DO NOT ORDER WATER AT TRECE

A FBvian with an opinion about service dined at Trecé, the new Mexico City-style restaurant in the old Sipango spot. Her expensive night is detailed after the jump.

Last night, five of us visited Trece, Amador Mora’s (formerly of The Mansion on Turtle Creek) fortnight-old restaurant off Knox. Sigh. Admittedly, the food was good — especially the guacamole prepared tableside. However, Trece appears to be another example of Dallas dining where pretension supplants precision in service in some vain effort to appear “classy.” Do they think we’ve all never dined in New York, San Francisco, or hell, San Antonio? Should they hand out wet wipes at the door so we can wash the barbecue sauce off as we walk in?

From start to finish the service was arrogant at worst and presumptuous at best. After a trail of Adderall finally captivated our waiter long enough to order our appetizer and entrees, we settled in waiting for the guacamole and accompanying show. We got the show as our entrees arrived — because of the “popularity” of the dish. (see: Gordon Ramsay, “You donkey!”) We quickly got an apology from the manager for the timing. Attentiveness was never an issue during the meal, but the final bill highlights the problems.

Three bottles of water – $27. Holy crap, it wasn’t even Fiji! We were asked if we wanted still or sparkling water, but we were never informed when a new bottle was opened. The waiter just kept pouring, and those glasses were always full. Two servings of guacamole – $22. But we ordered just one, and only one was prepared. One glass of wine that never actually appeared – $9. If there were a next time, we’d bring Ritalin rather than Adderall…

You know that in a group of five girls, there’s going to be one that has the gumption to raise more than just an eyebrow. So, my friend spoke to the waiter. The bill came back without the glass of wine and without the extra guacamole, but the water remained. We gave in and paid. The evening could have ended on a note of disappointment, but the manager intervened to make sure I’d be writing FrontBurner today instead of just shaking my head.

Before we left he came to the table, and we answered his questions with our honest evaluation of the evening. We had paid already, remember — no time to be defensive. “I don’t know a restaurant in Dallas that doesn’t charge for bottled water!” Neither do we, but we do know that the others let you choose unbottled or, at the very least, how many bottles you want. “But the guacamole only serves two, and there are five of you!” So, our entrees plus two sides, which arrived with the guacamole, just wouldn’t have satisfied us with one order of guac? I didn’t know that the restaurant was entitled to make that decision.

Reading this back, I think to myself — it’s just not the end of the world. But it’s another experience in a pattern of disappointments in the establishments that are supposed to be ushering in a culinary revolution for Dallas. Maybe it was an assumption that because we were the only young people dining, rather than shooting premium tequila at the bar, that we needed help making our dining decisions. I just can’t lower my expectations of service at a restaurant like Trece when I can get innovative meals, a fine atmosphere, and respectful, attentive service at a place like RJ’s without the pretension and at a price that allows me to dine out twice as often.

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