Matchbox mavens got a bit of a scare last week during the live discussion with Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema. The Aug. 8 exchange went like this:

Alexandria, Va.:

Have you heard of a phantom reservation-taker?
Yesterday, we called and made a reservation at Matchbox. A gentleman answered the phone number from the Web site (202-289-4441) and took the reservation. When we arrived at ten before seven, we were told by the hostess that they did not take same day reservations. We explained that we had in fact made a reservation and got some story that there is a man who is taking reservations without permission. They refered to him as a phantom who does this ofen.
Have you ever heard of such a thing?

Sietsema said the incident sounded “strange.”

It was strange enough, in fact, that several eager eaters got worried—very worried. According to Galeine Jhelyazaova, one of Matchbox’s official “reservation coordinators,” several concerned customers called the downtown bistro to make sure their reservations were safe.

They were, Jhelyazaova says. “Either it was a miscommunication,” she says, “or one of our employees did not pass it on.” Regardless, she says, there’s no phantom reservation taker. “Our employee totally used the wrong word…We apologize for the whole misunderstanding.”