Excuse me are you Listening? 10-22
Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dear Readers,

I watched my friend, Kristen Taylor, sip on a glass of tonic water as we sat in an area in front of the bar at Xiao China Grille & Lounge located at 3415 East Saginaw Street in Lansing, MI.

I was supposed to meet another friend there but they had a busy day.  When I schedule my day around the delivery schedule, you cannot get me to switch either.  Westside, Eastside, Southside, Collins Road... I hear the newspaper stops in my head like a conductor of a train on a local line ( in metropolitan cities local lines stop at every stop and express lines stop at busier stops only).  New Yorkgander?  Is that a word.  

Kristen’s daughter, Taylor Taylor (yes, it is a great stage name) takes guitar lessons at Marshall Music which is right across the street from Xiao.  

If you do nothing else, just walk inside the place is amazing.  Beautiful plush red and dark mahoganies make it so warm.  The place was packed.

We just wanted to have a beverage.  Kristin sipped on tonic water and I on a glass of wine. I was scoping the restaurant out to see if I would be ready to eat raw sushi.

In May at the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church auction, my donation of movie passes was coupled with a gift certificate to Xiao.  I love giving to silent auctions.  Business owners should always consider giving to silent auctions.  I always browse the tables at silent auctions taking note of names of businesses to support.  It took me 6 months to work my way into the restaurant.

The second time I went by myself.  I took the menu and read it very carefully.  I think that was the first time that I had ever had a menu at my table for so long.

I was pleased to see that it was not all sushi and they had some traditional Chinese food dishes.  They even had a traditional Vietnamese soup called pho. At Xiao it is Saigon Beef Pho “Fuh” Noodle, which sounds fancy.  I love pho.  I just discovered it at the Asian House in East Lansing and I am daydreaming about it right now.  

I called my waitress Angela over and she was so nice.  I think I was asking so many questions that she called the owner over to help me.  She did an amazing job though but I wanted to know what words like “sushi” actually meant.

The owner came over to the table and asked me if every thing was all right.  I shook my head yes as I sipped on my miso soup.  I asked him about the tuna roll.  He told me that it was fresh and explained how the sushi was made.

The tuna roll arrived at the table.  I unwrapped my chops sticks and dove right it.  I have eaten sushi before but it  was always cooked.  I really enjoyed the tuna rolls.  I listened to my stomach to make sure that it was feeling all right.  They do warn you that consuming raw or under cooked meat or fish may increase your risk of food borne illness.  I figure that the warning ladle of the menu sounded far less disturbing than most warnings on medicine bottles.  

The waitress came back to check on me and reminded me that sushi rolls were on special.  I was pretty excited about that.  I am always asking everyone to do something different.  Maybe I got a little too excited and decided to order something else but again, I was studying the menu for so long again that my waitress went to go get the owner again.

Xiao really has amazing customer service.  Sometimes I want to call the infamous cranky chef Gordon Ramsey and have him come to some of the restaurants were customer service is lacking.  

The owner came back to my table and helped me pick out another sushi roll.  I ordered a smoked fish sushi dish. He sat down and we spoke.  I asked him if it was a franchise and he told me no.  I asked him where he was from.  He told me China.  I asked him more about sushi.  He told me that sushi means seasoned rice.  It is amazing what you can learn as a business person if you engage your customers.

Xiao even has an area with artifacts and information.  I was overall impressed.  I am not sure that I am really a sushi roll fan but I enjoyed the names in the menu like the Bruce Lee Roll, Black Belt Roll, Happy Buddha Roll, MSU and the Super Star Roll.  However, I would say that based on customer service, I am sure that Xiao will continue to “Roll” in the dough too.

Love people,
Rina Risper

P.S. Please remember to know your worth and not let anyone try and make you feel inferior.

 

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