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Bad experience at Tezka


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Bad experience at Tezka

gueraaven | Mar 21, 2007 11:11 PM

Unfortunately, my first meal at Tezka was fabulously painful. The service was so obtrusive and the timing so off, it actually ruined the meal for me. I'm a mellow diner, willing to overlook a lot, so this is saying a bit.

From beginning to end, our service was so hyperattentive it made us nervous. The waiter asked us 3 times if we were ready to order ... as we all still had our noses in the menu. The bread runner interrupted us every 15 minutes throughout the entire meal with an enormous tray of bread, some of which was stale. Two waiters hovered feet from our table, pouncing on plates as we took the last bites. (Yes, I know it's polite to clear dirty plates immediately here - but this was overkill. We didn't need to see waiters staring at us every time we looked up.) We spent half the time interacting with the waiters who had interrupted our conversation than enjoying each other's company.

In other ways, the service was simply poor. We asked our waiter for his recommendations for a light-bodied red wine within a certain price range, and three times he recommended ones that were approx. $15 more expensive despite our reminding him of the price range we were looking for. When we finally got frustrated with that tactic, we asked for some information about a certain group of Riojas and all he would say is that, "They are all the same, they are all Riojas." We asked for the sommelier so he could explain more detal about the wines, but there was not one on staff. The waiter insisted, "But they are all the same; They are made with the same grape." It got to the point where we were laughing because we couldn't believe he would keep repeating this kind of stuff to us when we were asking outright to speak to someone who knew more about the specific wines in question.

There was a lovely hostess who finally came over and gave us some of her ideas on the wine, and was clearly very attentive to how our experience at the restaurant was. Even so, she spent way too much time trying to fawn over us and explain everything. She spent a lot of time convincing us to share two half bottles of wine, and we finally capitulated to get the discussion over with. When it came time for the second bottle, the one she had recommended was out of stock. The replacements they had to offer us were poor subsitutes - two that you can buy here for less than $10 for a full bottle - but we had no choice because she had sold us the first half bottle without checking the second's availability.

The hostess also had to explain almost the entire menu to us in detail because the descriptions are so obtuse. Grass shrimp, tuna bridge, escolar in yellow, venison with black apple, eggs in cider.... over half of the menu descriptions were such cryptic phrases that we finally asked for the English versions to see if they explained things in more detail. (They did, a little.) Still, with no information about preparation methods or ingredients, we needed someone to explain almost every item.

I really don't want to keep complaining, but even the music was distracting. I feel like a restaurant of this caliber should have moved beyond instrumental versions of old Wham! songs.

And, the food. Good. Some things great. But overall, just good. Our tuna bridge (puente de atún) was pretty unflavorful. The camarones césped were good. The terrine de foie was one-note. The lamb with beer sauces was flavorful, as was the capa de camarones salad. The timing was way off, too, with long waits in between courses of the tasting menu. I feel like if nothing else but in the tasting menu, they should have timing down to a T.

Finally, the ambiance. It was dead. We were in a large, brightly lit room all by ourselves, which maybe accounts for the hovering waiters shoving bread in our faces. We *were* there for dinner on a Tuesday night - certainly way off peak for the Zona Rosa restaurants. it's possible that the chef works Sunday lunch and takes Monday and Tuesday off. I would imagine that if you want the best Tezka experience, you are much better off at a lively lunch anytime from 1:30-5. Zona Rosa is a business district, and I imagine they focus attention on lunch.

Off peak or not, the experience should be consistently good even if the restaurant is empty. For the price, I'm not sure how soon I'll give it a second chance.

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