I called Palate the day after my dinner because of our horrible service experience there. I’ve never done this before. Finally, the General Manager, Francois Renaud, got on the phone and I expressed my complete displeasure with our waiter. He tells me that Mr. Everything Is To Die For Because You’ve Never Eaten Out Before waiter has been in his line of work for 25 years. That doesn’t exactly appease me.
Mr. Renaud does not extend an invitation to return. Let me be clear, that is so not the reason I called. Also, I’ve received such invitations in the past and they just make me uncomfortable. So I’m not sure that I would have accepted it anyway. But, the fact that he didn’t extend such an invitation was rather ungracious, I thought. This, together with my experience there at a Daily Candy event, makes me think that Octavio Becerra had been with corporate Patina Group for much much too long. It’s all about the bottom line. Maybe when the hot newness of this place dies down, they’ll rethink this.
Food: 3.5 stars, maybe 4.
Service: 1 star, only because this is the lowest rating possible here.
Six of us dined here last night. We shared a number of different items, and each got one of the larger plates, plus a couple bottles of wine.
Porkfolio— excellent charcuterie, what I was able to taste of it, since we got one order for all of us.
6 cheeses— excellent
Japanese tomatoes, a special—nice and sweet
Pickled fennel—lightly pickled, very good
Pickled apples—lightly pickled, very good
Risotto with shaved black truffles, a special—very nice, the risotto could have been cooked a little more.
I think that’s all for the shared items.
I tried the soup, it was some sort of squash, the color of pumpkin: very good, lots of butter.
I had the sea bass with clams, good. The fish was a little bit overcooked.
Tried the duck confit: it was okay, a little bit dry.
The house-made butter was excellent.
Varlhona choc pudding: too sweet
A bread pudding: again, too sweet
pumpkin creme brulee: very good.
Our waiter first: kept trying to rush us to place an order, any order. He kept sighing and frowning and very outwardly showed impatience. We were having a great time conversing and there was one person in our group that none of us had met before, so we wanted her to feel welcome. Also, we were trying to figure out what we wanted to order to share and how much of each item.
Our waiter second: treated us generally like we’ve never eaten out before. Again, with the sighing and frowning and treating us like food barbarians. Then he asked if this type of menu was new to us. Really? Small plates are new? Oh I am so livid right now just typing this.
Our waiter third: never offered the prices on anything that’s not on the menu, and seemed really put off when I asked. WTF.
Our waiter fourth: didn’t refill our wine glasses at first. I had to do it. But he did figure out his job after that.
Our waiter fifth: asked if we liked everything, especially certain dishes, but he asked in a way that presumes that we must certainly have loved it, because he had already decided that we don’t eat out much, and because I guess for him this is the most ethereal food he’s ever worked around.
Our waiter sixth: when he brought the check, he was then all smiles, trying to get a good tip after his completely unprofessional and insulting behavior. Only because I was having such a good time with my friends and didn’t want to make any sort of negative wave for the evening, I smiled and said, yes everything was good, and gave him the now-standard 20% tip. I should have given him less, but that percentage just comes so automatically to me now.
Our waiter seventh: he was so pleased in getting a good tip from us, now he is all smiles. He probably figured from the time he poured the water that he may not get a 20% tip because he had decided in his small mind that he had a right to insult us. The reality was, he was serving a group of six hard core foodies who eat out everywhere, all the time.
Total tab for six, including vino, tax and tip: $460. The level of cooking doesn’t quite measure up to the price. But overall the food was good and worthy of a return visit for certain dishes. However, the service brought this restaurant way down. But because the food is good, I might have to call them to let them know about the incredibly insulting waiter. But then again, I may not take time out of my life to tell them they didn’t properly train someone, and just screw it altogether, let my money do the talking, and not return.