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Sep 5, 2006 03:06 AM

Bouchon Lunch and the Invisible Diners

After many tries, I took my 18 year old daughter for lunch to Bouchon in Yountville on Saturday.
She's a very picky eater, but found a few simple things she liked the look of on the menu and the wait wasn't bad at 20 minutes.
We gave the hostess our cell number and were called promptly to a nice little table in a corner with two windows. As we had been told the outside tables were reserved, this seemed like a very good alternative.
About 10 minutes went by before the waiter wandered over (it was about 2:30 at this point and not tremendously crowded) and asked which bottled water we preferred. We asked for iced tap and that was the end of him for another half hour.
Through out the meal we had to flag the waiter or a bus boy for each and every thing- water, salt, more water, our soup bowls removed after our mains had been brought. Although the food was very good quite honestly, it began to get funny. The fly that buzzed incessantly over my dughter's head all through the meal added to the ambiance!
When bus boy number one didn't come back after we asked to take the remainder of our lunches home we flagged down bus boy number two, who two piled our plates one on top of the next along with the butter and miscellaneous cutlery. The boxes came back covered in food, as though filled with his hands.
People seated at the tables around us came and left.
It was a train wreck!

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  1. Although I've never been there on a Saturday, I've had numerous excellent meals there. Service was ok (just ok once). If you're lucky, there is an tall older waiter that is a real pro, and he works weekday lunches.

    By the way, the blood sausage is great--it's made by Marcel et Henri in South City.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hankstramm

      Don't be ridiculous!! If I go to a chain restaurant and happen to get a bad server, I feel I've been unlucky. If I go to a "top shelf" place, or any place that has the chutzpah to charge me ninety bucks for lunch, I automatically expect a decent server, hands down, no questions asked, and not just if I'm lucky.

      By the way, who ya' pickin' for the Super Bowl?

    2. I would give it another try. Please keep in mind you were there at the busiest day of the busiest weekend. Labor Day in wine country is beyond insane and your report is hardly surprising; it is like going to the best Chinese restaurant in Chinatown on Chinese New Year or going to the hottest French bistro on Bastille Day or your favorite sports bar on Superbowl Sunday. Insanity all around.

      1. your only as good as your busiest day. No excuse.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sfsand

          Well, yes, except they didn't appear to be chaotic!
          The tables that surrounded us, that were also attended by our waiter, were obviously receiving far more prompt service.
          Our check was $90.00 with one glass of wine for lunch. The service was appalling and ,somehow, strangely obsequious all at once (this may have just been our waiter's personality).

          1. re: Oakland Barb

            "The service was appalling and ,somehow, strangely obsequious all at once"

            Sounds like the waiter was saying "I know I allowed you to spend a lot of money for a poorly served lunch and ruined your chance to have some wonderful memories with your daughter for many years, but like me enought to leave a big fat tip, anyway."

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. It sounds to me like a lot of people who like this place are offering BS excuses. The OP said up front "it was about 2:30 at this point and not tremendously crowded" so the busy week-end story doesn't hold water. I hate to sound "politically correct" when I know I'm not, but it sounds to me like a mother and daughter table looked like a looser to the wait staff.