The menu at Sandra has been updated and expanded a bit since our last visit, though the menu on the home page still reflects the old menu. This is a very clean, nicely decorated simple restaurant in a rather mundane strip mall. On previous visits, the service has always been warm and attentive. Maybe it was the weather and the storm brewing this past Friday night, but the service was just completely off this evening. One other table is all that was occupied when we arrived. We were definitely noticed, as evidenced by the eye contact and eyebrow raise, but... then, we were ignored for a bit. After several minutes of sitting at a table with no menus, I wondered if maybe they had changed to counter service, so I went to the counter to get menus. We were shooed back to the table, and menus and water glasses followed us.
We had two appetizers - the spring rolls and the egg rolls, and both were good. Mom had the rice noodle soup, which comes with this huge amount of extras that you can put into the soup.
The Better Half had her Vietnamese favorite, a Bun dish with the grilled pork and a cut up egg roll. Sandra's version comes with less of the basil and shredded lettuce than some places, but it is an excellent dish.
I ordered the curried fish. And,.... I waited. The appetizers had come out at different times, and they brought out the first two entrees in a more staccato fashion, so I figured the lack of my food and the lack of explanation must just be how they go about things. But, when my other two dinner companions were both halfway done and I hadn't received anything more, nor seen the waitstaff again, well, something seemed off (and, there was one other occupied table at the time we were there). We mentioned something, a bleat of "curry fish" rings out behind the counter, and bit of a hustle started in the kitchen. The salad that comes with my meal arrived with an "I'm sorry". It was asked if the tardy meal was forgotten, but the question was avoided. Now, obviously it was forgotten, so we likely really didn't need to know the direct answer. But, it annoyed me that the reason for an apology was not provided. In time the curry arrived, and it was savory, and very well executed. But, I was annoyed by the approach of the owner. There was a general feeling from our table that maybe they wanted to avoid admitting anything so as to avoid providing any discount on the meal.
And, sure enough, when we went to the counter to pay, they did not on their own acknowledge the mistake in any way by initiating a discount towards our bill. And, it is not about the cost to me, it is the principle. Pride is a silly thing, and this fits into being penny-wise and dollar foolish. The approach of the owner makes me very unlikely to go to Sandra's Rice & Noodles again.
The verdict: 1.5 belly rubs (out of 5). Food was 4 rub territory, the service ruined it.