"One restaurant. Two nights. Two markedly different dining experiences.
The pitfall of restaurant reviewing is that cooking and service are performance arts. If a cook calls in sick one night or a server is off his game, dinner may not reflect a restaurant's usual standards. Yet, you can't just discount those off nights. The check is the same whether the operation is running smoothly or stumbling along.
Nowhere was that problem more clear than at the Basin in downtown Saratoga, where I ate two dinners in one week. On a Monday, rarely a restaurant's best night, the food was poorly cooked, the service inattentive, and I left fuming that I had spent so much on such a disappointing meal. A few nights later, when the kitchen was in good form and our server charming and solicitous, I could understand why this place has become a favorite among Silicon Valley execs who live in multimillion-dollar homes nearby."
WaiterBell Angle: Ensuring consistent quality in the dining experience is a constant challenge for a restaurant. Would you go into a restaurant if you had a 50/50 chance of having an enjoyable meal?