In her blog diatribe about suffering bad service at a Los Angeles area restaurant, visiting Bon Appétit online editor Martha Simon doesn't name the place. But if you suspect it's Spago, I'm told you would be right.
Delicacy (and our Legal Department) prevent me from mentioning the name, but it's where the stars eat and meet—trust me, you've heard of it. The colleague I was dining with made the reservation under her own name—and without mentioning Bon Appétit.
Maybe that was a mistake, because based on the service we received, two anonymous women dining together don't rate the best service at this place.
EXHIBIT A: As we were being seated, the host pulled my companion's chair out and then strolled away, leaving me standing at the other side of the table. He walked two steps to some of his associates, made a comment, they laughed, he walked away.
EXHIBIT B: Staff dotted the dining room in twos and threes, chatting, but when I later returned to my seat after a trip to the ladies' room, nobody had bothered to refold my napkin.
EXHIBIT C: I told the waitress we'd like to pair glasses of wine with our individual courses. She wasn't entirely clear about the selections, so I asked (nicely) to speak with the sommelier. After about 10 minutes she returned alone to announce, "He said to have the Tempranillo with your fish."
EXHIBIT D: Our courses were beautifully presented, but my appetite flagged when a busboy went around the dining room to dust the ceiling air conditioning vents with a broom. Not one vent with an imminent danger of ooze, mind you, but all of them.
To be fair, the maitre d' did come over to ask how our meal was. But in general the air was rank with the scent of "we don't care."
Not easily dissuaded, she says she would return if in the company of "someone known to the house." Another woman emails that the encounter is too true for pairs of women dining out together at fine restaurants in town: "A girlfriend and I had similar apathetic treatment at Bastide back in the four-star days despite our bill totaling over $400."