Restaurants & Bars San Francisco Bay Area

Appalling Saul's

lacerise | | Aug 20, 2008 04:38 PM

Once every year or so, I eat at Saul"s. It must be that I start missing the Jewish deli vibe of my youth in the Bronx. But Saul's never lives up to my expectations. Or maybe it does. It never fails to disappoint me most profoundly. Last night will be the last night I patronize Saul's. My daughter and I had a most aggravating experience due to poor food preparation, poor waitstaff, mismanagement and terrible customer service. We ordered a reuben sandwich, fries, and a vanilla egg cream to share. We waited quite a while and finally the sandwich came w/a side of slaw. The sandwich looked rather sparse, not in terms of quantity of meat, but of everything else. There was a microscopically thin slice of some unidentifiable cheese that was not melted and no sauerkraut on my half. My daughter got two strands of kraut on hers. Our egg cream failed to arrive. I called the waitress over and told her the problems. She apologized and I told her I didn't feel it was her fault and she said she'd have the problems remedied. My daughter asked about the egg cream. The waitress said "oh, didn't it come?" No, you're standing here looking at our table and it's obvious that it isn't here so why ask? Within minutes after she left our table, the egg cream arrived. Later still the sandwich came back....same one, but now hot. Still no cheese to speak of and still no sauerkraut. I was disgusted and caught the waitress's attention again. I told her that we were still dissatisfied and why and she immediately said "I'll get a manager". I felt like she was capable of taking care of the issue if she cared to, but was foisting us off on a manager because she considered us problem patrons. A manager then approached our table and asked what the problem was. I explained that we'd sent the sandwich back due to lack of kraut and he said he would get the kitchen to make us a "new sandwich" and supervise it himself and wouldn't charge us for the sandwich. When he left, I asked my daughter what she thought he meant...was he not charging us for the sandwich we'd ordered or was he not charging us to make us a sandwich the right way? After some time, the waitress returned w/our "new" sandwich which was, in fact, new and we knew that because they'd left the original sandwich on the table in all its cold, congealing glory. I was anxious to dig in, but realized that this sandwich looked suspiciously the same as the original so I looked under the bread and again, no kraut. I decided to give up and eat the damned thing rather than throw it at someone and storm out. About 2/3's into my half sandwich, the manager returned and asked if everything was ok now. I said no, there's still no sauerkraut on the sandwich. Obviously, he hadn't supervised its creation as promised. He asked if he could bring us a side of sauerkraut. At that point, I wanted to tell him to put his face in a vat of kraut, but I said that would be nice. Did he notice that I was almost finished with my sandwich? It took him almost five minutes to return with the sauerkraut. Veins in my head were threatening to burst. I put the kraut on what remained of my sandwich and it made all the difference. Now it was at least one step closer to what a reuben is supposed to be. We finished our meal and requested the check. The check was written as if we'd ordered 2 reubens and then were credited back for one. So we were offered nothing in the way of compensation for all the aggravation we suffered. We weren't even offered a damned cookie! I didn't leave a tip because I wasn't willing to pay one penny more than I was being charged for the overpriced piece of crap they served us. On our way out, I asked the manager if we could speak for a moment and I told him I thought the waitress was not at fault and I hoped he'd convey to her that my not leaving a tip wasn't meant as a slap to her. I said that not only was this the worst and most inauthentic reuben I'd ever been served, but the waitress was unhelpful, the kitchen was (presumably) unhelpful, and his customer service skills were sorely lacking. He said "I'm sorry. I did everything I could for you, ma'am. Have a nice evening." What a putz!

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