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Cavaillon tasting menu??

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Ela0427 Apr 14, 2008 11:35 AM

I may be wrong but I seem to recall a tasting menu that someone mentioned at Cavaillon in Santaluz...am I wrong??
Our wedding anniversary is on the 27th and I want a good French place in the north county area...been to Tapenade already and El Bizcocho and Le Passage. Why French...we went there for 2 weeks last year for the anniversary and it would bring back good memories.
Foie gras on the menu is a must!!!
Any other suggestions????

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  1. honkman RE: Ela0427 Apr 14, 2008 12:36 PM

    You can call Cavaillon and they will make you a 5-6 course tasting. We just had dinner last Saturday and dicussed this with them. But after Saturday I am not sure when we will be bakc at Cavaillon. Very good food but unbelievable bad service. This will be the first time we will write a restaurant an email/letter.

    For French inspired food I would go to Better Half. If you call one day ahead they will make you an outstanding tasting menu (but it is not available on Friday and Saturday). But ordering a la carte is also very good. For us it is much better than Tapenade or Le Passage.

    14 Replies
    1. re: honkman
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      DougOLis RE: honkman Apr 14, 2008 12:54 PM

      That's disappointing. I've always had excellent service at Cavaillon, but I've only been mid-week when it was pretty empty.

      1. re: honkman
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        RB Hound RE: honkman Apr 14, 2008 03:38 PM

        "Very good food but unbelievable bad service. This will be the first time we will write a restaurant an email/letter."

        Care to share details, or are you focusing on the letter first? I had this place on a short list of nice emails for my mother-in-law and wife, but if service is going to be an issue, I might keep them on the coast where at least they have a view if nothing else. Service very much trumps food (after a certain level) in their book. :)

        1. re: RB Hound
          honkman RE: RB Hound Apr 14, 2008 05:10 PM

          Overall it wasn’t just one incident which was bad but more the whole attitude/behaviour during the whole dinner.
          And just let me say before that even though I started disucssions on this board about bad serivce in SD we normally never complain and are more than willing to “forget” bad service as long it is not too rude. I won’t describe everything in detail and so some of the the details might sound like we are very picky and start easily to complain but it was really the complete evening altogether which was very disappointing regarding the service.
          It already started when we entered the restaurant. We both are not that young but often are the youngest in more upscale restaurants and in addition people estimate us often as much younger than we are and at the same time we both hate to dress south cal style (flip flops etc.) but like to dress very good. With this combination (young and dressed good) the first thing the waiter did was to take a very long look up and down us both and you could clearly see that he was wondering why we are in his upscale restaurant where for his opinion we don’t fit because we are way too young (but try to dress like we would hope to fit in an upscale restaurants) to understand good food and the next McD is across the street. He gave us then the choice between a table outside (but we didn’t want to sit outside) or a crappy table directly next to the kitchen door which was the only available inside accoring to him. We later found out that there were other better tables around one corner which we hadn’t seen when we came in the restaurant. We didn’t want to drive to another restaurant without reservation and so we decided to take the table. Within seconds the waiter came to our table and brought us the menu and started telling about the specials. When he talked about the specials he looked not even at us but towards other tables and even said something to somebody else between two specials. At the same time he thought that we don’t know anything about food so that he had to explain things like that thyme is a spice and other thing. He treated us like small kids who have never eaten something else like burgers before. We decided on that day not to drink any wine and when we told him he made it clear with his reaction that he didn’t expected us to order any wine because we don’t know anything about wine.
          One thing which is always important for us is that you should never feel rushed in a restaurant but with Cavaillon we set a new record. They brought us the appetizers and entrees so fast (and we ate very slowly) that we were done with both of them after 35-40 minutes (We have visited many, many good restaurants over the years and we have never been done with appetizer and entrees before 60-70 minutes and often much longer). It was very clear that the waiter wanted us just out as soon as possible (and the restaurant had still empty tables and it wasn’t so late that they wanted to close soon). When he brought the dessert menu immediately after we finished the entrees we wanted to have some time to relax before ordering the dessert but he didn’t care and gave us the menu and wanted to take the order after a few minutes.
          These are just some of the examples of the attitude (and by far not all of them) we experienced this weekend but I think it is very clearly that they have a major issue with the service.

          1. re: honkman
            honkman RE: honkman Apr 14, 2008 05:29 PM

            And just to add: All of that is even more disappointing because the food is excellent and it would be sad to see one more restaurant with very good food going down because of lousy service.

            1. re: honkman
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              mikec RE: honkman Apr 14, 2008 05:29 PM

              I know the waiter you got and understand perfectly. Both Philippe and Francois have been told about this more than once. When this waiter comes towards my table, I just go: go get Francois. It can be a pain on a busy night, though.

              1. re: mikec
                honkman RE: mikec Apr 14, 2008 05:31 PM

                It wasn't even a very busy night when we entered the restaurant.

                1. re: honkman
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                  mikec RE: honkman Apr 14, 2008 05:50 PM

                  I meant that appealing to Francois could take some time on a busy night. Not that it has any effect on this particular waiter. In fact, I think he's worse when it's slow.

                  1. re: mikec
                    DiningDiva RE: mikec Apr 17, 2008 02:14 PM

                    This may be a stupid question, but if owners/management know about the behavior and attitude of one particular waiter, why is he still working at the restaurant? By continuing to employee him, it would seem to me that they are condoning his behavior.

                    As a customer of any service, condescending, demeaning attitudes don't make me want to return to the business any time soon no matter how good the product.

                    1. re: DiningDiva
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                      mikec RE: DiningDiva Apr 17, 2008 05:00 PM

                      Can't argue with you. I don't understand it either.

                      1. re: mikec
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                        RB Hound RE: mikec Apr 18, 2008 12:53 PM

                        "Can't argue with you. I don't understand it either."

                        The best explanation of this sort of thing is "relative, in-law, or good friend of owner".

                        I like the way people walk on eggshells concerning negative reports of service. Why not come right out and say the name of the waiter who obviously has given more than one reader here bad service? :)

                  2. re: honkman
                    Captain Jack RE: honkman Apr 14, 2008 10:06 PM

                    You are a Prof at UCSD, how young could you look?

                    1. re: Captain Jack
                      honkman RE: Captain Jack Apr 14, 2008 11:20 PM

                      I have to disappoint you but I am not a professor at UCSD

                2. re: honkman
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                  daantaat RE: honkman Apr 14, 2008 09:10 PM

                  honkman, eeew--sorry to hear you got bad service. The only wait person I know is Francois and he's been good to us when we've gone. I think he and Phillipe would like to hear your thoughts and hopefully, they'll put things in the right direction.

              2. re: honkman
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                PGB RE: honkman Apr 15, 2008 10:44 PM

                Better Half is a great recommendation. We went a few weeks ago and were delighted by the quality of the food and the service. We'll go back.

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                DougOLis RE: Ela0427 Apr 14, 2008 12:53 PM

                Cavaillon has a prix fixe menu on Mondays for like $32 and they had a Truffle Tasting menu during truffle season. I'm not sure if I've ever seen foie gras on the menu but I'm sure you can request it and they would probably be happy to put together a menu for you.

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                  Ela0427 RE: Ela0427 Apr 15, 2008 05:16 PM

                  We will be going on a Saturday night and if the food is great and IF I go expecting OK service than maybe we would be fine.
                  I am 9 mo pregnant and we would go 4 days before the due date so maybe we will not even make it until then.
                  Any other suggestions??? Mille Fleurs???

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Ela0427
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                    mikec RE: Ela0427 Apr 15, 2008 05:58 PM

                    My suggestion is to 1) call ahead to set up a menu, e.g. say you want a "mercy of the chef five courses" for two people for $60 or $70 each and that you especially want Foie, 2) when you get there, schmooze up Francois (the Maitre'd, in charge of the front of the house) if it's possible, at least remind him of your prior arrangement. Then, if you run into a service problem (which you shouldn't have for a previously arranged menu), ask for Francois. Don't take attitude from anyone. If you get it, ask for Francois. Honestly, save for that one problematic waiter, all the other servers have been more than gracious.

                    If you're into wine, their wine list/glasses aren't that great. I bring wine ($20 corkage) and my own glasses usually. Unfortunately, Philippe isn't into wine at all (strange for a chef), so their wine service suffers from it.

                    1. re: mikec
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                      DougOLis RE: mikec Apr 15, 2008 09:48 PM

                      Excellent suggestions, but I'm guessing she won't be drinking wine at 9 months pregnant.

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                    Ela0427 RE: Ela0427 Apr 16, 2008 09:33 AM

                    Thank you for the suggestions everyone... I am up for a glass of wine but not much beyond that right now. I will call and see what they can do for us. I have to explain that I will miss the reservation if I go into labor early....hopefully not because I would love a nice meal before the baby... it will be a little while before we can go out without kids.

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                      Willmerson RE: Ela0427 Apr 17, 2008 01:50 PM

                      Why not Try Addison. For the money, you will not get better French food with great service and an incredible wine list in southern California.

                      1. Sampaguita RE: Ela0427 Apr 17, 2008 09:52 PM

                        Our family has dined there on a Saturday around 5:30pm or 6:30pm to catch the sunset and hot air ballooons hovering over Santaluz - and to beat the crowd - which doesn't seem to be a problem around that time. When we call for a reservation, we've learned to request "Virginie" or "Lynne" and have never been disappointed. We've dined at Tapenade when this particular Chef was there and we've followed him over to Cavaillon because his cooking is 1st rate. We don't have to pay for parking, corkage fee is minimal and their sangria is delightful.
                        Happy Anniversary!!! (Thanks PGB for the Better Half recommendation! We'll have to try that, although I think that restaurant isn't in North County but in Hillcrest.)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Sampaguita
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                          nutrition RE: Sampaguita Apr 22, 2008 03:09 AM

                          I have had wonderful dinners there many times, almost weekly, but never on a weekend by choice to avoid the busy time of the week. The service has ALWAYS been great like the food. There is a waiter that only serves on weekends, so we have missed crossing paths.
                          I would caution the unhappy reviewer to be careful not to read to much meaning into what was going on for the bad service without discussing it. Almost sounds like mind reading or just simply projecting one's own thoughts, which made for a long critic.

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                          foodlover3 RE: Ela0427 Apr 22, 2008 01:58 PM

                          I would recommend also the better half. I'm not sure if they still have the foie gras on the menu, but if you call ahead of time, the chef can make it for you. Cavaillon is also a evry good choice. I have never been at Tapneade for dinner, but I was disapointed with the lunch. I ordered a steak with green peppercorn sauce and I got a different sauce (at least it was not the peppercorn sauce I'm used to!). I have heard good things about the blue boeheme in Kensington, I haven't checked it yet!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: foodlover3
                            DiningDiva RE: foodlover3 Apr 22, 2008 02:06 PM

                            The Better Half will do foie on 48 hours notice. I had it about a month ago. Chef did it in a salad which I thought was a bit to acidic and slightly overdressed. My dining companion agreed it was a bit to acidic but didn't think it was overdressed. Foie will be on the summer menu.

                            There is a fairly new chef (last 4 months) now at Blue Boeheme who seems to be smoothing out some of the previous problems.

                            1. re: foodlover3
                              honkman RE: foodlover3 Apr 22, 2008 05:28 PM

                              I also highly recommend the tasting menu at Better Half. You have to call one day ahead and it can't be done on a Friday or Saturday. We recently had it and it was very, very good.

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