After many meals over almost ten years at Lulu, many at the bar when I lived in SF I walked out wondering "what's wrong with Lulu?"
While the wine list remains a compelling reason to attend tonight's performance goes down as one of the worst experiences while eating and drinking very well.
In order of the errors here they are:
1) I ordered two courses while deciding what i wanted as a main course. The first was the trio of appetizers as part of their antipasti plate. I followed that with the garden vegitable salad after having the bartender describe what was in it tonight. She got the trio right, but completely missed the "that sounds good, let me have that too."
2) After my trio of appetizers the buser removes my plate and silverware, never to replace it.
3) When I asked where my salad was the bartender fessed up that she made a mistake and that my lamb shank was due up, so I decided not to have the salad at that point. She said she was sorry, and I was cool with that until...
4) My lamb shank arrives made to share with sharing silverware. Since I was a solo diner who was I going to share with? My side dish of spinach that should have come with the lamb was left sitting in the kitchen. I asked the bartender if someone had forgotten it with a smile and she ran to fetch it. Usually the food comes out together, but the expediter obviously missed it.
5) No one ever brought me real silverware despite hostesses, food runners, servers and the bartender all seeing me feeding myself with the big fork. I thought about asking for silverware but figured, let's see how long it takes. I was done my lamb shank before after holding the fork straight up the bartender asked "did someone take your silverware away?"
6) No one offered water even when they brought bread and before I ordered four tasting size glasses of wine in flight which of course was done perfectly.
7) The coup de gras was the undulating assistant manager or hostess. When a server asked for sugar she responded with "I'll give you some sugar, sugar" with a sultry tone and a swivle of her hips. I shot her a glance signifying I noticed and heard her, but didn't get any "sorry, we get carried away, i hope you didn't mind" or "I hope I didn't offend you."
While I wasn't offended per se, the off colour use of language is grounds to be called Sexual Harrasment, and I know friends in the restaurant biz who have been terminated for less.
I may now hail from conservative San Diego, and this is liberal San Francisco, but I grew up in a locker room and was out with the guys chasing groupies since I was 14. I don't blush easily, but I also don't expect public displays like that in a place as professional as LuLu. When I commented to the server after thinking about it for a moment or two I got the purient interest, intent and one persons opinion of offensive, basically saying "you're a jerk" for thinking that. I didn't appreciate that, and inferance and implication are not as clear cut, but hey, I'm the customer.
I spoke with the manager at the end of the night. Her manner was polite, but hardly showed concern. Instead of asking the offending person to apologize, I got what I would best call patronizing commentary.
After almost ten years and likely more than 30 meals at LuLu I have to say my favorite place to go in SF, and somewhere I have gone on almost every trip to the city I've guess I've outgrown it.
The food was good, as always, but the service and the attitude has to change. SF or NY, there's no room to offend a loyal customer.