Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Baker and Banker: Foodie with an attitude

For our third anniversary, John and I went to Baker and Banker in Pacific Heights. We live one block from the restaurant and I pass it everyday on my way home from the bus so I was super excited to try it. The restaurant is small and seats about 50 people. Its classic old school Pacific Heights, with dark wood and snooty patrons. We might have been the youngest people in the restaurant, so its not the hip and happening spot I had hoped for. Its more of a place you take your wealthy aunt and uncle from out of town.

Happily, we were seated right away. The only problem is that the two tops are all in a row on the left side of the restaurant and closely spaced together. I could have easily joined in on the conversations around us. In classic Pacific Heights fashion the table of two ladies to our right were complaining about their son's boarding schools. Oh heavens! And the table to our left were giving each other the judging eye at our lack of foodie knowledge. Our server promptly greeted us and took our drink order. She proceeded to explain the appetizer special of an Italian white truffle dish which 'the chef had procured' for a banging $40. At this point she pretty much lost John with her floral explanations of the food and I was soon to follow.

I ordered the Panko Crusted Hama Hama Oysters for an appetizer and John ordered the Braised Monterey Bay Calamari. Both were OK, even though the oysters were beautifully plated, I wasn't impressed with the flavors nor was I impressed with the calamari which reminded me more of a tomato soup with calamari than a proper appetizer. We both ordered the Housemade Pappardelle with Braised Short Ribs for our entree. The entrees were delicious but I would have rather the short ribs not be shredded but more larger solid pieces.

One aspect of the restaurant that I was disappointed in was the service. I would have liked to see the team work together rather than everyone have distinct roles in the restaurant. At one point, our appetizer plates had yet to be cleared after we had been finished for over 5 minutes. Our server came by and asked how it was, but never took our plates, the maitre d' came by and said hello but still no plates cleared. I watched as the bus boy systematically went around the restaurant as the servers and other staff did nothing to assist. I worked in the restaurant industry for many years and understand how you have your duties in the restaurant but to stick to your server role and not clear a dish is completely unacceptable to me and makes me feel like there is social stratification at work here. The staff of the restaurant should work together not in parallel or against each other. In all I give the restaurant 3 stars for being beautifully decorated and for the food. I would have given the restaurant 4 stars had the service been better.

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