Consistency

Continuing the trend of one word titles I'd like to add my word: consistency. Supposedly it's what makes golf, billiards and everything else so hard (as if hitting a tiny ball with a LONG stick is ever easy). And clearly, it's what makes or breaks a restaurant.This week O and I joined two friends for dinner at Zibibbo, a long time favorite standby for us in Palo Alto. After being open almost 10 years we know what to expect: the food is good to sometimes great, the atmosphere is enjoyable, the wine list a good read, if expensive, and the service is... inconsistent. Our visit this week, however, highlighted just how painful inconsistent service can be.We arrived at 7:50 for our 7:45 reservation. The bar was packed, the food was flying, the buzz was good. Walking in immediately put me in a good mood, so I was happy and gracious when the hostess apologized: they were running 10 minutes behind but would have our table ready soon. We waited. And waited. And waited some more. In seats right in front of the hostess stand. 7:55... 8:00... 8:10. No one has stopped by, no explanation, no apologies.8:15: we're seated. One of our friends at this point is getting a little hungry, having not eaten since breakfast and consumed a fair bit of wine during his day. (I'm envious of some jobs.) So we quickly run down the menu and order our dinner: antipasti, salad, pizza, fish and lamb. Same friend also takes the wine list and picks out 3 interesting choices. After a bit of a struggle to find our waitress, he order two bottles (one white, one red - please open and decant) and back to our conversation.The antipasti arrive, but no wine! We check with the waitress: "I'm sorry, we're out of the white you ordered." No problem, how about choice #2, oh and where is the red?15 more minutes pass without even seeing the waitress walk by. We finally start asking other people to help. Waitress comes back to say that white is out too. And the red? No word yet.10 more minutes! Still no wine, no food beyond the antipast we finished 20 minutes ago. Now the sommelier gets involved. Very apologetic, looks immediately into the wines. Oops -- the red is out too! Pick a 2nd red, and cancel the white. She comes back looking bashful -- the 2nd red is out. OK... 3rd red, on her suggestion. Now she's stricken -- they're out! And finally, the 4th choice (6th of the night) and we're good.Oh, and what about the food? After 40 minutes with nothing, we tey to cancel a few things -- it's getting late. But too late for that, EVERYTHING comes at once. The lamb first, then the pizza, duck confit salad, the bronzino, polenta, squash. At once. We literally didn't have room on the table.Of course, the food was good. The wine turned out well, and they did provide us with a glass of white that was quite enjoyable. Frankly, it was a enjoyable night with good friends and something to laugh about. But wow, the service was just plain bad, inconsistent. It's enough to make me hesitate to go back again.Here's to consistency.Zibibbo430 Kippling St., Palo Alto650.328.6722

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