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Restaurants & Bars 7

B44 - highly unpleasant experience (and long description!)

Alexandra | Nov 18, 200206:03 PM

Friday night was out in SF with a couple of friends and thought to try Cafe Tiramisu on Belden Place. Well, it had a 15-minute wait and my friends seemed to want Spanish more than what Tiramisu had to offer, so we settled on B44, about which I had heard lots of pretty good things from chowhounds.

We were seated at a table in the bar area, just next to the entrance, and given menus. For at least five minutes we sat there perusing our menus and staring pointedly at busboys who ran by without bringing us water. During this time we were neither helped by, nor greeted by, our waitress. Finally the hostess (a French woman formerly of Plouf, I think) came by to take our drink order, sympathized with us, asked the busboy (I hate calling him that - can I call him the busman?) to get us some water, and told us our waitress would be with us soon.

When the waitress finally did appear (about ten minutes after we had been seated) she asked for our order directly without saying anything about specials and without an apology for the wait. (For me, almost anything is excusable with an apology.) There was some kind of Menorcan festival of food going on, which was noted on the menu. When we asked her about it, she just told us about two sardine specials and a salmon special, none of which seemed particularly unique from the rest of the menu. They were all three appetizers, but it took our questions to get this out of her. And when I asked the price of one, she said, "Oh, about $8.00, like the rest of the appetizers." So my friends ordered entrees, and I ordered the salmon thingy - it was like slices of gravlax served on a bed of roasted eggplant and yellow and red peppers - and told her I might order another dish in a few minutes. She left the menu with us, but did she ever come back? No! Not once. Not to ask if I wanted anything else, not to ask how the meal was, nothing...

My small dish was very tasty, but nothing I would go out of my way for. One pal had lime-crusted seared ahi tuna on a bed of something I can't remember - respectable dish, but again, not that memorable. The other pal had romescado (sp?), a big dish of all sorts of seafood (squid, shrimp with heads on, clams, and an unidentified fish) in a zesty romesco sauce. Good seafood, and very nice for sopping up the bread.

But I neglected to mention the final, crowning insult to our ill-fated evening at B44! Another waitress (thank god, not our own) came by when we still had our plates and were industriously sopping up romesco with the bread and STOLE THE BREAD CONTAINER, STILL WITH BREAD IN IT! She didn't even ask or look at us when she did it, just snatched it right off the table, went and added more bread to it, and took it out to another table outside! We were all left sitting there, mouths agape with disbelief!

The place was not packed that night, so I don't see what could have been their excuse for such atrocious service. I suppose we could have been assertive about the egregious lack of courtesy and promptness, but we just tried our best to get out of there as fast as we could...

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