Service, it’s always the service
Dinner tonight at La Sen Bistro in Concord. It’s a tiny place, just 34 seats. The food is good, the service wasn’t. Maybe the service will be great tomorrow, who can tell?
I made a reservation, as always. Opentable is my friend and yours. It wasn’t necessary: the place was about half full. No hostess: there is only 1 waiter and he was busy, so we waited there about 5 minutes until he could get around to us, then he turned a table for 2 into a table for 3 (Lisa Evans was with us), and we got a seat. Eventually, orders were taken. I heard a woman get up from a table behind us and ask that the waiter bring her partner dinner–two of them had their food, the third didn’t. That’s a really bad sigh.
The facility is nothing special–just a small storefront in a strip mall at the corner of Salvio and Galindo. 34 seats, bathroom all the way at the back through the kitchen, not much ambience. There are white tablecloths, but ours had quite a few crumbs from the previous diners.
French restaurant, French menu. That means escargot, so that’s what Gail and Lisa decided to share as a starter. I love it because I can dip my bread in the garlic butter and not have to eat the snails. Of course, the appetizer was delivered along with my salade roquefort and Gail’s soupe d’oignon.
I had the duck breast in honey pepper sauce, served with a caramelized apple and fried polenta cake. It was excellent, perfectly medium rare. The carrots and haricots vert were cooked precisely al dente. My meal was excellent, and I had time to examine it closely before the girls got their plates, another failure of the service.
Gail and Lisa both had the steak frites. If their rib eye steaks were any thinner, the would have only 1 side, but they were exceptionally tender and succulent. The frites were cut thin and served hot and crispy. Another winner for La Sen Bistro.
The profiteroles were as good as the rest of the meal–crispy pastry, vanilla gelato, chocolate sauce, vanilla sauce and whipped cream.
I feel like I’ve been in this situation before. Good food, less good service. No one to seat us, appetizer served with the salad, my dinner came out before the other two. Did someone call in sick? Were they just understaffed for the day, or is this a structural issue? I have no way to tell, I can only relate my experience on the day I was there.
Do I recommend La Sen? I don’t know. My food was very good and the prices are exceedingly reasonable. The service is completely suspect, though. Give the place a try if you like, but you have been warned.