Left Bank - San Mateo - don't go :( (rant)
Well, I've calmed down a little. In a moment of weakness decided to give this place a chance. Menu looked pretty uninteresting so went to bar for "happy hour" specials eg a few selections at low price that were tiny servings.
Regular oysters from menu - fine, fresh. "Happy Hour specials" Fried calamari - a bit soggy but okay, charcuterie - pate tasted like perfume! - other items okay, frites - not served hot.
So.... a mediocre meal - why am I saying don't go - well the service was the WORST - I arrived and was the only one to need service. Neither waiter nor bar tender wanted to pay any attention - okay - eventually ordered and tried to order wine - their "selection" of burgundy was "we don't have any" - this took 5 minutes b/c I asked what it was and it took that long to get an answer. My question about another wine (very tannic?) had to be asked by waiter of bartender (b/c he didn't know "anything" about the wines) - okay if he didn't know but it took another 5 minutes - and I got an answer only by walking to the bar (where said waiter and bt were conversing - don't know about what), so I ordered the bottle.
Food comes - without dish or utensils (which I get myself from another table). Waiter comes with a taste of wine "sorry we're out of the one you ordered" - wasn't told what I was offered and when I asked the bartender it was double the cost of my original order. At this point I was just disgusted and wanted to eat and leave. 30 minutes later no one had come by to see if I needed anything or wanted to order anything else.
I swear, I was dressed neatly, don't smell, etc. and it wasn't at all busy (in fact I was the only one needing service in the area for the first 15 minutes I was there)". So on my way out I politely asked to speak to the manager... well now I know why the service is the way it is. The manager was condescending bordering on rude - sigh! So if you want to be neglected, given food without utensils, have most of the items of the wine list not available and get your wine after you are finished eating - please visit. Otherwise you might want to reconsider.
We no longer go to the San Mateo branch because of these types of problems and this is the location closest to us. Have had much better experiences at both Menlo Park and Pleasant Hill. It's a shame because there is no other French restaurant anywhere near San Mateo, the ones in Burlingame having long been gone.
There's a sort-of ongoing thread about this Left Bank outpost here:
I anchored this link to my June 2007 entry -- which is in the same vein as yours -- because the thread had been fallow since 2003. I read your writeup and now I'm mad all over again!
I have eaten at that Left Bank a number of times (6?) without serious problem. The service is a little slow and salty, but it almost borders on french, so I can forgive them a little. Perhaps they think it's atmospheric. And, one has to remember it's a chain in a development on the grounds of a converted horse yard, not Boulevard.
The bar there is schizophrenic. By the looks of it, it would be a rather good bar. They even have an absinthe fountain. Yet the drinks are poorly mixed, so I suspect they just don't do enough bar business to hire and retain good bartenders.
On a better note, has anyone tried that Mediterranean/Arabic deli near the freeway onramp? I saw a guy grilling skewers by the side of the road there one day, the smell almost made me stop my car (I was coming back from lunch, otherwise....)