Sunday, January 16, 2011

Restaurant and Wine Review

I went to Mochica Peruvian Restaurant on Harrison St. in San Francisco last week because I am a member of and bought a gift certificate for $25 worth $50.  What a great way to explore restaurants that sound interesting.  We had a variety of authentic Peruvian tapas with some great wines. What stood out the most was a great atmosphere, great presentation and great service.  Don't miss the Costillita de Chancho ($12), pork spareribs glazed with the chef's BBQ sauce. With the tapas (small plates), we started with an Albarinofrom Rias Baixas, Spain, Laxas 2009 ($34).  It was delicious, tangy with balanced acids which paired well with the Pulpito a la Parilla ($12), grilled baby octopus a la parilla with mashed potato and chimichurri.  For an entree, I loved the Churrasco a la Parilla ($21) which is Natural feed NY steak with yucca fries.  The yucca fries are to die for.  We paired that with a Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina from Bautista Simona 2008 ($30).  It was full-bodied, nice fruit and a silky tannin finish.  It was the most full-bodied Malbec I ever tasted.  Overall, it is a great place to hang out, for parties and for an adventure.  The wine list is selected by Chef/Owner Carlos Altamirano "with his food as a guide".  Que Rico!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lack of Service Knowledge

I had the opportunity to go out to many restaurants in SF Bay Area for the holidays.  What was really apparent was the lack of knowledge that the service personnel had.  Some, so young to as not even know some of the old historical drinks.  Is that an excuse?  No.  If you want to be a professional Server, then why don't they study for it?  After all, it only makes sense for the restaurant owner to provide training and/or employ persons that have the enthusiasm to pursue a professional career in the hospitality industry.  Otherwise, forget it.  Without that, the restaurant is losing money.  A server should be aware of upselling.
I was in a major hotel restaurant in San Francisco, and the server didn't even know what a gimlet was.  Instead of saying "I'll find out" he said "oh that must be a new drink?  And, I'm talking very nice hotel, SF MOMA restaurant.  I was like, what?  You need to get the Service and Sales for the Wine Professional book and read it.  Wow!

It's pathetic how the wine sommelier has gone by the wayside in this economy.  If you are in hospitality and you don't know what your client is asking you, please say "I will find out for you" instead of saying something stupid.  I would really appreciate it!