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Lower the Flag at Bandera's (Sac)

d
Doc Nov 30, 2004 02:49 PM

Wow, what an attitude! Couple of friends and I stopped in at Bandera’s at Howe and Fair Oaks on Sunday evening after a movie, hoping to get a small meal and some good conversation. There were plenty of open tables, as it was later in the evening and the dinner crowd had cleared out. We were informed by multiple short, snooty hostesses that the tables were only for eating full dinners but we were welcome to sit at the bar if we only wanted drinks and appetizers or small meals. (These seats were lined up in a row, hardly comfortable for discussing “Kinsey” with friends!) My East-Coast buddy of course copped the same snotty attitude, but was met by these vapid Barbie’s. We should have cut through the hair gel and spoke with the manager, but decided to try a table and see how little we could get away with ordering. Still plenty of tables empty in the restaurant, and now here is yet another blonde hovering over our table, trying to get us to order more food and stopping by every few minutes, preventing very long or interesting movie discussion.

For the food; the cheese cornbread was soft and tasty in the middle, but the crusty topping appeared to be poorly mixed as there were lumps of very salty dry corn meal mix underneath the melted cheese. After much consternation and “well, it looks like you ate a lot of it already, it must not have been that bad”, (there was over 3/4 of the dish left!) the server begrudgingly asked the manager to give us credit for the dish, which we gratefully received. I barely got away with ordering only 2 appetizers for the meal, just had orthodontic work adjusted and can hardly chew air, but had to share my sad story with the server to get her to believe that I could really not eat anything but soup (which Bandera’s does not serve). The jalapeno cheese and chips and mashed potatoes were plenty for a small meal, and actually not that bad food-wise; warm and filling. Friend’s dish of broiled chicken was also tasty, although the rice side dish served with it was extremely spicy (inedible for her), and she had requested all-white meat for an extra charge but received the standard half-chicken. Again had to beg the server to talk to the manager to get what she paid for. East-Coast Eddie enjoyed the large bowl of salad, with broiled chicken, dates, heirloom tomatoes and occasional bits of jalapeno that brought tears to his eyes.

Overall, we were happy with the food and appearance of the restaurant, but the attitude of the staff was just ridiculous. I am not sure if they are trying to appeal to the well-dressed crowd and perhaps develop an upscale reputation, but the basic tenets of restaurant business should be kept in mind: they are a service industry.

  1. n
    nja Nov 30, 2004 03:01 PM

    Wow. That reminds me of a similar post that was on the L.A. board for a while, but for some reason was deleted by the moderators. Similar story with the hostess: rigid enforcement of corporate policy that in that case resulted in a cancer-stricken old woman having to sit on the floor while waiting for a table instead of at one of the numerous free chairs. There's something really wrong with that place.

    -Nick

    2 Replies
    1. re: nja
      n
      nja Nov 30, 2004 03:08 PM

      To be clear: the story was about a Bandera's location in L.A.

      1. re: nja
        d
        Doc Nov 30, 2004 03:22 PM

        Well, this one will probably get pulled also. I did some investigation, and Bandera's is actually a chain of restaurants. Not at all appropriate for discussion on our beloved Chowhound board. (too Foodie and not enough Chowish!) Moderator, remove as needed.

        Guess I don't get out much beyond the local dives, like La Favorita #2! Thanks for the comments Nick, and the lengue, carnitas and chorizo tacos!

      2. p
        Peter Nov 30, 2004 05:07 PM

        What does the height and hair color of the hostess(es) has to do with this?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Peter
          d
          Doc Nov 30, 2004 05:30 PM

          Sorry to offend anyone, but it was an uncanny experience: every hostess and server was petite and blonde, in varying shades. Just disconcerting, like Stepford waitresses.

        2. mstinawu Jul 27, 2006 06:59 PM

          I've been to the one in LA and the one in Corna Del Mar. I like the service/food at the Corona Del Mar one better.

          1. r
            Roberto Jul 28, 2006 11:47 PM

            Geez, now I see this post was Nov. 2004. What's up with that?

            Roberto

            1. k
              KatMom Jul 29, 2006 06:28 AM

              I guess this must have come up on a search. Back then we didn't have the Chains board. I have been to this restaurant, and then attended dinner at Houston's (same chain, different name) in Ft. Lauderdale. I love to ask the waitress for an extra napkin, it is almost like a scene out of Austin Power's where the beautiful women's head explodes, it takes them a while to figure this out, as they don't have access to just the linen napkins and have to resort to bringing out a stack of linen/silverware rolls to the table.

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