Great Food, Grating Service: Grand Café, Hotel Monaco, San Francisco

It’s a shame, actually. The enormous main dining room at the French-California brasserie of the Grand Café was elegantly decorated. Its 30-foot-high ceilings and 20th century Parisian atmosphere were breathtaking. The holiday crowd was in a festive mood. The open kitchen was bustling. The food was delicious — from the chilled Lemon Drop cocktail to the butter lettuce salad with sliced apples and blue cheese, and from the fresh Maine Lobster to the New York Steak with steak frites.

But the service was, in a word, atrocious. Which is shocking at a Kimpton Hotels property.

Waiting 50 minutes between ordering and receiving our entrees — even though we’d told the waiter twice that we had to leave by 7:45 and twice asked about the status of our entrees — tainted the whole evening.

And that’s the shameful thing about a night that was a combination birthday dinner for my wife and pre-theatre meal for her, our daughter and me prior to a positively inspiring production of the Tony-award winning “Jersey Boys” musical a block away at the Curran Theatre.

We were told by a manager that the service was uncharacteristically slow due to a “mix up in the pecking order in the kitchen.” That’s why we had to wolf down our food and didn’t have time for dessert.

What a shame.

Grand Café, Hotel Monaco
A: 501 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.
T: 415.292.0101.

Posted by Gil Zeimer on December 30, 2006 in Food

Comments (3)

  1. Lanny Udell
    Lanny Udell says:

    Amazing! I had a similar experience there years ago. We were a party of 5 and had slow, inattentive service.
    Upon returning to her home in San Diego, my friend wrote a letter to the manager describing our experience and she received an apologetic letter along with a certificate for a free dinner which she and I availed ourselves of on her next visit to San Francisco.

  2. Gil Zeimer
    Gil Zeimer says:

    My wife’s been dining at the Grand Cafe for years and never had a bad experience. I’ve been there a few other times, too, and always had great service.

    But this night was just a perfect storm of slow service, poor follow-up with the kitchen, and a lack of communication between the waiter and the manager. They did discount our meal, but we were so rushed after the lenghy delay, that we couldn’t really enjoy it. Nor did we have time for dessert of rmy wife’s bday.

    Anyway, glad to hear your friend got a certificate. They do try to fix their problems and Kimpton is to be praised for that.

    Cheers and Happy New Year!

  3. Ed Bob Billy Buck
    Ed Bob Billy Buck says:

    Ordering the Grits Flambe’ usually takes 35 minutes to prepare. I find that calling ahead and requesting the chef d’ bubbe’ to start preparing your Flambe’ helps time your departure when you have an important event to sneak into. Cheers y’all.

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