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Estrella de Plata, Bcn.


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I really want to like this restaurant. And I have tried. The food has often been very good,

and I will give any restaurant the odd off-night...but I have been disappointed too often, and for reasons that should be easy enough to fix.

Simply, the service should not be rude. I don't mind gruff, perfunctory or even a bit grumpy as long as the basic elements of service are met. I have worked in restaurants, (both in the front and the back) for over 10 years, and I know that a surge in popularity can overwhealm a restaurant, but they have had enough time to iron out the kinks.

I have eaten there 8 times over the span of 3 years, and have had decent service twice.

(I know, I keep trying...as I said, I want to like the place.)

I always sit at the bar, because I think that is the best place to be...as at Cal Pep, or

Bar Pinotxo, I don't need white tablecloth service....just good food served with a bit of decency.

Any diner can tell the difference between harried service and inept service. I won't bore you all with the rant....but if you want just a few examples for substantiation: I've waited 40 minutes between tapas courses when it wasn't busy, but the server was talking to a friend, I've been overcharged on 3 occasions, and ignored on many others... The final time (April, 2005) I paid 12 euros for 5 clams and 2 were still closed.

(That's NOT the server's fault, but she should have noticed that nearly half the dish was inedible,

...she didn't care. On the same night, she accidentally broke the cork while opening a bottle that we ordered...not a big deal at all... normally you pour the wine into the glass and remove the bits of cork with a spoon, instead she left the bottle for 10 minutes, came back, removed the last half of the cork and poured a bunch into the sink (my lovely wine!) then put the bottle in front of us. She didn't look at us, didn't pour the wine, and went back to sending text messages on her cell phone.)

From now on, I'll give Estrella a miss, and go to Santa Maria or Comerc 24...sit at the bar and be fed better. Or maybe I'll just catch a cab to the Zona Franca and go to Granja Elena.

I'll be quiet now...It's time for a cocktail anyway.

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There is inept service and there is rude service. It seems you've had both, sometimes at the same time. The food must be very good for you to have returned so often. Have you always had the same server at the bar? It might be enough for me to take a table. It sounds as if you are living n Barcelona and not the occasional visitor unless you make frequent visits to Barcelona. How long has this been going on? It would seem as if the owner might get some complaints if the food was good. Nevertheless, a long wait between courses and clams that hadn't opened, indicate kitchen problems as much as, or more than, service problems. For two out of five clams to be closed seems a sure sign that no one cares.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Excuse me, but this smacks of masochism.. If Estrella de Plata were a great restaurant, I could understand that one would keep coming back again and again to see if it finally delivers: eight times in three years, despite all those lapses! But it's not a great restaurant nor has it ever been - it's a glorified tapas bar. So why insist in the first place? Barcelona is chock full of much more interesting places, tapas bars included! Life is too short to return to bad places.

Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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Masochist? well, possibly...but let's just call it thorough...

I eat out a lot...It's part of my job.

And that was exactly my point: In a city like Barcelona, these things really need to be addressed because there are too many good places to eat.

Yes, I live there, so I'd be in the area and decide to give it another shot.

(and there have been times that I have had friends who wanted to try it; it seems as if it is known a bit in London chef-circles. )

So, hopefully all of my hard work will save someone else the bother.

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. . . .

Yes, I live there, so I'd be in the area and decide to give it another shot.

(and there have been times that I have had friends who wanted to try it; it seems as if it is known a bit in London chef-circles. )

. . . .

This is something that's always puzzling to locals allover. There's always some place of little or no merit that somehow seems to get an overseas reputation. Then again, there are places in my hometown (NYC) that have a reputation for fine food, that I don't understand myself. There is often truly no accounting for taste.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I'd be in the area and decide to give it another shot.

(and there have been times that I have had friends who wanted to try it; it seems as if it is known a bit in London chef-circles.

Big, big mistake. You may have heard the WC Fields saying, "Never give a sucker an even break..." Well, here's how a restaurant critic with a quarter-century experience would translate it into our idiom: "Never give an obviously flawed restaurant a second chance."

Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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Just to add my two cents:

Way back in 2000, when Estrella de Plata was an up-and-coming restaurant I had to write an article about "Noveau tapas" for an important Spanish hospitality magazine. After exchanging quite a lot of e-mails and phone calls with the managers I arranged an interview with them one morning. The time was pretty inconvenient to me as I was a staff writer for another magazine and I had to use one of my holiday days to make it. So I went to Estrella de Plata and waited at the door for a couple of hours. Nobody turned up, and neither did I get a call or an e-mail of apologies (and I revised my notes and I was there at the correct time). Therefore, I'm not surprised AT ALL about finding out their service is not that good.

Mar

Middlebrow Catalan gastronomy??????

http://baixagastronomia.blogspot.com/

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