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Restaurants & Bars 1

Rose Pistola in North Beach

Fine | Mar 16, 200404:15 AM

Hadn't been here for a year or so and most meals over the years had been after 10 PM, but three of us had an early dinner on a recent Sunday.

Service has always been lousy here, not to put too fine a point on it. Staff has always seemed distracted and/or uninterested--something I attribute to lack of hands-on management from owners.

Our server offered to get info on langoustines (which she should have had) then forgot.

She didn't call to our attention that the octopus appetizer came in an identical preparation to the one we'd chosen for our escolar (I noticed as soon as the former arrived and asked if the latter could be changed. She assured us it could; surprise: it wasn't.)

She also forgot ever to bring our order of mixed little marinated fishes (when we had suggested she write down our many choices, she demurred, assuring us she had a perfect memory).

Far and away the most serious problem: The fellow who brought our Sage Farinata--a garbanzo flour pancakelike goodie--said something that the combination of the noise level and his heavy accent made impossible for any of us to comprehend. I had the first taste and chomped down hard on an unrecognizable object that turned out to be a bare olive pit! (Coincidentally, all three members of our party had had extensive and expensive dental work in the past few months.) This ranks with the oddest restaurant experiences of my life! Further exploration led to our learning that the food server had apparently been attempting to alert us to the incomprehensible presence of olive pits in this item! What could they have been thinking? I bet their insurance brokers would have a mad cow if they were aware of this idiocy.

Most of the food was very tasty, though I was mildly disconcerted to find packaged salted garbanzos at Trader Joe's a few days after having enjoyed them here combined with capers in a salt-lover's delight.

I had grabbed a bottle of Kermit Lynch 2000 Saint Joseph Blanc from the cellar, not remembering the circumstances under which I'd gotten it--possibly a sampler case. It was startlingly good--the best taste out of a number of quite good ones.

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