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Pascal's in Newport - Mixed food, Service so Bad it would be Funny if it wasn't an Upscale Restaurant - LONG

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Pascal's in Newport - Mixed food, Service so Bad it would be Funny if it wasn't an Upscale Restaurant - LONG

torta basilica | Jun 12, 2005 01:37 PM

A recent positive post reminded us about Pascal's & coincidentally, my mom chose Pascal's for her birthday dinner last night. 3 who arrived first were seated promptly & given water & the yummy little croutons with goat cheese spread & tapenade. 4 of us arrived a few minutes later & were seated, then all staff disappeared. Restaurant was perhaps 1/2 to 2/3's full at all times. I asked for water 3 times, but the proper 'water guy' was busy & I guess serving water beneath our waiter, so we waited & waited. Got the wine menu, but still no water. The water guy finally showed up & asked if we wanted regular or bottled (which I think would have been obvious as rest of table was drinking tap). Were immediately asked if we knew which wine, which no, we didn't - needed a moment to read the list. All disappeared for some time again, then menus were brought. We tried to order wine, but waiter walked away as my husband was asking a question. Came back & he did help me with the wine list & gave good advice about 2 wines I was deciding between. The guys wanted martinis & rest wanted a glass of wine before dinner, but waiter said 'Do you want me to take your wine & drinks order now & food later or both now? You should do both now" & proceeded to take our orders (young women first, my mom & aunt last next) without us having any choice in the matter.

Menu did have 4 panels, with the center being lunch & my daughter asked if she could have the ahi & waiter said no - we will not serve that for dinner. OK, then don't give me the lunch menu... Waited & waited & waited for our wine. The white arrived first. I tasted - it was good - a Bordeaux Blanc. Waitress poured rest of table, including trying to pour my 14 year old a glass, then left without giving me anymore than my taste. Left bottle in cooler several feet away. Guys got their martinis. Mom, who had ordered a Gigondas, waited & waited & waited... We finally asked where her red was & it came out several minutes after that - probably 20 minutes after our wine was served & 35 or so after the wine order. I finally got my glass filled when the red was served. Our wine was left by a table with a toddler, who walked over, picked it up & was about to drink or pour when we stopped him in the nick of time. Nice French bread & butter brought.

Appetizers were served over the course of several minutes - I had salmon & ahi tartare, which was bland, but fresh; girlfriend liked her beet salad - I thought it underdressed, but only had a little bite; mom had veal sweetbreads, which were good, dad had the menu escargot - don't know what he thought of it, but it had raisens in it; husband asked if they did classical escargot & waiter said no, but brought it out for him anyway, which I think was thoughtful. Husband said they weren't the best - sauce lacking.

Entrees were served, again had to be 5 minutes between the first person's & the last - makes for much ackwardness - I had sea bass au thym, which was amazing - lovely sauce with pesto & sundried tomato sauces - really excellent. Aunt liked her rabbit. Mom & Dad had highly recommended night's special Coq au Vin, in which the chicken was really dry, which I think would be hard to do in this dish, but... Daughter's Coq Provencal also had dry chicken. Husband liked his swordfish & BF loved her steak au poivre & frites, which was excellent, even though she ordered it medium well (yuck), they didn't kill it & sauce was very good.

By this time, a regular couple had come in & waiter decided to spend all of his time chatting with them & we weren't getting anymore of our 2nd bottle of wine. Had to ask again for it to be poured. Were given dessert menus - were all served, then waitress disappeared & never came back & we were left with food & no cutlery for awhile before we could drag waiter away from local couple to get us some. Highly recommended pineapple upside down cake was good, but would have been better warm or hot; white chocolate cheesecake souffle was really good & different, cold fruit soup I thought boring, mascarpone ice cream absoutely delicious, tarte tatin must have been good as it all disappeared from my husband's plate before we could have a chance to taste - he needs to work on his sharing skills...

We had a great time together, the food ranged from poor to excellent, but the service was truly skattered & wierd - friendly one moment, irritated to have to provide us with our wine the next - very very strange. Is it me? Am I getting too picky? Just can't seem to get a good meal with great service recently...

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