Some months ago, I reported on Michael's on Main in Soquel, offering a strong recommendation for what seemed like a wonderful find. We had a lovely dinner there, and I was so happy with the restaurant that I booked it for a lunch for 10-12 people following my son's graduation yesterday from UCSC.
I spoke to the catering manager well in advance (starting in March!). Since the kitchen closes at 2, which was when we planned to arrive, and since they had another large event scheduled for the afternoon, I was willing to make a limited selection, and coordinate with the menu of the larger event to simplify things for the kitchen. After some discussion about a menu, the catering manager suggested, and I agreed, that we would simply order from the regular lunch menu which she faxed me. She said that they were thinking of staying open, since the graduation was likely to produce some demand. So we simply made a reservation, which was confirmed and reconfirmed several times, at least once last week.
On our arrival, they showed us what was clearly the nicest location in the restaurant, in a gazebo at the end of the back deck, overlooking the woods. The table, however, wasn't set up at all, so there was a quick scramble while chairs were placed and places were set (we were a few minutes early, but there was nobody else there, and remember, I had booked MONTHS in advance).
We ordered wine and drinks, and looked at the menu. The menu was only brunch and small plates, with no sandwiches and only one salad, significantly different from what I had been faxed. But since my guests had no idea about anything different, I figured that was no problem.
The problem began after we ordered. After nearly an hour's wait, I asked the waiter when he thought we might be served, since several of my guests had other commitments. At that point, the chef (owner?) came out and assured us that everything would be OK, followed by a service of half of our orders and a second bottle of wine. After another ten minutes, my husband WENT INTO THE KITCHEN, and at that point, everyone scrambled around and produced the rest of our meals. The food was acceptable, except for the eggs Benedict, which were cooked to a fare-thee-well. New poached eggs followed in a reasonable space of time, but by then I was more than a little disgruntled.
People's spirits improved once they had something to eat (at that point, I think it could have been anything), and the setting was lovely. Desserts were delicious, especially the chocolate tartes, and the bill was reduced by the price of several lunches and the second bottle of wine.
I know that things can go wrong anywhere, anytime, but that's one of the reasons I like to plan events with lots of lead time, and a fair amount of specificity. Nothing could spoil the joy of the occasion, but I had higher expectations for Michael's on Main. I suppose I could be philosophical, delete this report, and move on, but for those of you who read my previous post, consider this, if not a full retraction, at least a caveat.
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