Had 9:00 reservations on Saturday night, and they were able to accomodate at 8:45 after a short wait at the bar. (had champaigne and Red Lillett - a house specialty - too astringent - softer with Kir).
We sat at a corner round, so had a great view of the room. There was a round table of six infront of us discussing chowhound! Anyway.
Our first 'waiter' (more on that later) came over ten minutes later, asking gruffly if we wanted ice water or bottled water. Odd way of asking, yet we answered, and didn't see him for another ten minutes. We were suprised when he came back to take our order, because he looked, spoke, and acted like a bus person. While taking our menus away, he asked if we were ready to order! I looked him in the eye and asked for a new waiter. Next...
Our new waiter took our order, and I asked to speak with the French hostess regarding wine. He seemed insulted that I didn't want to speak with the sommellier, however I explained my question would be better answered by the hostess, which in fact it was. (her name is Maud, and she is a gem from Bergundy).
The appetizers... two simple starters of goat cheese puree, and the olives. The puree was outrageously good, texture, taste, oil, seasoning... yum. Comment; the toasted walnuts were more like Macadamia nuts. The olives didn't even come out of a good jar. However, didn't have the chance to truly enjoy either as our entrees arrived within five minuts of the starters.
I am not a big fan of sending food back, not wanting to test fate that the food will be kept properly, so just laid everything out together.
The pork was good, however I asked for medium rare, and it came medium well. the garnishings and flavors were wonderful, however, it was not how I ordered the dish. OH had the day boat cod, and again very 'tasty', yet there was zero elegence to the slab of cod that was just plopped on the plate... even the cut looked ugly.
Shared an uneventful desert, yet the coffee was a pleasent roast.
OK, why all the criticism. It was our first time at SDLT. We expected great things, considering its ties with L'Espallier (a favorite of ours). The service was less than professional, the timing was non-existant, and the knowledge of the staff was entry level. Here is the killer... at 9:15 there were at least six tables of four empty... in other words, they weren't stressed to the max to accomodate.
We did finally speak with the wine guy (can't call him a sommellier), and we debated the merits of House Wine versus Red Truck. He couldn't debate the merits of a minervois versus a Cotes de Roussillon, and that in a southern French restaurant. The wine list was really a good list, yet the wine guy admitted to liking fruit forward Australian wines, which has nothing to do with the wine list!
I couldn't see a link between the wine guy, the Peruvian wait staff, and the intent of the restaurant. SDLT is NOT a southern French restaurant in food, decor, in spirit. However, they do have the southern French service thing down.