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Jul 31, 2008 11:19 AM

Jasmine Bistro in Brighton odd experience

Some of our food was quite good -- I got beef stroganoff. I liked it even though I was surprised it was served with rice, not noodles. But the service was really nuts. The chef/owner (perhaps the owner, not sure) has a personality problem. We had one or two waiters, too, but someone who acted like he owned the place kept coming to our table, acting like the boss. We asked him for a list of wines. He was very evasive, and claimed there was no printed list. OK, what do you have by the glass? Again, evasive (I think he wanted to sell us a bottle). OK, what red wines do you have by the bottle? He leaves, and brings one red to our table, praising it. OK, how much? He says, $70.00. We say, we're not paying that, what do you have that is less? He immediately offers to sell the SAME bottle to us for something like $45.00. At this point, I was horrified to realize that he thought it would be fun to bargain and that we would never get a straight answer. We were there with our son and wanted to stay calm, and not go off in a huff. But we will never, never, never go back, despite the interesting menu. In fact, I would like to find out the name of every restaurant owned by the same owner, to make sure I never go there either.

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  1. That's just bizarre. I'd expect such behavior in eastern Europe - in fact it's something you learn to watch for, bottles coming out without prices - but not in Boston.

    I've read that the owner is Hungarian, perhaps he just hasn't learned yet that those mores don't apply here?

    4 Replies
    1. re: BobB

      No, the cuisine is Hungarian (among other things) but the owner is from Baluchistan.

      Older reviews on this board attest to a printed wine list - I still haven't managed to get over there myself, so I can't say first-hand. I sure can't blame Lucymax for being put off by the experience, though!

      1. re: Allstonian

        They do have a wine list, but the owner does have a habit of suggesting bottles when you ask for it. But I have never had him suggest anything more than $38-45, in fact once we had to request the list to order a more expensive wine. I just took it to be his way of dealing with a lot of repeat customers "people from the neighborhood" who were used to trusting them to make suggestions (which seems pretty par for the course from other patrons there).

        1. re: Allstonian

          Baluchistan? sounds like something from Fawlty Towers!

      2. I am actually rather amused by your post - sorry. Sounds hilarious, makes me think about how you could have turned around and started bargaining on the food items too.
        "Give me a goulash, a stroganoff and a bottle of Reisling for $50?"

        1. Strange. You sure it wasn't Ernie Boch in disguise? ;-D

          1. I've never had an experience like that at Jasmine Bistro; they have a wine list, albeit a pretty short one. I remember one bottle I just love there, an Egri Bikaver “Bull’s Blood”, a Hungarian red that's like a budget Bordeaux (under $30).

            I would be offended by the behavior you describe, though. I don't expect to haggle over wine at a restaurant.