Epic Roasthouse for lunch - the standard for customer service
I know there have been posts about Epic, but this TR goes beyond just an analysis of the food, decor, view, service, etc., so I decided a separate post was in order. I went to Epic yesterday (4/17/08) for lunch with a co-worker and one of my vendors. Though the outside and interior design are actually somewhat underwhelming IMO, the view of the water, Treasure Island and Bay Bridge more than make up for it.
I had actually arrived late due to being stuck in a client meeting that lasted much longer than expected, so my lunch companions had already ordered and tucked into an order of raw oysters. They were kind enough to have left me 4 (I didn't bother to ask anyone of their provenance), and was satisfied that they were fresh and tasty. The task of choosing the wine was left to me. After confirming we were all planning to have meat, I spent some time plowing through a number of pages of red wine choices. A couple things struck me. One was that markups were pretty reasonable and definitely would be at the low end of the range for steakhouse markups. The other was that the sommelier/wine captain had done a credible job of making sure there were choices beyond the atypical stalwarts you'd find at any upper scale steakhouse (Silver Oak, Jordan, Opus One, Duckhorn, etc.). I was elated to see the 2004 Ghost Block cab on the wine list @ $150, which is a very reasonable markup for a wine that has all but disappeared from retailers' stock. My lunch companions, one of whom is definitely an oenophile like myself and the other just really likes red wine, both agreed that it was a tremendous vintage and were disappointed to hear it was sold out everywhere.
Interestingly, all 3 of us decided to order the 10 oz. prime rib ($33; 14 oz. portion is $42). We ordered the sides of broccolini, spinach and mac & cheese to share (either $8 or $9 apiece, I forget which one was the correct price). The PR arrived with a tiny tureen of creamy horseradish sauce. All of us tucked in to the PR, and all of us agreed that it was some of the best, well seasoned PR that any of us had ever had (and all of us at the table are definite carnivores). Also, all of us agreed that our meat was cooked well beyond what we had ordered (rare and two medium-rare). When our server came over to pleasantly inquire how everything was, we said that the PR tasted great, but was definitely a couple stages of doneness beyond what we'd requested. She took a quick look at one of the plates, and immediately agreed. She said she was more than happy to take these away and get us PR to our specs with about a 5 minute wait. We looked at each other and told her that we were actually fine with the PR as-is, and not just b/c we were hungry. It was that good, and even with the PR being more medium-well in doneness, it was still tender. I didn't even bother with more than a cursory taste of the horseradish sauce that came with it.
As for the sides, the m&c was forgettable, the spinach was OK but not memorable, but the broccolini was sublime and is a must order.
Before we had finished our PR, our server returned to announce to us that she had removed the charge for our PR from the bill. We were taken aback at this level of customer service, and thanked her profusely. She was wise to us and had brought the wine list with her, and asked if we'd like to order another bottle of the Ghost Block. I decided we should try something different and went with the 2004 Spottswoode Lyndenhurst, which at $103 was less than a 100% markup from retail. It too was a solid cab, but not as powerful and robust as the Ghost Block.
We finished our mains, and skipped dessert while we finished our second bottle. A gentleman came over and introduced himself as the manager, and apologized profusely for the overdoneness of our prime rib. We thanked him and acknowledged that it was still very tasty, and that Epic had guaranteed at least 3 customers for life with their willingness to more than correct this issue to our satisfaction.
Overall, it was a very pleasurable meal, cost notwithstanding, and I'll certainly be back for lunch and dinner when I'd like to eat and drink well.