Pros: Great food
Cons: Forgot our soup, some tables are in bar area and lack atmosphere
I live about 2 blocks away from this restaurant in Palo Alto, California. For, the record, it's actually called "Sundance MINE Company". I had seen it often and wondered how good it was. I finally decided to try it when I took my girlfriend there for dinner as a surprise for our anniversary. Thus, I can easily tell you that the date was December 6, 2000.
My first complaint about the place is that I had made a reservation but we were still forced to wait close to 30 minutes when we got there. The staff was reasonably courteous, but still it was annoying. While waiting, I noticed that were many tables in the bar area. Some of the tables were quite close to each other or the bar and it looked like it might be annoying to have somebody try to squeeze past you to get to the bar. Furthermore, there was a TV in the corner playing sports. This seemed to take away from the otherwise dark, cozy atmosphere. As I waited, I hoped that we were not placed at one of these tables. This was a bad start to our experience and one of the reasons for which I am not giving this restaurant a good rating.
As it turns out, we were lucky and were seated in the main dining room rather than the bar area. Here the atmosphere was dark and romantic -- much nicer than the bar area. If you're thinking of going to this restaurant for dinner, I'd recommend calling ahead and reserving a table in the dining room.
The menu had a good selection of steak and seafood. They also pride themselves on their prime rib. I can't comment on the prime rib since I'm not a prime rib fan. Prices are a bit expensive -- expect to pay around $20 per entree. I chose the evening special (a lamb dish) and my girlfriend chose swordfish. We both chose to have the soup of the day as well.
Unfortunately, we waited a long time for our soup. We started to wonder if they had forgotten about us. Finally, our waiter came over and apologized that they had somehow forgotten about our soup and that it was too late now because our entrees were already prepared. I found it very unusual that he didn't even offer us the option of having our soup while they kept our entrees warm. Instead, he said that he would bring our entrees out right away and that we could have complimentary dessert. While this sounded fair enough, I couldn't help but wonder why he hadn't even asked if we'd rather just have the soup that we ordered! This of course is a major reason why I am giving this restaurant a low rating, despite the fact that food was very good.
The food, as it turned out was excellent. We both particularly enjoyed the swordfish and my lamb was quite good too. The dessert was some kind of chocolate cake that was pretty good and we were not charged for it as the waiter had promised.
Unfortunately by now, the damage had already been done. We had not been seated promptly and our soup had been forgotten. This restaurant was very close to where I live and the food was very good. However, the service left something to be desired.
So that was December 6, 2000 and I haven't been back there yet. Thinking back about it, the food was very good, but then again there a lot of other restaurants in my area that have great food AND service. Here are a few. I'll try to write epinions about those that are available on epinions.
Evvia (Palo Alto) - http://silvertone.epinions.com/content_21137559172
Spalti (Palo Alto)
La Fondue (Saratoga)
Cafe Viva (North Beach - San Francisco)