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Restaurants & Bars 12

Galileo Rant - long

sunshine | Apr 18, 2004 12:05 AM

I just got back from Galileo and was so disappointed that I have to vent! We had out-of-town guests and we wanted to take them to one of the "best" restaurants in DC. The other option was Maestro - wish we had chosen it! My complaints about Galileo:
First, they required a credit card number to reserve seats at their restaurant. their policy is that if you fail to show or cancel 24 hours in advance, they'd charge the card $25 per person. While this policy may have legitimate reasons, if I have to give up my credit card info, I expect to be seated at the time of my reservation. We waited 35 minutes from the time of our reservation to be seated. when we got there, the table wasn't ready. 10 minutes into it, i asked about seating and the hostess didn't even recognize that we were waiting - no apology. no one came to give us any updates until 5 minutes before a table was ready when the maitre'd came to tell us that people were just signing their check and it would be just 1 minute longer (not once did they check on us or apologize before this). In fairness, they did give us complimentary appetizers to make up for the wait.

Second, they need a sommelier. We had ordered a 1999 Zinfandel. They didn't tell us that they were out of this but came back with a 2001 Zinfandel, same vintner, and told us that they were out of the 1999 but the 2001 was a more expensive bottle and they'd give it to us for the lower price (so of course, we should accept it..). now, if a restaurant has a wine list binder that boasts this great selection of wine, shouldn't they have the wine that they have listed on there (or update their list if they're out of something?) Then i recalled that earlier (while we were waiting to be seated), we had seen a waiter running out and later returning with a bottle of wine that had obviously been purchased or acquired elsewhere. Apparently, Galileo must not be keeping up their cellar.

Third, the food: good but not great. interesting bread selection. good buffalo mozzarella cheese. yummy profiteroles with lemon custard and chantilly cream. but their pastas and entrees were "eh". i guess i expected more.

Fourth, the service: suave waiters speaking in italian accents and dropping italian phrases, but uncoordinated service. we had 3-4 different people bringing us things, and obviously not communicating. after dinner, we had ordered dessert and coffee. the dessert came, no coffee. we were almost done with dessert about 15 minutes later, so we requested the check and told our waiter to cancel the coffee. our waiter leaves, and a minute later, a different guy comes out with a tray of coffee cups and a press pot of coffee. we told him that we didn't want it anymore - we were ready to go, because by this time, we had been at this place for nearly 3 hours, much of it waiting and peeved.

I expected more from one of the 'finer' dining establishments in DC. My out-of-town guests enjoy fine food, have been to some of the nation's best places, and were sorely disappointed. i was embarrassed and regretted taking them to Galileo.

What's really telling is that the nite before, we had gone to komi and had a wonderful meal with great service and charm. komi is where roberto donna's failed vivo restaurant used to be. hmmm.

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