Wine Club Newsletter - December 2018
Bocanariz Restaurant, Santiago, Chile
In the Bohemian district of Lassater, this wine oriented restaurant is a smash hit with locals and tourists alike. It is considered one of the top ten restaurants in Santiago, even though there are no views and the trappings are somewhat underwhelming.
But the wine and food are focused on Chile, and the results on the table transcend any mediocre visual impressions. We dined three times in four days at Bocanariz (translates to mouth nose), as it was close to the apartment, and it well suited the craving for our initial discoveries into culinary Chile.
With hundreds of wine selections, wine flights, wine and food pairing menu’s, and well-executed dishes, it was a natural. The menu prices are moderate, not an overboard or extravagant anything, and the well-varied offerings can keep you coming for days without repeating a single item.
Unless you want too! We never did, and enjoyed the three course tasting menu with wine flights, fresh oysters, intriguing salads, ceviche, and deer tatake, which was out of this world. I had the deer tatake on the fateful third visit, which after all the wonderful things I had the joy of putting in my mouth, I left with a bad taste.
As busy as they are, they do not take reservations, unless under special circumstances. That is to say rarely. And they typically will not accommodate parties of six or more either. My guess is the service of wine flights and small plates gets burdensome with large parties, and the physical space is broken up into small rooms.
On day three, we arrived to a full house, and was told there would be a table for us in ten or fifteen minutes. We decided to wait (outside) and in a proper amount of time, we were escorted to a small table in the back portion of the restaurant, certainly not the best one in the house. We waited for our server to bring menus, which always seems to take awhile here.
When she handed us the menu, I noticed the only window table had been vacated. No one else was waiting for a table, so I asked our server if we could move there. She said yes, and since we hadn’t had any water or messed the napkins, we went over and sat down, smiling.
That is, until the hostess came over and told us we couldn’t sit there, it was for reservations only. Now I am a bit embarrassed, as there are five other established tables in our hood watching and listening. I knew the hostess was not telling the truth about the reservation thing, but I didn’t want to cause anymore a scene then was already taking place. I was thinking don’t be the “ugly American” tourist.
We retreated to the lowly back table as if we had been scolded and put in our place. I found myself becoming angry, not so much for what the hostess had done, but for me allowing it to happen. I should have called the manager over to discuss this, but got lost in the moment of initial embarrassment. How many times have we all said “I should have said . . . this!”
Upon finishing our lunch, I knew I couldn’t live with myself without talking to the manager. As we were leaving, I pulled him aside and described what happened. He assured me that, yes, the hostess was wrong and I should have been allowed to sit at the window. He thanked me for coming to him, and wanted to offer me something in return, which I refused. I told him I also owned a restaurant, and would want to be aware of any of my staff behaving poorly.
It really shows how being decent and well mannered can help the restaurant ... and the customer can get their point across as well. When done in this manner the customer will get immediate respect and service than if they act out on the server. One must keep in mind that the restaurant is trying to do it's best. You don't know what's going on behind the scenes. Behaving well and getting your point across nicely is a win-win. It also says ... speak up before you leave! That way we can take care of the situation now!
I write about this to share with you an experience I had in my own field, in the hopes you can relate to my event, and be aware that talking to a person in the hospitality industry about your concerns or disenchantments is helpful; especially when done with the proper tone and objectivity.
Celebrate New Years Eve in The Brasserie!
We will be opening for dinner service beginning at 5pm.
Celebrate early with us and be home in time for the ball drop!
The menu will be our Brasserie dinner menu with some festive additions including caviar, truffles and more!
Gary & Lori Parker have brought back a more generous understanding of Port, from their Portugal wine tour, and Champagne, from their Champagne wine tour and want to share some of their favorite celebration wines with you!
Your featured toasting options for the evening are:
NV Moet & Chandon, Brut Imperial, Champagne, France Taylor Fladgate, 20 Year Old Tawny, Port, Portugal
Reservations STRONGLY recommended as we sell out every year!