Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Palace Cafe - Tulsa, OK

The Husband and I joined friends at Palace Cafe this past Saturday night.

They have recently remodeled their space, updating their dining area and adding a bar. Kudos for the remodel. The spaces are elegant and sophisticated.

Because the newly remodeled/expanded restaurant had just re-opened, because the bartender was responsible for making all drinks (as opposed to the servers mixing drinks), because it was a busy Saturday night and because it was Restaurant Week, there was some confusion amongst the servers, bartenders and kitchen staff.

First, it's amazing to us how difficult it is for young bartenders to make the cocktail scotch & water. It's scotch, over ice, with water added. This was what was delivered to our table:
  • Scotch over ice, with a glass of water 
  • Scotch neat 
  • Scotch & water (they say), but the glass was only 3/4's full
If you are going to spend the money to create an elegant bar, it would behoove you to recruit an experienced bartender who knows how to make old fashioned drinks. I can only imagine what would have happened if we had ordered a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned. To be fair though, we've recently experienced this problem in other restaurants in other states.

We all ordered three course meals from the special prix fixe Restaurant Week menu. Our server delivered our salad and we asked for another vodka & tonic.

Twenty minutes later, as a random person was clearing our salad plates, we asked for our server to be sent to the table or, more importantly, the drink be sent!

The server returned, apologized, said she was going to check on the drink and would be right back. She was. With more salads. We said, "No, no. We've had those already." (Shades of Groundhog Day.) Ultimately, we received our entrees and the vodka & tonic, followed by our desserts.

Palace Cafe is known for preparing outstanding food and they did not fail to deliver for us. We laughed and all agreed if we had to choose between shaky service or bad food, we'd take the shaky service every time.

Our server was nice, enthusiastic and ultimately apologetic. We know it was a confluence of events that contributed to the service issues and we will certainly return to the Palace Cafe. Next time, we plan to sit at the bar and suggest to the bartender how a scotch & water should be fixed.

If you drink old time cocktails, have you had this type of problem? 


  1. I haven't been in since they remodeled, but that place is a favorite of mine for Sunday morning. As for the drinks, I still remember being a novice cocktail waitress (eons ago) and having to ask the bartender which drink was a gin & tonic and which was the bloody mary. The groan and roll of the eyes I never forgot!

  2. Once when our family was traveling (don't remember where) and we stopped to eat, I ordered a White Russian, which is basically Kahlua, vodka and cream. Nobody there had ever heard of it. Nobody understood how to make it, even after I explained. I got little coffee-creamer containers on the side of a shot glass of Kahlua, a shot glass of vodka, and a cup of coffee. LOL Still makes me laugh.

  3. Try ordering a crown and water in a Mexican restaurant. I can't tell you how many baffled busboys cannot comprehend something so simple and send the waiter over to get my drink order. You see the look in their eye as soon as you order it.

    I've given up and now tell them to bring a glass of water and a shot of crown royal. It's much easier that way.