I've had a couple of experiences recently, which challenge the notion if you offer good service, you can get away with serving mediocre food.
While recently traveling through a small town, I walked into a biscuits and gravy joint where the tables hadn't been cleaned off and the server kept forgetting to bring items we requested.
He was friendly enough, don't get me wrong, with a bright disposition and genuinely personable. But operating with no sense of urgency.
While I was quick to write the slowness off as a small-town thing, what with my inherent "city-girl attitude," as people have referred to it in the past, what made the experience worthwhile—even to the point of my craving to return to the restaurant again—was when I ate the gravy.
Rich, creamy with no lard and chunky pieces of pork and ample fresh crushed black pepper, the gravy had me instantly satisfied. All the while with the following thought running through my mind:
"The slow service was worth it."
Some days, I really do just want good food.