While the mythical and much-hyped liqueur after which this establishment is named is not served here, many equally potent ... More
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar
While the mythical and much-hyped liqueur after which this establishment is named is not served here, many equally potent concoctions are. Specialty drinks, such as the Perfect Pear and the Ginger Rogers, seem to contain pure alcohol, and even a standard margarita packs an unbelievable wallop. If you're looking for something to help mitigate the effects of a strong drink, then ditch the regular bar peanuts for Absinthe's bar snacks. This bar offers bread with a smooth fig spread, croque monsieur and more. The menu changes daily, but any antipasto platter of cured meats is sure to please, as will the particularly rich duck confit. You can enjoy your meal in the main room or at a cafe-style table on the sidewalk, but if you're looking for a quieter spot, book a table in the private dining room.
We arrived for a reservation 2 hours before a performance, and let the waiter know what our schedule was. While the food was very good - the baby lettuce salad was dressed beautifully with dill, mint, and balsamic and the flatbread was quite tasty - the noise level made it almost impossible to carry on a conversatin. The service was incredibly slow. We were seated a full 15 minutes before our order was taken, at which time was asked for lattes and water. The lattes arrived a full 15 minutes after that, without water. We reminded him about the water, and reminded him a third time while he was taking the order of a table nearby. We finally got water from an attentive bus man almost immediately after having asked for it. The salads were delivered quite a bit after the lattes, and we were finally served our entrees around 45 minutes before curtain time - approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes after having been seated. Meanwhile, our server did not check back with us once between delivery of courses, and it took a very long time to get the check. Though he was in the vicinity several times, he quite pointedly avoided making eye contact. To top it off, I heard him tell a table next to ours that was ordering after us that the only item that took a long time was the flatbread, a piece of information he did not impart to us that he should have when we told him we were on a schedule. Not the leisurely experience we had hoped. With all the places in the Bay Area that serve fine food AND provide excellent service, there's no reason for us to return. This was my second experience of lousy service before a performance in as many days. Restaurants that cater to the pre-theatre crowd should staff and stock for these lucrative times, since they're clearly making a killing before nearby events.
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