Wow, what an attitude! Couple of friends and I stopped in at Banderas at Howe and Fair Oaks on Sunday evening after a movie, hoping to get a small meal and some good conversation. There were plenty of open tables, as it was later in the evening and the dinner crowd had cleared out. We were informed by multiple short, snooty hostesses that the tables were only for eating full dinners but we were welcome to sit at the bar if we only wanted drinks and appetizers or small meals. (These seats were lined up in a row, hardly comfortable for discussing Kinsey with friends!) My East-Coast buddy of course copped the same snotty attitude, but was met by these vapid Barbies. We should have cut through the hair gel and spoke with the manager, but decided to try a table and see how little we could get away with ordering. Still plenty of tables empty in the restaurant, and now here is yet another blonde hovering over our table, trying to get us to order more food and stopping by every few minutes, preventing very long or interesting movie discussion.
For the food; the cheese cornbread was soft and tasty in the middle, but the crusty topping appeared to be poorly mixed as there were lumps of very salty dry corn meal mix underneath the melted cheese. After much consternation and well, it looks like you ate a lot of it already, it must not have been that bad, (there was over 3/4 of the dish left!) the server begrudgingly asked the manager to give us credit for the dish, which we gratefully received. I barely got away with ordering only 2 appetizers for the meal, just had orthodontic work adjusted and can hardly chew air, but had to share my sad story with the server to get her to believe that I could really not eat anything but soup (which Banderas does not serve). The jalapeno cheese and chips and mashed potatoes were plenty for a small meal, and actually not that bad food-wise; warm and filling. Friends dish of broiled chicken was also tasty, although the rice side dish served with it was extremely spicy (inedible for her), and she had requested all-white meat for an extra charge but received the standard half-chicken. Again had to beg the server to talk to the manager to get what she paid for. East-Coast Eddie enjoyed the large bowl of salad, with broiled chicken, dates, heirloom tomatoes and occasional bits of jalapeno that brought tears to his eyes.
Overall, we were happy with the food and appearance of the restaurant, but the attitude of the staff was just ridiculous. I am not sure if they are trying to appeal to the well-dressed crowd and perhaps develop an upscale reputation, but the basic tenets of restaurant business should be kept in mind: they are a service industry.