Monday, May 20, 2013

Geste Wine & Food

It took several passes to realize Geste Wine & Food was more than just an upscale liquor store, smack in the middle of downtown Bethesda. One evening, I noticed someone exiting with a 6-pack of Heineken and a pizza box. My interest piqued, I looked it up on the internet; and sure enough, they sell pizzas and sandwiches (with several tables inside for dining-in.) I made a mental note to visit the next day (today.)

Geste is an odd hybrid, but relatively clean and inviting. The "dining area" houses five tables, across from several shelves of assorted wines. A large deli window is in the back. I stopped by a little after 3:00 in the afternoon, to order a 10" pizza with sausage (and a bottle of A&W Root Beer) I was immediately put off by the cashier's body language... He clearly didn't want to be there. No greeting. Definitely no small talk. Customer service was what you'd expect to find in a liquor store on the wrong side of town, and certainly not a pizzeria. C'est la vie: I handed over $9.52 (including tax) grabbed my root beer, and took a seat.

Side entrance

The space looks nice enough, but the owners seemingly don't believe in air conditioning: I was glad to have my cold soda to keep me company. I couldn't help but notice a few cases of open beer laying in the middle of the floor (I wonder how many people have tripped over that today?) A few guys came in while I was waiting, bought a single bottle of beer and hung out. Odd.

Inside Geste Wine & Food

20 minutes after ordering, I got up (frustrated) and asked about my pizza. The aforementioned cashier stared blankly at me, stood up and handed me my boxed pie. I asked  'Why didn't you tell me my pizza was ready?' He just looked at me, and said nothing. Normally, I'd press on and argue with the guy; but something told me that would be a waste of time: I went back to my seat and ate lunch.

By now, I was really hungry; but this pizza had no flavor, and almost no sauce (literally 1/4 of what you'd find on any other pizza in town.) The cheese needed more time in the oven, as did the doughy crust (not crisp.) I did like the sausage shavings (something I haven't seen in a while) but I suspect they did it, in order to give you less. I managed to finish most of it, but couldn't help but feel disappointed. It's a great bargain at under $10; but poor customer service and subpar pizza isn't worth the savings.

Atmosphere: B- (It's got potential.)
Service: F
Crust: D (Doughy, not crispy.)
Toppings: C- (Minimal sauce, but sausage was tasty.)
Value: B (Would be even higher, if pizza was better.)
Overall: D (Hard to get past abysmal service.)