Restaurants & Bars

San Francisco Bay Area

Paul K -- what a letdown!! (longish)

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Paul K -- what a letdown!! (longish)

Judith Hurley | Feb 28, 2004 05:06 PM

Why is it that if you try a place and like it, it generally falls apart when you bring your friends? We had gone to Paul K's earlier this month and really enjoyed it . . . looked forward to going back.

So last night, dinner with friends, we suggested Paul K, and were we ever disappointed. The food was fine, no quarrel there. But the waiter really loused up the evening. We ordered a bottle of Vouvray, and it came to the table warm. Not just not seriously chilled, but tepid. So he provided us with a bucket of ice, and we had or first course with water while the wine "chilled."

When it became clear that the wine wasn't going to even get cool in the time we had to spend (one reasonable dinner evening), I asked him for another bottle of wine, any white that was sufficiently chilled, (giving him, I suppose, carte blanche on price). He agreed and after a really, really long time, came back, announcing that he hadn't forgotten us, with another bottle of the same Vouvray. This bottle was slightly cooler than tepid, but hardly chilled. But since our entrees had arrived, we decided to go with it, and put the second bottle in the ice bucket.

So we had dinner with warmish (and indifferent at best) white wine. But we had to work for it, because the waiter absolutely NEVER ONCE came back to refill our glasses. It was up to us to reach under the table where he had stashed the ice bucket and pour our own wine.

I guess wine just wasn't part of his job description?! If it had been, he never would have brought warm white ("I'm sorry, the Vouvray isn't properly chilled, can I suggest an alternative?") There were four of us, and he probably would have had to serve us two bottles to our greater joy and the restaurant's profit. Alternatively, he could have saved the day with prompt delivery of a very expensive substitute wine properly chilled, and we'd have happily paid for it. Or, he could have comped the warm wine or thrown in a dessert to make up for the annoyance like any place worth its ratings might do.

But what he did was mar the evening, charge the full cost of the Vouvray, and make sure I will never return to Paul K. Warm white wine in a "good" restaurant in San Francisco. . . really.

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