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Interesting Experience at Via Allegro

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Interesting Experience at Via Allegro

John | Oct 22, 2005 12:50 PM

Love this place but there can be frustrations.

Friend and I went and started with foie gras. I suggested pairing it with an ice wine, muscat or late harvest reisling - all of which they have at $7/glass; but our waiter insisted "because of the marmalade with our preparation" that we would be happier with an Italian white at $15.95/glass - to be fair, he gave us a taste and it seemed pleasant. He claimed it would cut through the richness of the foie gras much better than my usual choices.

The foie gras was excellent, but on drinking it, the Italian wine proved watery and insipid, not a bit a match for the unctuousness and body of the foie gras. We mentioned this to him as a comment, not a complaint, when he asked how we were enjoying it - and said that of course tastes differ. He did not offer to replace it with anything more to our liking - but we had drunk most of it by then - no big deal.

It happened that Wendy the famed sommelier came by and we asked her opinion. She said she would have recommended my original choices, and added an auslese rhinewine - she wouldn't at all have thought the waiter's selection appropriate, and said she would mention it to him. We said good, as education - not as rebuke - and went on with our meal. (We had to ask for napkins, ask for mustard twice and ask for the waters we wanted. Our waiter earlier had sad "they said someone wanted a diet coke to start is this right ?" Not a sophisticated guy - we should have been warned !)

Anyway the next time the waiter came by he slammed down the mustard - clearly Wendy had scolded him. Later he backhandedly refilled (the red for our meat course) wine in my friend's glass but not mine - and dumped the rest of his sparkling water (which I detest - had asked for and got ice water from the start) into my water glass.

This was too much - I summoned another waiter, told him we wanted a new bottle of sparkling without charge for my friend and ice water for me, that we weretn't prepared to have a peevish waiter, etc. He was the nicest, old school Italian man about 40-45. The manager came over and apologized. Later with dessert he brought us two glasses of Late Harvest Reisling with further apologies. Our waiter disappeared and we were well served the rest of the evening by his excellent replacement. I saw the miscreant glaring at us from the bar area later !

Interesting how such a sophisticated place can have such a dud waiter. Also how quickly they act to put things right when a calm but firm protest was made !

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