I have been meaning to try St Francis for EVER and had never gotten around to it. So when I made plans to meet some friends for dinner this week, it was a good halfway point. They had been before and were happy to meet us there. I've heard SO many good things about this place, and the fact that my friends were happy to go back left me feeling very good about our choice.
Fast forward to dinner...what a letdown. First strike
: mandatory valet parking. Ugh. Hate valet. Oh well. Not a dealkiller.Second strike
: Apparently when you make a reservation, they hold the worst possible table for you. We sat at the first table when you walk into the dining room. The one that is between the drink station and the silverware station. Aside from constantly being in the middle of every server in the place...and them squeezing behind one of our chairs to get to other tables rather than walking around us, the placement of the silverware station comes into play later.Third strike
: Noise level. Holy Mother of God...I've never eaten in such a LOUD place. I get the whole concrete, metal, glass sound thing. This was so far beyond that. Unbearable.Fourth strike
(I know, there should only be 3 strikes, but I'm not much into sports anyway so I'm claiming ignorance)...Fourth Strike: The Food. Yes, I know i only ordered a chicken salad sandwich and maybe that's MY fault. But dammit, it SAID chicken salad with currants and zatar spice and i thought it would be just SO tasty in the way that curry chicken salad usually is. Wrong. Yes, the flatbread was likely fresh and just-baked and that was yummy, but the chicken salad had NO flavor. Zero. and there was so little of it on the sandwich. The fries it was served with were just ok. Nothing wrong with them i guess, more just personal preference. I hate home cut, greasy soft fries. I like 'em crispy and thin. Corn soup looked promising, all thick and golden with a roasted green chili laying across the top - but instead it just tasted like buttery cream with a hint of corn flavor. Fifth Strike
- My friends had to ask for refills, despite the server being at our table twice to see their empty glasses. They actually had to flag her down. By this time, my glass was empty as well. She brings back their refills and leaves. Never checks me or my partner's drinks. I know the debate over service vs food, etc. but drink refills are kind of a pet peeve for me. So many servers nail it beautifully that those who don't just seem sub-par to me.Sixth strike
- Throughout the meal we were bombarded with the noise of clean silverware being brought by the box full from the kitchen to the counter RIGHT NEXT to us, where it would be dumped into bins and then servers would sort and roll them into napkins. So we had a front-and-center view to this next strike. Server is chatting to other server while folding napkins and silverware. CLANG CLANG! She drops a knife on the floor. The noise was so loud it caught our attention so we look over and all of us are just poised, horrified, our eyes all pleading "No! Dear God, No!"...but yep...she wiped that knife off with a dry cloth and wrapped it right up in a napkin to be put on someone's table. Seventh Strike
- we put down two credit cards and tell her to just split the ticket in half. She says "I can split it by seat if you want"...so we're like ok, whatever. She holds out my friends card and they confirm that that is for the two of them. She returns with two tickets, and of course, they have been rung up backwards. And it wasn't an insignificant difference...my friends had $20+ entrees and dessert, while we did not. It was a $40/$60 split. It was easy to resolve, as my friends just left the tip and that pretty much made it 50/50 anyway. But really?! REALLY!? it was the last straw at that point. oh wait, no it wasn't.Eighth Strike:
So walking out, I ask my friends what I'm supposed to tip the valet that i despise. They say well it's complimentary so just tip what you want. I said "I WANT to tip zero, that's why I'm asking what I SHOULD tip." So i get out a couple of singles and while i'm waiting for the valet i notice our car is like four spaces down. I think to myself, oh well, at least it will be nice that he'll pull it out of the tight spot and bring it right here. WRONG. I hand him the ticket and he says "oh, you're just right there. you wanna just get in" and hands me the keys. LOL...Needless to say I didn't tip.
So I don't know. I liked the "idea" of St. Francis and the menu looked good. I might give it another chance, but it was a real clusterfuck on my first visit. LOL.St. Franciswww.stfrancisaz.com
111 E. Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85012