My wife and I went to Mantra in Palo Alto tonight. The service left a lot to be desired. My wife had ordered the duck breast ... medium-rare as duck breast is usually enjoyed. When the dish came out, the duck slices were brownish-gray and obviously **VERY** well done. We informed the waiter who apologized and gladly said he would get us another one. "OK", we thought, "mistakes happen but at least they are cordial in correcting it."
The new duck breast dish arrives. To our surprise, it looks equally as well done. On second inspection, we might actually see hints of a very light pink in scattered areas. Our waiter comes back and looks at the new dish and says, "I'm sorry, it looks the same as last time. I'll can bring it back to the kitchen if you want me to." Another gentlemen, by his stature I'll guess the manager, comes by and talks to us and the waiter. He assures us that this duck is as rare as it can get and it is perfect. My wife says it does look better and she would give it a try. It is juicier, but still not anywhere close to medium rare.
We ended up frustrated that this "manager" had the nerve to pass off as something that's medium-rare that obviously wasn't, especially when the waiter acknowledged that the 2nd dish basically looked "the same" as the 1st. With the prices as high as they are, there wasn't even an attempt to offer a complimentery dessert or even a drink while we were waiting for the food to be re-prepared, which brings to mind another quirk.
When my wife's duck breast was taken away the first time, they also took away my dish, even though there was no problems reported with it. Perhaps it was a formality so that everyone could eat "together". However, this prevented my wife and I from sharing my dish until her new duck arrived. Finally, I imagine that my dish was kept under a heat lamp the whole time the duck was being reprepared, as my swordfish ended up on the drier side as far as texture.
Overall, I cannot recommend Mantra based on the poor service and the prices we were paying. We didn't order any of the Indian-inspired dishes, but from the menu, I'd imagine you'd be better off in terms of taste and price going to Amber India (Mountain View location, not Santana Row), Shalimar, Kebabs and Curry, etc. if it's Indian food you are craving.
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