Uva review - good food and space, surly service
Went to Uva two Fridays ago. Sat in the back garden, which was lovely. Ordered 6 primi and 2 desserts for the three of us. All OK-to-great, with the sardines and the truffle chisolino as standouts. Had a bottle of Lambrusco, which was fun.
Main problem was the service. Our server was brusque and downright surly. And he seemed to have no knowledge of the wines, beyond a VERY basic understanding of what type of wine. (yes, a rose is pink, but no, it is not necessarily "like a white zinfandel.") He seemed not to know the individual wines on the list at all, nor did he offer to get someone who did. (yes, we should have asked, but he was already so unfriendly...) Unacceptable in a place that bills itself as a wine bar.
The hostess, on the other hand, was perfectly lovely, and the owner (I think) was charming.
Will try it once again, to see if it was an off-night, but they only get one more chance.
Full review on my blog below.
We ate at Uva Satuday night, sat in the back garden, and found the food, wine and service to be generally very good. Only one complaint ... and it's a big one in my book ...
A server came up to our table towards the end and grabbed away my wine glass before I'd finished the last sip. I immediately protested, said "excuse me!" and tried to get his attention, but he kept on walking. I don't think they were trying to hurry us out of there, because it was early and more than half the tables were empty. Also, we were still eating, and my companion still had wine in his glass (lucky him -- he was allowed to finish it!). I think the guy was just clueless.
To Uva's credit, a couple other servers noticed right away that I was unhappy and asked what was wrong. They appologized for their colleague and brought me another glass with another "sip" in it. It was not the same wine of course (we'd had a bottle), and not nearly as good, but at least they tried ...
Went to Uva for the first time this week, and I'm never going back. They seated four of us at a table for two (all the four-tops were that tiny), and we spent the rest of the evening asking them to remove the bread, the oil, the candle, the dirty plates - anything to get a little space on the table top. Our table was crammed so close to the table next to ours, one of my dining companions couldn't fully pull her chair up to the table because someone at the next table was leaning back instead of forward. The food was very, very good. However, the prices were outrageous for what it was. My $20 shrimp entree came with five medium shrimp, some roasted red peppers in the middle of the plate, and four small dollops of pesto sauce around the rim. That's it. No garnish, no salad, no side dish, no nothing. A small side salad of spinach and mushrooms was $10, and they expected my table mate and me to share one small dish of dressing, when we had each asked for dressing on the side. The din was unbearable - we couldn't hear ourselves think, much less carry on a conversation. And the final bill, with one bottle of wine, no coffee and no dessert, was $50 per person.
I've been in many restaurants where the tables were crammed together, but those were all inexpensive places, where the owner was trying to make money on volume. The only philosophy I could discern from what was going on at Uva is that the owners are a very greedy bunch.
We're assuming everyone who waited on us was pleasant - we couldn't hear a word they said. And as for skill, well, any time a waiter comes to the table and asks. "Who gets the chicken?" and "Who gets the shrimp?", there's a serious lack of training there. Okay, off my soapbox now.
I've noticed that the servers working inside tend to know more about wine than those working outside. Perhaps the restaurant thinks that those dining/drinking outside are there merely for the ambiance. Nevertheless, I've always liked Uva. Its a nice place to linger over a well-priced glass of wine and a few bites.
re: wild child
I'd give it another try, I've been a few times, once in the back and once I sat out front, and the service I thought was friendly and knowlegable...maybe you hit someone on an off night? I would say however that the service when I sat in front was better than in the garden, but I don't know if that had to do with location or the particular waiter I had...