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Fig & Olive - A New York Chain, Based on Simple, Olive Oil-Based Mediterranean Cuisine - Palmer Alley in CityCenterDC


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I'm amazed that there's still no thread for Fig & Olive, a week after opening! Well, time to correct that. I can report that their second public evening, June 26, was a huge success--in contrast to Space-X's Falcon 9 launch that morning. My wife made a reservation for us a few weeks in advance. Good thing, because our excellent bartender, Carlos, informed us that they had 500 reservations on opening night the day prior, and the place was nearly full at 6:30pm despite some of the most torrential rains I've seen in a while. For a few more days they open a 4pm daily, but soon they'll be open for lunch--I think starting July 6.



Background:


You can read about the restaurant group's concept on it's website, but in short it's "Mediterranean cuisine" and features, fresh, seasonal ingredients and olive oil cooking. The menu has dishes inspired by Spain, Italy, Greece, and so on. They make a point that they don't use butter in the kitchen (except for a puffed pastry dessert). They focus on fresh ingredients and slowing things down. To that end, there's a liberal array of pillows and comfy chairs and couches set up for dining on the first floor, in addition to the main bar. They also pointed out power strips under the bar, saying it's to encourage getting some work done (likely not during happy hour!). There's a patio dining area, which is on the Palmer Way and is shielded from main streets by the City Center buildings. On the second floor is a more traditional dining setup, with pillows and a second bar. The decor reminds me of upscale Pottery Barn, but not in a bad way. There's also a private dining room, where Ashton Carter and wife (and security) enjoyed an early dinner before we spotted them on the way out.



Bar:


The bar service is fantastic. Crostini! Ok, couldn't write any more without saying it. There about 10 crostini options, available in 3 or 6-piece orders. They are hands down the best crostini I've ever had anywhere. I would eat 3 or 6 of every one I tasted. We spit 6, asking for chef's choice (as long as we got the Burrata). Each one comes on a toasted piece focaccia about 3x1.5" and nearly .25" thick. You can cut most in half to share. One of the most interesting was "heirloom carrot, shaved thinly, with spicy charmoula and tapenade. Amazing. So was the Burrata, Prosciutto, Pata Negra, Shrimp & Avocado, and others. Carlos told us the staff had been training for about 2 months, and he was familiar with all the menu items which we asked about. I enjoyed a seasonal cocktail which started with muddled celery & arugula, added lemon juice, rum and fresh pepper. Very refreshing. My wife enjoyed Champagne. They have four beers on tap, one of which is Port City Optimal Wit. Kudos to Bill Butcher for landing that.



Dinner:


When we sat for dinner we had attentive, competent, knowledgeable service. The "spring" menu is great, front and back. I had the Paella del Mar (looks smallish, but filling and delish), others had Chilean Sea Bass (marinated w/ lemon thyme, carrot, asparagus, celery root purée, roasted potato, charmoula mascarpone harissa olive oil emulsion) and Truffle Risotto. The Sea Bass was probably the best. The presentation of Rosemary Lamb Chops is notable. They arrive sliced on a plate under glass, which is then removed to great fanfare, allowing the aromas and some steam to escape. Focaccia bread is served with dinner, accompanied by three olive oils: a Spanish, an Italian, and a Greek-style (which is actually from California), all available for purchase. 



Wines: 


You can review the list here. By the glass feature mostly European wines with a few from CA. Oddly, the upstairs bar was adorned with quite a few bottles of Dom Pérignon. A DP Rosé (2003) is available for $625. 



Desert:


I can only remark on the Caramelized Apple Tart; it was very good but merits no more discussion. My only complaint was that the coffee (normalé) was marginally warm. A refill was so tepid I asked for fresh, which was soon brewed. Still not as hot as I'd expect but ok. Espresso-drinks are prepared in the largest Nespresso machine I've ever seen, by the upstairs bar. I would normally scoff at this, but I recently read coffee uber-brain James Hoffman's piece on how specialty coffee can no longer just scoff at Nespresso. So it was interesting to see that kind of equipment in a place like Fig & Olive.



Final notes:


All in all, this is a different experience from most DC dining. We had a great time and plan to return soon. My main concern now is getting a reservation. When I need to write at some point in the future, I look forward to hangin' at the bar writing with a Manhattan, rather than a latte in a coffee house. Another interesting note on atmosphere: a DJ begins spinning tunes in the lounge about 8pm. Very tasteful and cool vibe. The music doesn't intrude into the upstairs.


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Went back for lunch at Fig & Olive today, after seeing "Spirited Republic" exhibit at Archives. Coincidentally, this was the second day of lunch service, so we're keeping our trend for 2nds. Again, great bart service. Had the Fig & Olive Burger, which comes with side salad and fries. Very tasty, but not the city's best burger. I missed the Shrimp and Salmon Salad (also with avocado) that my wife had. That was excellent.

Today two people were at the bar with laptops, after the lunch hour. The patio was open with a number of tables taken. The lounge wasn't at capacity, but was "well attended." I was told the upstairs dining room was open -- at least one section of it, but didn't see it.

Brunch starts Saturday. Maybe we'll hit brunch on Sunday....

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Just a few notes on Fig and Olive. ...

What you describe sounds fairly typical for a restaurant with eight locations in four states.  It appears that management knows what they're doing, and that the DC branch will likely be as good as the New York ones.  Hopefully they found someone for the position who's a better fit for their world.

I live about a hundred yards from the Uptown original.  It's above average, even by New York standards, and a fairly good value for its price point.  It'll be a good addition to DC.  That said, I rarely go to the one near me -- I like the food, but it has *literally* the least comfortable bar stools I have ever encountered.  They may be fine if you're 5'4" and female, but I'm not.  Picture a bear on a tricycle and you get the idea.

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What you describe sounds fairly typical for a restaurant with eight locations in four states.  It appears that management knows what they're doing, and that the DC branch will likely be as good as the New York ones. 

I agree, running eight restaurants out of a small office in New York takes hard work from a strong team. But I think their efforts are misguided and they misrepresent the product they give the public. Being in that office was like being in the control room of The Truman Show.

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What a strange little article.

"Several Sickened After Apparently Dining or Drinking at D.C. Restaurant" by Tim Carman on washingtonpost.com

To me there is definitely danger in taking some of the leaps of faith that are taken in this article, particularly as it appears when it went to press it was anecdotal based on health inspections and due diligence by the restaurant...

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To me there is definitely danger in taking some of the leaps of faith that are taken in this article, particularly as it appears when it went to press it was anecdotal based on health inspections and due diligence by the restaurant...

I admit I didn't read this article as thoroughly as I should to make these comments, but just in general:

1) The Post is pretty conservative when it comes to things such as this

2) "Several" is a pretty strong word, all of whom are linked to Fig and Olive

3) Nobody was accused of any wrongdoing; you can take it as a warning

What *wasn't* mentioned is potentially as important as what was: (see Post #4 above by pesenti):

4) "First, all meats, fish and some vegetables are prepared in a commissary in New York and shipped to each location. Also prepared in New York are all the sauces, soups and the tapenades"

People need to be looking up in New York to try and make a correlation. I understand one patient apparently didn't eat, but: did she take a taste of food? Did she kiss her boyfriend? Is her memory rock solid? Is there any other way salmonella can be transmitted? This is a minor public outbreak, and information is our friend - it doesn't mean Fig & Olive has done anything wrong. pesenti, your post could turn out to be *extremely* valuable information.

This article is fact-based; not accusatory, and I'm glad the Post published it. There may be others out there who have gotten sick who might remember other information.

I remember once I got food poisoning from eating a tainted oyster at EatBar (I'll say this now that it's closed). I spent 3-4 of the most miserable hours of my life that evening. A few days later, I was back there, and I ordered raw oysters again. I'm not sure *why* I did it (it was well over five years ago); maybe like getting back onto a bike when you fall off. The night Karen died, I forced myself to sleep in our bed, on her side. I guess I have the mentality that if I can force myself to do things once, early on, any stigma will go away.

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I admit I didn't read this article as thoroughly as I should to make these comments, but just in general:

1) The Post is pretty conservative when it comes to things such as this

2) "Several" is a pretty strong word, all of whom are linked to Fig and Olive

3) Nobody was accused of any wrongdoing; you can take it as a warning

What *wasn't* mentioned is potentially as important as what was: (see Post #4 above by pesenti):

4) "First, all meats, fish and some vegetables are prepared in a commissary in New York and shipped to each location. Also prepared in New York are all the sauces, soups and the tapenades"

People need to be looking up in New York to try and make a correlation. I understand one patient apparently didn't eat, but: did she take a taste of food? Did she kiss her boyfriend? Is her memory rock solid? Is there any other way salmonella can be transmitted? This is a minor public outbreak, and information is our friend - it doesn't mean Fig & Olive has done anything wrong. pesenti, your post could turn out to be *extremely* valuable information.

This article is fact-based; not accusatory, and I'm glad the Post published it. There may be others out there who have gotten sick who might remember other information.

I remember once I got food poisoning from eating a tainted oyster at EatBar (I'll say this now that it's closed). I spent 3-4 of the most miserable hours of my life that evening. A few days later, I was back there, and I ordered raw oysters again. I'm not sure *why* I did it (it was well over five years ago); maybe like getting back onto a bike when you fall off. The night Karen died, I forced myself to sleep in our bed, on her side. I guess I have the mentality that if I can force myself to do things once, early on, any stigma will go away.

Don, appreciate the thoughtful response.  I blew right past the whole NYC commissary piece which I agree - adds an interesting wrinkle to it.

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Interesting article. I think it was fair and balanced, from a public health perspective. Don't think they are able to connect the dots in any meaningful way, and I wouldn't be nervous about it.

But "salmonella-like" is quite vague. Salmonella presents most typically with diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain/discomfort/bloating. Unfortunately, most foodborne illnesses present like this. Salmonella usually comes from raw meats/seafoods, raw eggs/bad mayo, and contaminated produce. People think of tuna salad at an outdoor picnic or some undercooked chicken at a barbecue.

At first, I didn't think much of it, it just reminds of clustering effects/statistical artifact - if you throw a bunch of darts at a map, even if you aim randomly, some are going to cluster together (and we saw that a lot in oncology, trying to figure out if some environmental toxin caused cancers, and usually it was just artifact). Based on CDC numbers, 130,000 people get a food borne illness a day in the US, and about ~500-700 might be from DC/VA/MD. Throw 500 darts every day of the year, and maybe there is one day where 3 of those darts land on Fig and Olive. It happens.

But, the way the interviewee described the interview, something about that sort of food prep makes me nervous, especially if any of the other 7 locations noted any foodborne-like cases.

If it isn't really due to foodborne-illness, kind of sucks for the restaurant. I still don't remember the name of the bug, but I sure do know the signs and symptoms of "Jack In The Box" disease...

-S

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But, the way the interviewee described the interview, something about that sort of food prep makes me nervous, especially if any of the other 7 locations noted any foodborne-like cases.

If it isn't really due to foodborne-illness, kind of sucks for the restaurant. I still don't remember the name of the bug, but I sure do know the signs and symptoms of "Jack In The Box" disease...

IIRC, Jack in the Box was a particularly virulent strain of E Coli.

I think the good doctor has a valid point with his dart analogy, but...

I missed the earlier post about pre-prepped foods from NYC. That can be dangerous stuff. The food industrial complex spends an incredible amount of money on food safety. And the feds monitor them pretty closely, yet still we have the listeriosis from Blue Bell ice cream killing 3 people.

A small scale actor like this?

You can bet your ass that they are tracking every location and going over the prep kitchen with a fine toothed comb.

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The thing that struck me about that article when I read it was the mention of the cucumber in the cocktail.  Based on the online menu, they seem to use cucumbers a fair amount in both food and drink.  I wonder where they got them from and if they're part of the larger salmonella outbreak.

Given that the bar is utilizing cucumber puree/juice, that could be a source of contamination of glasses or of beverages that might not have cucumber in them.  Do they use cucumber garnishes on any of the drinks?

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The thing that struck me about that article when I read it was the mention of the cucumber in the cocktail.  Based on the online menu, they seem to use cucumbers a fair amount in both food and drink.  I wonder where they got them from and if they're part of the larger salmonella outbreak.

Given that the bar is utilizing cucumber puree/juice, that could be a source of contamination of glasses or of beverages that might not have cucumber in them.  Do they use cucumber garnishes on any of the drinks?

I don't mean to keep bringing up New York, but do they use Mexican cucumbers up there? (Note that this is an entirely separate issue from food being prepped in a common commissary - all restaurants might be sourcing the cucumbers from Mexico.) Has there been any confirmation of cases (or of no cases) in New York? I haven't seen a thing about it, and one would think it would be out there by now if the confirmation was positive.

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There goes my dartboard theory! This is a real outbreak. Sounds like the water or maybe unclean glasses.

Couple interesting things here

1-if this was an issue related to improper HACCP and process controls (got to be a lot of sous vide here) at their commissary facility in NYC then we would see the outbreak associated with more than one of their restaurants. Thus far, the outbreak is limited to DC. This suggests that the issue is based in the DC restaurant.

2-If this was related to the larger cucumber salmonella they will confirm by doing a genetic comparison of the strains of salmonella associated with F&O DC and the larger outbreak. Since they haven't said the strains are the same and because the cucumbers in question were only sold in California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas this scenario seems unlikely.

3-They haven't mentioned if any of the staff at F&O DC are sick or have been sick. That is where an isolated outbreak like this typically gets started.

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1-if this was an issue related to improper HACCP and process controls (got to be a lot of sous vide here) at their commissary facility in NYC then we would see the outbreak associated with more than one of their restaurants. Thus far, the outbreak is limited to DC. This suggests that the issue is based in the DC restaurant.

lekkerwijn, you obviously already know this, but I just want to point out that it's physically possible for the commissary to be the culprit, but still only have the outbreak in DC - if, for example, a certain batch of a food item got contaminated, and that batch happened to be destined only for DC. Granted, that's unlikely, but it's possible (depending on what the protocol is up there).

I guess my main point here is: If there's any possibility greater than zero, it shouldn't be completely discarded.

I also want to remind everyone that lekkerwijn has a certain amount of expertise in this field that must be acknowledged - take what she says seriously.

"What Caused Salmonella Outbreaks at Chipotle and Fig & Olive?" by Linda Larsen on foodpoisoningbulletin.com

---

[by the way, once this is sorted out, I hope people don't mind if I move all these posts to a separate topic in the News and Media forum (we can certainly have a single link to that thread from here). This is a devastating blow to Fig & Olive, and it may not be their fault at all. I, for one, plan on going there shortly after this all blows over, and enjoying a meal, and will write a review as usual (and if the food is lousy, you'll hear about it!) :) But what you won't hear about in my review is salmonella. In the meantime, of course, all possible resources must be dedicated to finding the cause of this, and the restaurant's fiscal health must take a back seat to unraveling this mystery.]

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lekkerwijn, you obviously already know this, but I just want to point out that it's physically possible for the commissary to be the culprit, but still only have the outbreak in DC - if, for example, a certain batch of a food item got contaminated, and that batch happened to be destined only for DC. Granted, that's unlikely, but it's possible (depending on what the protocol is up there).

I guess my main point here is: If there's any possibility greater than zero, it shouldn't be completely discarded.

I also want to remind everyone that lekkerwijn has a certain amount of expertise in this field that must be acknowledged - take what she says seriously.

"What Caused Salmonella Outbreaks at Chipotle and Fig & Olive?" by Linda Larsen on foodpoisoningbulletin.com

---

[by the way, once this is sorted out, I hope people don't mind if I move all these posts to a separate topic in the News and Media forum (we can certainly have a single link to that thread from here). This is a devastating blow to Fig & Olive, and it may not be their fault at all. I, for one, plan on going there shortly after this all blows over, and enjoying a meal, and will write a review as usual (and if the food is lousy, you'll hear about it!)  :) But what you won't hear about in my review is salmonella. In the meantime, of course, all possible resources must be dedicated to finding the cause of this, and the restaurant's fiscal health must take a back seat to unraveling this mystery.]

Totally fair point that it could still come out of the central commissary. Yes, I do have some experience on this type of yucky stuff. It seems from the reporting on this that hasn't been entirely ruled out and there could easily be information that isn't being released to the public. My favorite source of information of this kind is from the BarfBlog - they're not lawyers they're microbiologists and food safety experts. So far they haven't offered up their opinion on what is happening and I think that is telling. There is likely much more to the story here.

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3-They haven't mentioned if any of the staff at F&O DC are sick or have been sick. That is where an isolated outbreak like this typically gets started. 

In the earlier coverage, there was mention that one of the employees had come to work sick around the time this broke out.  There was an emphasis on how this was in violation of their standard practices.

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There is likely much more to the story here. 

What do you mean when you say this?

1) That there is likely much more to the story that is already known and not being reported?

or

2) That there is likely much more to the story that will eventually be discovered and come to the forefront?

The second option seems too obvious for you to even mention, so I assume it's the first - why would this be the case?

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You can't have too much water in a nuclear reactor.

Nuclear Plant "“ At the retirement party for Ray (Asner) tells his fellow employees that "you can't have too much water in the nuclear reactor" and that they can never bother him for anything else once he leaves. Everyone is confused as to whether he meant they should put in all the water they want or never put any at all or whether he was even referring to their shift. They all get together and vote on this and all the water wins out. The manual is no help so they try to call his hotel. They decide to just drain the reactor and call it a night. Their message to his hotel turned out to be quite sarcastic as they witness what they think is a nuclear test as he says "you can never look too long at a nuclear cloud".

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The latest recall was only a few states, but the recall reported on Sept. 5 extended to 22 states, with illnesses reported in states where the further distribution may have occurred.

NYT on Sept. 5: "The cucumbers were shipped to 22 states, 18 of which have reported infections: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. Infections were also reported in Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming, though the products were not shipped to those states. Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi and New Jersey also received cucumber shipments, but health officials in those states have not reported infections."

2-If this was related to the larger cucumber salmonella they will confirm by doing a genetic comparison of the strains of salmonella associated with F&O DC and the larger outbreak. Since they haven't said the strains are the same and because the cucumbers in question were only sold in California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas this scenario seems unlikely.

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My favorite source of information of this kind is from the BarfBlog - they're not lawyers they're microbiologists and food safety experts. So far they haven't offered up their opinion on what is happening and I think that is telling. There is likely much more to the story here. 

Here you go:

"Fancy Food Ain't Safe Food - DC's Fig & Olive Edition with 70 Sick" by Doug Powell on barfblog.com

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Here you go:

"Fancy Food Ain't Safe Food - DC's Fig & Olive Edition with 70 Sick" by Doug Powell on barfblog.com

My opinion: 70 cases is a *lot*, and should be sufficient to trace back to the origin within a matter of hours - this should not be difficult. There are detailed receipts for the people involved, and if I had them in front of me, I could probably point to the likely culprit by 3 PM today.

Okay, maybe it's not *that* simple, but it's close. There may be one or two more degrees of separation, but there is a commonality between those 70 people, and it's quite possibly right there on the receipts. I will be more than happy to volunteer my ruthlessly logical mind to help find the answer, and can be anywhere in DC within an hour. Someone just let me know - I'm dead serious about this, and promise to keep everything in confidence. I may not know about diseases, but I spent a lifetime extracting meaning from seemingly meaningless data. I would very much like to help solve this problem, and no compensation or acknowledgment is needed or wanted.

I suspect there are computer programs out there that can regurgitate (pun intended) possible answers when you feed them (pun intended) raw (pun intended) data. Pray that the origin isn't someone named Ella and that the culprit wasn't salmon (Hatchet Molly, Typhoid Mary, etc.).

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What do you mean when you say this?

1) That there is likely much more to the story that is already known and not being reported?

or

2) That there is likely much more to the story that will eventually be discovered and come to the forefront?

The second option seems too obvious for you to even mention, so I assume it's the first - why would this be the case?

 I think #1 is the case. I do food safety crisis communications work and in my experience the CDC, FDA and local health authorities carefully dole out information. This is especially true if there is risk of litigation involved.

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They are reopening and have removed truffle fries and mushroom croquettes from the menu.  Those are the two items that might have been connected to the outbreak.

They're doing this the wrong way.

"We're having *only* staff meals, for as long as it takes, a spokesperson said, and every single staff member is going to have every single thing on the menu multiple times before we reopen to the public. We're doing this to be cautious well beyond the point of any reasonable standard, because our customers' trust means everything to us, and we're going to earn that trust and then some."

That will get people back in the door.

Until then, as my mom used to say, rotsa ruck.

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They're doing this the wrong way.

"We're having *only* staff meals, for as long as it takes, a spokesperson said, and every single staff member is going to have every single thing on the menu multiple times before we reopen to the public. We're doing this to be cautious well beyond the point of any reasonable standard, because our customers' trust means everything to us, and we're going to earn that trust and then some."

That will get people back in the door.

Until then, as my mom used to say, rotsa ruck.

They still haven't explained the woman who only had water and champagne.

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"We're having *only* staff meals, for as long as it takes, a spokesperson said, and every single staff member is going to have every single thing on the menu multiple times before we reopen to the public. We're doing this to be cautious well beyond the point of any reasonable standard, because our customers' trust means everything to us, and we're going to earn that trust and then some."

So, the idea is you force the grossly underpaid staff -- as a condition of employment -- to eat potentially contaminated food until you can prove that none of them got sick?  Sounds reasonable:P

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I'd probably argue that it's not research as the activity is not "a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge" [45 CFR 46.102(d)], but...

"Other Federal, State, and local laws and/or regulations may apply to the activity" [45 CFR 46.101(f)]

Signed,

Your friendly neighborhood Institutional Review Board Chair

:)

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So, the idea is you force the grossly underpaid staff -- as a condition of employment -- to eat potentially contaminated food until you can prove that none of them got sick?  Sounds reasonable:P

You must have seen Driving Miss Daisy 2, the one after the driver passed away. Post-Hoke ... -_-

I'm just saying that if they expect people to actually return there sooner rather than later, they (the owners) would be better off leading by example. Politicians drink glasses of water *all the time* in front of the camera after there has been a contamination.

If they think customers are going to start flooding the gates just because nobody can find anything wrong, I think they're being very optimistic.

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Lawsuit

It's a self limiting illness... Jeez. These things happen. I don't think there was any malice involved. What a country ... Thought we were over lawsuit mayheym.

I did my study abroad in Denmark, and spent time at the hospital there. Met a patient that was accidentally stuck by a needle during an admission and infected with HIV, this was in 1999. We asked about a lawsuit. He said, "No .. mistakes happen. They didn't mean it."

I hope this person loses and is responsible for all her legal bills.

On the other hand, for the confirmed cases of salmonella, F&O oughtta make a good faith commitment to pay any of the medical bills that have ensued...

-S

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Lawsuit

It's a self limiting illness... Jeez. These things happen. I don't think there was any malice involved. What a country ... Thought we were over lawsuit mayheym.

I did my study abroad in Denmark, and spent time at the hospital there. Met a patient that was accidentally stuck by a needle during an admission and infected with HIV, this was in 1999. We asked about a lawsuit. He said, "No .. mistakes happen. They didn't mean it."

I hope this person loses and is responsible for all her legal bills.

On the other hand, for the confirmed cases of salmonella, F&O oughtta make a good faith commitment to pay any of the medical bills that have ensued...

-S

Bill Marler is an attorney who specializes in food safety issues.  I'm familiar with him because Marion Nestle writes about him.  It sounds like the (or at least one) point of the lawsuit is to force information to come out about what happened.  He may be a personal injury lawyer, but he's a recognized expert in the area of food safety and food poisoning.  The public still really doesn't know what happened.

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I hope this person loses and is responsible for all her legal bills.

On the other hand, for the confirmed cases of salmonella, F&O oughtta make a good faith commitment to pay any of the medical bills that have ensued...

-S

Unfortunately, companies large and small have proven time and again that they will not do the things they "ought" to unless compelled to do so due to litigation.

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I hear you. But, say this happened at Rose's. Bad batch of lychee and 50 people get sick. Not like Chef AS was trying to hurt people. After the loss of business, after the embarrassment, after the reputational hit, does it make sense to go after them with a lawsuit? Maybe so. I'm not sure if F&O has been given enough time to come out with the facts. I mean - the health department still doesn't really know what happened, though there is some speculation. With a lawsuit, now everything goes dark and it becomes adversarial rather than complementary to try to figure out what happens and how to keep it from happening again. I guess I'm on the other side of this. I'm very sensitive to lawsuits. If the money will make that person will better in some way, maybe it's worth it. We live in a country with an excellent recent history of food safety. A one off event that makes 60 people sick - it sucks. But doesn't seem like a pattern of negligence and malfeasance. Maybe it is, though.

There sure are a lot of salmonella lawyers out there. This really is a thing... I just don't love the idea of going after any business for a self limiting disease. I guess I'm in the minority... just waiting for the day a patient comes after me for something that was out of my hands.

-S

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I hear you. But, say this happened at Rose's. Bad batch of lychee and 50 people get sick. Not like Chef AS was trying to hurt people. After the loss of business, after the embarrassment, after the reputational hit, does it make sense to go after them with a lawsuit?

The public still really doesn't know what happened.

Pat, JoshNE, and pras make a good point in that the public still does not know what happened at F&O and whether it is likely to happen again. The restaurant and the DC Health Department think it's the two menu items on the menu, but they aren't sure. It seems as though F&O checked the boxes and are moving on, hoping the public will forget. And as a large corporate chain, F&O can take the financial hit of a being closed a few days. Lawsuits and the discovery process are more potentially fatal than the embarrassment and the financial hit they have taken.

No one knows whether there would be a lawsuit if something similar happened at a place like Rose's Luxury. It depends on how they handled it. I would like to think that if they took the same approach at F&O, there would be a lawsuit. Hopefully, a smaller restaurant without a team of corporate lawyers and professional PR handlers on retainer would be more transparent and thorough in pinpointing the source of the outbreak rather than saying "Weird. We will sacrifice two dishes from the menu and give you free dessert. Nothing more to see here."

Finally, I am being cynical here, but I am willing to bet that if this happened at a smaller local DC place rather than a large corporate chain based in New York, the restaurant would still be closed by the DC health department.

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No one knows whether there would be a lawsuit if something similar happened at a place like Rose's Luxury. It depends on how they handled it. I would like to think that if they took the same approach at F&O, there would be a lawsuit. Hopefully, a smaller restaurant without a team of corporate lawyers and professional PR handlers on retainer would be more transparent and thorough in pinpointing the source of the outbreak rather than saying "Weird. We will sacrifice two dishes from the menu and give you free dessert. Nothing more to see here."

My feelings on the lawsuit issue aside (I can see both sides) - curious as to how the restaurant handled this in a way that was faulty?  If the authorities were really not able to pinpoint the exact cause of the outbreak, I'm not sure what they could have done beyond removing any items that may have been at fault (though I do agree that the free dessert offer may be a bit weak on attracting business).  I have not seen any report citing non-cooperation from the restaurant.

The best thing for the restaurant in this case would be to release any information about a specific, identified cause as quickly as possible.  I, for one, would be much more likely to return if they could say 'It was the peas!  We have removed ALL peas!' than the current story of 'We don't really know what it was but it may have been that.'  Seems there is little reason for them to hide any other story...

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Washingtonian now reporting Salmonella at the West Hollywood location. Doesn't take an epidemiologist to point the finger at the NYC commissary and centralized production practices. I wouldn't be surprised if they end up shutting down the whole operation at some point and if I had to guess, we may soon hear about illnesses associated with other locations. 

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sorry, meant to post this a few weeks ago but had to reset my password for the umpteenth time.  If what we saw when we walked past the restaurant (now several weeks ago, but right after the salmonella reporting)  they're gonna have no worries getting people back into the restaurant.  Place was packed!!!!

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