The piano bar is the best thing about Rudi's. Duke was there with his bassist - what a terrific duo. We'd heard good things about Rudi's from friends, and chose it for our anniversary dinner based on that and the live music. But ... the service, which makes the difference between a fine dining experience and a so-so one, was a disappointment. Just for starters, we walked in out of a raging storm but I had to ask the hostess, um, is there was somewhere to put my raincoat? We had arrived a half hour before our reservation for a drink at the bar, but there were no seats available. With the bar tables set for dinner, we were unsure whether we should sit down. The hostess was oblivious, and we waited 5 or 10 minutes until finally a waiter came by and welcomed us to have a drink there. He was professional and accommodating, and the cocktails were excellent. All was forgiven until we were seated in the dining room, ready to order our meals. Here's how that went. Guest: would you recommend the quail or the duck? Server: we don't have the quail tonight, so you won't have to choose. Guest: but do you recommend the duck? Server: well, it's unusual. Guest: why unusual? Server: because you won't find duck on many menus. Husband (sotto voce): where does she eat, McDonald's? In any event, I asked for the beet salad, which was served too cold with too much spinach and not enough goat cheese (or beets) and yes, the duck, which was actually quite good. He had the scallops and mac & cheese, which he reported as pedestrian. I did not trust the waitress for a wine recommendation but chose the J. Lohr pinot noir, which was excellent, and I suppose the $40 price tag was what I expected to pay. But my point here is that when you have expectations for an enjoyable night out, and the prices match the expectations but the service and food don't ... you won't go back.
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