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With an economy that knows better days, we’d like to think that restaurants–from their PR representatives and front of the house management, to their servers and kitchen–would be all over good service.  Note to restaurateurs and management:  Service and food for a new place or one that’s been open for ages needs to be top notch when you’re competing for dining dollars as everyone is today.  Frank Bruni of the New York Times writes today about what restaurants are doing to show their appreciation to customers in these hard times.  The following three stories exemplify what Buzz hates to experience and hear about since we want every San Diego restaurant to succeed–it’s all in the details.

Why would Decanter Wine Lounge & Restaurant invite press (Buzz wasn’t on the list) to an opening that included the public at $45 a pop, for appetizers and main courses, according to the invite that went to Rancho Santa Fe residents?  One member of the invited press and a guest arrived to find the public relations person had neglected to add their names to the guest list so the hostess wanted $90.  Once in, they encountered a surprising series of food and wine missteps, which they found odd especially if the chef/owner, Jayson Knack (whose resume includes a stint at Nine-Ten Prospect) wants to make a good impression on potential customers including those who write about the place. Decanter officially opened January 30 and promises nearly 200 wines by the glass with 4500 bottles to choose from.

What’s up with downtown’s Currant American Brasserie? A couple of things:  Three of us on a recent Sunday night couldn’t figure out why the host only lit the candle at our table, leaving the rest of the tables looking forlorn and the impression the restaurant did not look open for business. The room lighting was dim at best and the bar TV blasted a sporting event while the room’s club music didn’t match the setting.  Plating and presentation on the dark and decorated dinnerware made deciphering the food difficult.  Carlsbad mussels with frites were a good choice, but a beet salad got lost on the dark plate.  The food works just fine, but the distractions make the enjoyment difficult.

The continuing problems at the Symphony Hall’s Sheraton Lobby Bar before Monday perfomances continues to confound pre-theater patrons who want a nosh before the performance.  The service as was reported here a year ago, still needs work as a reader reports “ When we attended the Monday December 15 performace of jazz trumpetist Chris Botti, the Sheraton Bar was entirely unprepared, understaffed. I was hoping it wouldn’t be that way, but based on the experience I had previously I braced for problems. We sat at the bar and got in our order early. I could tell there were problems with other customers though. Usually there are not performances on Mondays. But how hard can it be to go downstairs and get a symphony program from the box office?”

One thought on “Buzz from the Bar: Things We Hate to See

  1. Since Currant suffered a owner/partner induced melt-down a while ago (Jonny-boy) the whole place seems to lack direction or a focused goal. Too bad I had some good meals there.

    Are there any San Diego based restaurant industry reports on how off places are? I’ve talked to some owners in the Uptown area reporting 20-30% off.

    Talk about great service – of all places as of late, I’ve experienced the best level of service at two vastly different places: The Wit’s End in Hillcrest, and the Farmhouse Cafe in UH.


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