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Restaurants & Bars 2

Side dishes: a rant (and brief review of Home)

joannap | Apr 6, 200211:50 PM

Please, oh please, chowhounds -- surely one of you can explain a phenomenon that's driving me a little nuts. Why is it that whenever we order a side dish at a nice restaurant, it never arrives? Tonight it happened at Home (see my comments on the restaurant below), and it's also recently happened at Bacar, Noi, and Palatino. And those are the places I can remember!

At times it seems related to the phenomenon of waiters refusing to write down your order (which drives me nuts: you don't have to show off for me by implying that you can remember everything, and when you come back to the table saying, "You had the monkfish, right?", I'm definitely less than impressed). But other times, waiters write it down, but the sides don't show up. (At Bacar, when we mentioned the forgotten side, the waiter eventually brought it -- but after we'd finished dinner and our plates had been cleared. We didn't eat it and had it taken off the check.)

Which leads me to wonder: do restaurants actually not want to serve sides, because of the cost of their preparation? (It can't be the price of the ingredients -- we're talking brussel sprouts, spinach, and, tonight, macaroni and cheese.) If so, why offer them at all? Do the restaurant computer systems make ordering sides difficult? Is ordering side dishes so rare that it makes it hard for waiters to remember?

Or do I have some kind of incredibly bad karma?

Please advise.


p.s. About Home: Other tables got bread, but we didn't. The Caesar salads we ordered were pretty good, though with a bit too much parmesan for my taste. My girlfriend quite liked her roast chicken, though she felt its accompanying potato puree was a bit salty. I ordered the Niman Ranch steak medium rare and just wasn't impressed: the meat was stringy and cooked more than I would have liked; a steak knife would have helped. The fries were okay, and the drinks were good. We didn't have dessert (I know, I know, the pastry chef is supposed to be great, but...). I'd give the service about a C. Between forgetting our bread, forgetting our side dish (the waitress acknowledged she'd forgotten to put in the order), and double-charging us for a drink, we weren't exactly blown away. Nice atmosphere, though.


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