A few weeks ago on a sold out night at Copley Symphony Hall (Beethoven, Royal Orchestra and Pinchas Zuckerman), the Sheraton’s lobby bar’s experienced its worst nightmare, a train wreck that could have been avoided with a bit of foresight.  

A few things the Sheraton’s restaurant management should have known before that evening:  First, find out if the event is sold out.  Second, schedule more than one server for all the tables in the bar area.  Third, explain to servers that taking all the drink orders for all the tables, delivering all those orders, and then coming around to take food orders, is practically certain to stress the kitchen–and customers.   Many in the room waited up to an hour for the simple and good $8 saffron risotto with scallops (not overcooked) or sliders, among other items on the short bar menu.  Fourth, be prepared when the kitchen printer goes out (as it did that night) and orders have to be sent by voice rather than computer.  To their credit, one of the managers, George, explained the kitchen printer issue, and smartly discounted our bill.  Would we try the place again?  Maybe, but only if we see more than one server on the floor.

If the Sheraton isn’t your idea of a place to meet before the show, try Jade Theater, on Seventh and C at the trolley tracks.  Barely a block from Copley, this restaurant, bar and club on weekends serves contemporary Asian-style food, complete with chopsticks and a sleek, albeit noisy room.  Hint:  Eat early before a show, and upstairs in the one smaller quiet room, otherwise the restaurant’s balcony seating looks down on the bar area and the music and conversation can be overwhelming.  The menu features titillating and amusing titles for their menu items: Tease Me (small appetizers) Taste Me (larger appetizers) and Eat Me (main courses).  The food is good (jade shitake bites, ungreasy Asian fritto misto) entree portions huge (two tender legs and thighs for the duck char sui), and the service attentive though two of my pet peeves persist:  Clearing plates before all at the table are finished and a server telling me their name.  These two issues ought not to show up in better establishments such as Jade Theater.  Feel free to weigh in with your comments.

Buzz is saddened by the huge change at the Wine Bank, a downtown institution serving savvy wine affectionatos for 30 years. Recently sold, the new owner added an ATM machine at the front door, lots of steel institutional looking shelving, a huge liquor assortment on the first floor, knocked out walls and has the place looking and feeling like a BevMo store rather than the comfortable and well-stocked wine store it used to be. We miss the cases of wine everywhere and the homey feel along with expert wine advice by the knowledgeable staff. Expect to pay more for wine and tastings too. You may still see prior owner Mike Farres at his familiar entry perch and his nephew Brian will be around for a while, but the change is hard to take. 363 Fifth Avenue, Downtown, 619-234-7487.

The San Diego Pier Café at Seaport Village sits on pilings, more wharf than pier, has a bar, and a slightly more sophisticated and higher priced menu than the other cafes. Open for lunch and dinner, you’ll find nachos, salads and sandwiches, clam chowder in a bread bowl, and more. I prefer the less stylized atmosphere (call it laid back, funky and fun) of the Ocean Beach Pier Café. 885 West Harbor Drive, Seaport Village, 619-239-3968, www.piercafe.com.