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Bad experience at Rose Pistola [San Francisco]

My elderly mother chose Rose Pistola for her birthday lunch on February 15. She loves the place and always gets the mussels in the iron skillet. When they were served, they didn't come with the usual utensils including a seafood fork and something to get them to her plate. When she asked our waiter (a very sour and unhelpful person generally) for some utensils, he told her that the mussels were never served with any utensils. When she said that they always were, he argued with her about it. He finally, very grudgingly got her a soup spoon to use to serve them. What a jerk! I should have asked to see the manager about it, but I didn't. I'm not saying the customer is always right, but would it have killed this waiter to get her the proper serving utensils??? This experience left a bad taste in my mouth, and we will probably not return to RP again.

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  1. Small, family owned and operated places are generally much better at customer relations, in my experience.

    1 Reply
    1. re: GH1618

      Not in my experience. The staff is often not trained to greet under a set time limit, suggestive sell, or check back on the meal in a timely manner. Unfortunately these skills don't always come naturally and must be trained.

    2. Perhaps the waiter was accustomed to diners using an empty mussel shell like tweezers or tongs to eat mussels

      1 Reply
      1. re: Alan408

        That's possible, but I still think there's no excuse for having a hostile exchange with a polite customer. I think this guy is in the wrong line of work!

      2. At a big place like that it's best to talk with a manager if you get a bad server.

        We were eating at the counter one time and one cook was bullying another. The chef came over and just pulled the psycho off the line in the middle of service.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          My husband (who wasn't there) said the same thing.

        2. He sounds like a jerk. Hope your mom ended up having a good day otherwise!

          1. I would write a short note or email to the manager. It's been my experience that when a customer has a valid complaint, as you do, management wants to know and correct it. Some even offer an inducement to return in the form of a free drink, meal or such.

            1. How was the food? I haven't been there in many years.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                It was just ok. I had the brunch egg pizza which was fine. I did notice that the portion of mussels that my mother had was smaller than I remember. All in all, considering how many other wonderful restaurants we have, I wouldn't bother going back.

              2. To be honest, I thought the place had fallen apart and gained a bad reputation for service, and even food quality, a long time ago.

                I've found when a longtime favorite suddenly changes something for the worse, that complaining to a manager or owner, doesn't always turn out as hoped. It's possible they're part of the problem.

                1. When I was there for a late lunch, I asked for some olive oil to dip my focaccia in. The waiter (sounds like the same asshole) told me no, with a sneer, because focaccia is already made with plenty of olive oil!

                  He continued to provide bad, rude service with a sneer.

                  I wrote a bad yelp review and got a note recently from the owner saying they'd fired some waitstaff and she hoped this guy was one of them. I hope so too.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: davidg1

                    Wow, I wonder if you'd asked for some water, he'd have pointed out "There is water in the focaccia."

                    I recall once pointing out the olive oil dip was rancid and having it replaced with say 20% less rancid OO.

                    1. re: davidg1

                      Was this an older fellow? Reminds me of an older waiter at Cafe Delle Stelle around 2006 who flipped out on me and my friends because two out of the four of us showed up mid-meal and ordered very little (we had already eaten and didn't realize our friends were getting a full dinner, and being in our early 20s did not know that the place was more formal than a cafe, despite its name). Was admittedly kind of a faux pas on our part, but the way the guy reacted was totally disproportional to the offense - he threw us out while screaming at us something like "this is not some cafe, you can't just show up." The impression he left was that because we didn't conform to his European sensibilities of proper dining, he was perfectly justified in going into full freakout mode on us. It was bad enough that even the busboy turned to me on our way out and mentioned that he was going to speak to the manager/owner about the incident.

                      1. re: bigwheel042

                        Yes, he was older with grey hair, a slight accent, and a permanent sneer. Even more surprising because, every time we've gone in the past, the servers have been very friendly and helpful.

                      2. re: davidg1

                        At least you got some focaccia. I realized that he brought us plain sliced sourdough instead (that's never happened before), but I was too busy being the hostess and didn't mention it!. What a wimp!