We mentioned a few weeks back that Observer (U.K.) critic Jay Rayner had been bouncing around the Bay Area. His latest review is ostensibly focused on Le Manoir aux'Quat Saisons, the Oxfordshire restaurant that's Britain's priciest, at 400 pounds (that's $637) per person, including wine and tip. But while he digs Le Manoir ("the food isn't clever...It's just bloody nice"), he can't help but reminisce on how he spent his summer vacation:
Recently I visited a restaurant in California called Manresa which, like Le Manoir, holds two Michelin stars. The Japanese-accented food was interesting, but the experience was rendered tortuous by the intensely stupid service. Waiters had been drilled to walk in single file with one hand stapled to their backs; a sommelier attempted to flog us a wine 60% more expensive than the one we had chosen, and then turned frosty when we declined. It sapped the will; it poisoned the well.
We've eaten at Manresa, and can testify firsthand to the hand-behind-the-back thing. Other than that, all we can say is: ouch.