Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thinking of a clever metaphorical phrase using a vine, grapes and leaves....

I can't think of anything.  The Vine is a great staple restaurant for those who are looking to add some Lebanese cuisine into their lifestyle.  The cuisine seems to be mostly vegetarian with ample use of items in ways that Americans don't think of.  For instance, there is a dish where grape leaves are filled with a rice stuffing and then rolled and cooked.  Anyways, St. Louis is in great need for some good and authentic Lebanese food.  The problem is: service.

The Vine has the possibility of being a great restaurant and making the owner enough money that he could open many more locations around the city.  The obstacle in his way, is his staff.  I have probably been to this restaurant 10 or 11 times within the past few years and every time, service is the thing that is lacking.  Sometimes it is the waiter who attends to the people dining outside over our table of 6-8 people.  Sometimes it is the manager who isn't there at all and no one has a clue as to what is happening.  Most of the time, the waiter, male or female, is as forgetful as Lisa Kudrow's character from Mad About You.  You remember her, the ditsy forgetful and sometimes rude waitress who never could get anything correct and didn't care?

The food is good, most of the time.

Here is the tabbouleh and fry sandwich.  Tabbouleh is a salad, made from bulgur wheat, onions, tomatoes and tons of fresh parsley.  Parsley is to lettuce in this salad version.  It has some olive oil and lemon juice to balance the savory and sour flavors.  This dish is then wrapped up in some flat bread with some perfectly seasoned French Fires.  This is the cross-section of the sandwich and it is awesome.  I say a 4 out of 5 for this one.

The Vine offers hookahs to be available for people to use as well.

The restaurant is nice, as I said, what is lacking is the service.  The last time I went there, we ordered our food and within 10 minutes, one dish, one thing that we ordered out of 8, was brought out to us.  We ate it and then we waited, 20-25 minutes, until everything else came out at the same time.  One of my biggest pet peeves in some St. Louis restaurants has to do with the water.  While I know that St. Louis has some of the cleanest and freshest tasting tap water, when I am at a restaurant, I don't want to have a glass of it as well as a second glass filed with a primary beverage.  So, when you first arrive at the Vine, they do not ask you first, but go ahead and bring you glasses of water for your whole table.  I don't like this.  The reason is that as I mentioned above, I would then order a soda, like a Diet Coke, which they deliver in a can.  So, then now in front of me, in what limited space I have on the table, I have an empty can, a glass of diet coke, which I filled myself and a glass of ice water, now going undrank. My thought is that what space can be used for food, use it for food, not water or ice water.  Nothing can take up space where food is supposed to go.

I don't want to be mean.  The Vine has great food, nine times out of ten.  That 10% of the time, some key ingredients are missing or dishes are slightly changed.  Say there is an addition of mint in one of the dishes that isn't there on a normal basis.  Or perhaps there are onions where there were no onions the time before.  Overall, as I mentioned the food is good and I suggest dining at the Vine, ONLY, if you are not in a rush or do not have children with you.  (Children tend to go crazy while being forced to sit in one location for a long period of time.)

Still, so many great food items are here and you should come by still.

To the management of the Vine, train your wait staff so they all follow the same rules and ordering process.  This way, you will get more people coming back and thus more money.

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