As usual, the two hotties were running late, so Matt and I gave temporary relief to our rumbling stomachs with their Mezze Plate- a generous serving of hummus, baba ganoush, tabbouleh, Kalamata olives, olive tapenade, falafel and kofta. I was not sure if I should order a Mediterranean dish at a bistro, but I crossed my fingers and dove in. It was surprisingly good.
When TG and The Body finally arrived, we ordered our main courses. The winning dish for that evening was TG-boy’s Pasta (it’s some exotic-sounding name, I forget) with Mushroom Cream Sauce and Truffle Oil. The oddly-shaped pasta was as perfectly al dente as it could possibly get, just on the brink of being undercooked. That’s how I would want my pasta to be cooked from now on. And the sauce was simply phenomenal: creamy, aromatic, delicious.
Now, for my order. Where do I even begin?
First of all, I have a bone to pick with our waiter. As I was pondering on which meat I should have, I asked him which one he would recommend: the lamb shoulder or the beef fillet? Our bespectacled server gave out a little snort and said, “The beef fillet, of course!” Now, what exactly does he mean by “of course”? Irritated, I ask him that, giving out my own obnoxious snort. He said, “It’s tenderloin, and tenderloin is always good.” Oh. Ok.
After all the main courses were served, mine had yet to show up. When it finally did, the beef was overcooked. I thought I was quite clear in indicating I preferred my steak done medium, and what I was given was obviously well-done. I hate giving food back, but steak is one of the most honest dishes there is with very few prerequisites, the most crucial of all would have to be its level of doneness. Naturally, when you are asked for your preferences and they are not delivered, it is a major disappointment.
I sent it back and my grumbling stomach had to wait a few more minutes. Fortunately, when the second steak arrived, it was perfectly medium, but unfortunately, bland. The mashed potato with truffle oil (which I requested to replace the roasted potatoes) was also void of even a nuance of truffle. Not good.
Is this officially a rant? Unfortunately, that is how it turned out to be. Was the food really lackluster (to say the least) or was I just ticked-off by that supercilious waiter that my palate was rendered numb and unresponsive? Maybe. But that is why service holds such an important role in giving diners a superlative gastronomic experience, and ultimately, ensuring return visits. Honestly, there are some restaurants that I have returned to after a mediocre meal because of a relatively good overall experience. Although some did not deliver eventually, there were those that prove to be “late-bloomers” and were worthy of that second chance.
Yes, I will eat at Sala Bistro again, but because of that heavenly pasta dish, not the beef fillet. I will not be eating that tenderloin again because, simply put, it just was not good. Looks like a certain waiter should do some revising on his mentally- inscribed Food Bible.