Four of us met at Trestle on Tenth (at 24th) last night, to celebrate my girlfriend's mother's engagement to her high school sweetheart. We toted along a bottle of Champagne for the occasion, with the expectation that the restaurant, which had been recommended on
another Food and Wine bulletin board, would be a cozy neighborhood spot to relax, enjoy good food and wine, and catch up on life. While we did manage to enjoy ourselves, the restaurant staff or the quality of the cooking did little to enhance the experience.
After we were seated, I had the chance to peruse the wine list, which was filled with a diverse selection of well-chosen wines at pretty reasonable prices, on the whole. I was promptly informed of the $20 corkage on the Champagne we brought, which I gladly accepted. (I kindof also hoped that by ordering a bottle of the list the waiter might waive the corkage, which often happens in the restaurants I frequent. When the bill came, we learned no such luck -- oh, well.) Unfortunately, it took at least 20 minutes, and finally me asking, for anyone to bring us Champagne glasses, but we took that in stride.
The food was largely uninspired. A plain green leaf lettuce salad with goat cheese and pumpkin seeds was nicely dressed, but offered little beyond what we get from Trader Joe's. The steak tartare was tasty but pretty nondescript. The salmon was well-prepared and the accompanying brussels sprouts were tasty. Portion size was small for the fish dishes at the table. We ordered two side dishes, with the potatoes being oversalted but tolerable, and the broccoli rabe being oversalted to the point of being inedible. Desserts were just OK, with the biscotti being tasty but plain, and the ice cream we ordered being tainted by chunks of ice (clearly this had been re-frozen).
With dessert, we ordered a round of dessert drinks, and had for me what was among the lowest quality service experiences of my life. First, one of my dining partners ordered a glass of grappa di Amarone, expecting that it would be like other grappas she'd had in the past. What she received was unexpected -- a light brown liquid that tasted different from anything she had drunk before, and not to her liking. When she then asked to replace this with a glass of more typical grappa, the bartender saw fit to bring over the bottle to point out that she had indeed ordered a grappa (everyone at the table interpreted this as his pointing out that it was her fault for ordering the wrong wine, not his). At this point I stepped in, and asked that they put both glasses of grappa on our bill but please bring out what she had requested... For myself, I was tempted to order a glass of 1985 Moulin Touchais Coteaux de Layon, but asked the manager how long the bottle had been opened. He replied, "About 2 weeks, but we use one of those vacuum pumps so it should be fine." Although I was pretty sure the wine would be shot, I asked for just a taste to confirm, on the off chance it might still be drinkable. The manager shot me a dirty look, then tramped off and brought back a miniscule taste, which was indeed heavily oxidized and undrinkable (I suggested to him that he taste the wine and then discard the bottle).
Needless to say at this point, the bill included both the corkage and both glasses of grappa, though they did remove from the bill the inedibly salty rabe that we had sent back. We paid the bill with a normal tip (we didn't want to punish the waitress for the staff's overall callous demeanor), and after my dining partners had left I pulled the manager aside to explain why we probably wouldn't be returning, or recommending the restaurant to others. He seemed pretty unconcerned. I guess that's why the restaurant is only 20 percent full at the busy time of a Wednesday night....
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