My wife and I were visiting Quebec City recently and had supper at the Saint Amour restaurant. It is a restaurant renowned for its chef. It has won back to back awards for " Chef of the year "[2000,2001,2002 and I believe 2003..their website might not have been updated yet]. The chef is co-owner as well.
Let me start by informing all of you, that the food was SPECTACULAR! This chef has a gift! The issue I have though with this restaurant is one I have found with most top restaurants: the chef is great but wait staff was sub-standard. In the case of the Saint Amour, food and wine timing were off. There was too much wait time between courses. The waiters had too many customers to deal with;hence, delays were happening in our food and wine arriving. Our waiter had about 20 patrons to cater too. When one pays a minimum of $250 to $600 dollars to dine, you would hope to see stellar food and stellar wait service!
I am sure all your epicureans out there have heard the term: the wait staff was very efficient yet invisible". In the case of the Saint Amour, this was not the case. The wait staff from the water boy to the "Amuse Gueule" to our main waiter found it very difficult to be invisible. Synchronization of food and wine was terribly off too. Our main entree arrived and yet the wine was still missing. I had to call our main waiter over to mention this "faux pas".
The second issue I would like to comment has to do with wine. The wine list menu was soo big. It must of weighed 10pounds! It was a very extensive wine list with wines ranging from lower $20's to $1500+. I found it quite surprising that such a wine list was not accompanied with a Sommelier! You cannot honestly tell me that all waiters have been trained in the fine art of wine selection? Furthermore, my wife and I did the food and wine pairing for all our courses. Our wine glasses went empty and no one paid any attention to this; weird? It would seem most basic that an attentive wait staff would have asked: "Would you like some more wine" even if we were having wine by the glass!
I left the restaurant with a $400 bill feeling half full. Food was GREAT, yet the journey through this gastro heaven did not live up to my wife and I's expectations. This experience could of been great if only the wait staff had paid but a little better attention! I have been to restaurants all over the world and on a scale from 1 to 10, my overall score arrives at 6.