Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Less than Impressed!

Going to a new restaurant is always great fun, but sometimes it is nice to go to a place where you already know what to expect. That way you know the menu, you know the prices, and you can assume your experience will be as satisfactory as it was in the past. Rose Pistola, an Italian-style restaurant located in the San Francisco neighborhood North Beach, was one of the first places I dined in after moving here…almost three years ago (wow time flies!). Over the years, I have been there many times, with family and friends alike, and each time was as enjoyable as the last. My mom was coming into town for a Wallace Foundation conference, and I found no better excuse than to dine out at this old favorite.

Unfortunately, the service and the food were mediocre at best. Thankfully, we had 3 (or was it 4) bottles of wine to cushion the blow of what this place had become. The service was the first hint that our Rose Pistola experience was not going to be a good one. The waiter (lets call him Joe), a younger guy—about 30 or so, had more attitude that I think even he knew what to do with, and his indifference was blatant. Joe was less than amused by my mother’s witty banter (if you know her, you know exactly what I’m talking about), and he seemed bored while taking our order. Even when my mom asked for his wine recommendations, he was not only unhelpful, but he seemed annoyed. Our first two bottles of wine sat in the middle of the table, luckily we drank them fast or else they would have gotten very warm. And after pouring us refills from our fourth bottle, it disappeared and we were never offered its remains. Past the terrible wine etiquette, we never saw Joe again throughout the course of the meal—he never checked to see if we needed anything or made sure our meals were satisfactory. In regards to the food, two things stick out in my memory. My ($36) steak was extremely fatty and rare, which was not how I ordered it, and the peas in my boyfriends pasta Carbonara, were still frozen.

In the past however, I have had much more enjoyable experiences and much better food at Rose Pistola. Their rustic Italian style food satisfies all kinds of cravings. The menu has everything from wood-fired pizza and pasta to steak and whole roasted fish. In addition to that, Rose Pistola also has a full-bar and an extensive wine menu. Although, my most recent experience was not top-notch, I am not going to write this place off completely. Maybe Joe (our waiter) was having a bad night, and maybe I did not make it clear that I wanted my steak medium-well. Rose Pistola let me down this time, and my mom swore she would never dine there again. But lets face it, everyone is allowed to have a bad day…right?