I went prepared to LOVE Zynodoa, based on its reputation (plus I think I'd been there once before). I left kind of disappointed, although I still think it's a good restaurant and would go back - just that several things didn't work out very well on this visit.
All started out fine - they didn't have a Virginia Chard by the glass so I had a Virginia Viognier which was very good. They brought a little jar of what they call Virginia peanuts - mix of peanuts, soybeans, and something else with a bit of sweet glaze and a bit of hotness. Very good, although the top part was the best (where the peanut-brittle-like larger pieces were stuck) and it got kind of boring at the bottom.
I wanted small plates, so after much consultation with the waiter I ordered the corn bisque and the goat cheese tartlet (hoping that would leave room for dessert). Corn bisque was very good, although thinner than I was expecting - I think it was mostly corn liquid, not much added thickener or dairy, which is probably a good thing. Also included good bits of bacon and sliced green onion, which somewhat overwhelmed the corn flavor.
Goat cheese tartlet (highly recommended by waiter) was pretty good but very salty and pickly-tasting. I was expecting kind of a custard texture with the caramelized onions mixed in, but this was more like a lot of pickled onions with a bit of cheese stuff. The crust, as advertised, was shortbread and very very rich and crumbly and a bit sweet. It was a good combination and would have been perfect for a few people to split as an appetizer, just eating a bite or two -- but as my dinner it was just too much pickle. So I ate about 2/3 of it and told the waiter that. He said "Well, that's the first time I've ever heard any complaints about it!!!" I said it wasn't a complaint, just my reality.
So he brings the dessert menu. Everything was chocolatey and rich (I was hoping for something fruity). He came back and I said basically that. He got kind of huffy and said, "Well, it IS dessert." I said I didn't want dessert, and he just grabbed the menu and spun on his heel and stomped off. I honestly don't think he meant to be rude but it certainly came across that way. Very soon he came stomping back and plonked the check down on the table and started to stomp off without saying anything. I said "Thank you" kind of coldly (OK, snottily, I admit it) and he finally realized something was wrong and came back and said "Is there anything else?" I said no.
So after he got the check there was quite a wait, but then he came back and said "I talked to a manager and got the tartlet taken off your check, since you didn't like it." I thanked him (and tipped on what the total would have been) but I guess he figured that was why I was annoyed, and the whole thing was not a very cordial exchange. I do think he had good intentions but just had no training as a waiter beyond how to carry a tray without dropping it. A place at that level of food (and reputation) needs to train its servers in the whole art of graciousness.
So, I'll go back on a future visit to Staunton, I won't order the tartlet, and I'll hope that either I'm not in his section, or he's learned more about being a good waiter by then.
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