Although I have to say that the overall food quality here is not bad, we had a terrible service experience with my family eating at Ristra on Christmas Eve, 2005. It's definitely not a place to go with families.
We were travelling with 4 adults and a 7-year-old, so we were careful to call around and find a place that would take reservations on Christmas Eve. Ristra couldn't take us until 9pm, but we figured with careful nap planning, we'd be okay. We had to wait, standing, in a crowd of about 10 other people for 40 minutes before we were seated. They were totally unapologetic--no gestures of sympathy, offers of appetizers or drinks, despite the fact that we had to stand by the front door getting hit with freezing air everytime the wait staff ran in and out (they were going around to a spare room to grab dining supplies).
When we were seated, it's just wasn't very comfortable. The chairs are hard wood, and Ristra is in a small house, so there's no room to maneuver, especially when they are running behind and backed up. We were around the last people to be seated, and thus the last to leave. Clearly, the wait staff wanted to get out since they started cleaning up all around us as we finished our dinner. But since it was not our choice to be eating so late, they could have at least been gracious about it.
In addition, there was no children's menu (which is okay, usually we can just ask for something basic), but when we asked what they could make for kids, they looked at us like we were nuts. It was a prix fixe menu, and they were really inflexible. We finally got them to make him macaroni and cheese, which was really good. So good, in fact, that we all kept eating his food since my scallops weren't tasty (very rubbery) and didn't have the gnocchi that was supposed to accompany them. My husband and brother both got substandard, briny, lobster bisque, followed by what they both said was excellent filet mignon.
When the check came, we asked our busboy (our dour waitress had disappeared at this point) if tip was included. He said he would have to ask, which seemed a bit odd, but came back and told us that tip was included. We paid our check for literally hundreds of dollars and went back to the hotel. The next day they called my brother on his cell phone (seriously) to ask if they could charge him for the tip, which they said was not included after all. This means they charged us the full $56.00 prix fixe menu for my nephew's macaroni and cheese. Insane. And rude. Would never, ever go there again. If you do go, go on a Tuesday or sometime when they have time and space to serve you. It was like dining at the Grinch's on Christmas Eve.