped, it just adds insult to injury.) So, if you're in the neighborhood and considering Cara Mia, keep on walking. You can do better, and they don't deserve the business.
(Cross-posted to nyc_cuisine.)