The following is how I review restaurants. I don't waste my time with passive-aggressive ramblings on Yelp. I go straight to the source of my misery:
To: Management (front and back of house.)
My family and I were in for brunch yesterday afternoon. We brought a guest from the U.K. and based on the affiliation with the _________, which has always been outstanding, we felt this would be an excellent choice to showcase some of the Bay Area's great cooking. We could not have been more wrong. I must say this was one of the worst brunch experiences I have ever had. Although I may be the only one writing to you, I was not alone in my dissatisfaction.
Firstly, the service. Where was it? I saw many able bodies that seemed to have fit the description of those who could be considered to be employed by the establishment. Or it's entirely possible that a host of of people in white shirts with menus, notepads and some of them even pens, were on hand to distract the cooks because they certainly weren't interested in helping us. If we were lawyers, we would have made very funny quips about our server being "in absentia" as he was not to be found most of the meal. That joke would have killed in our respective offices this morning, were we barristers. When he did feel like dropping in on us. He seemed distracted. Maybe he had something much more fun to do and we were rudely keeping him from it? I think our favorite part was when he decided to let us know towards the end of our meal that he was in fact taking a break and introduced us to someone else, his stunt double if you will. We had actually assumed he was on a break the whole time anyway so why not make it official right? All toll we had about two other employees come by to clear the table and one bus-person to go flag down our check. By my estimation it took around four people to accomplish what should have taken, oh one, maybe?
Now let's get to the proverbial meat and potatoes if you'll pardon the awful pun. Again, I've eaten at _______ a few times and each time I was delighted. The drop off in the quality of the food was near ridiculous. I was waiting for either Aston Kutcher or Alan Funt, depending on how current or how far back your sense of pop culture is skewed, to leap out and let us in on the elaborate prank and replace the punchline oriented food with the real thing. Obviously that never happened and what was placed in front of us was indeed intended to serve as a meal. Let's discuss the "cured meat hash" for a moment. That was about as descriptive as the menu got. I realize that "hash" is subjective term. However, there is a traditional staple and when you say "cured meat" then it sort of conjures up an image very close to that ideal. That ideal being, potatoes and corned beef. I'm not saying that's not open to interpretation or playfulness but you should for damn sure make note of it on the menu. As for your interpretation since when is cinnamon a curing agent? It's not and it overpowered the taste of the meat. That's bush league. Secondly, what was that, barley? Who's great idea was that? It had the consistency of oatmeal. So far we have cinnamon flavored-meat oatmeal, not looking good. I'm just asking but were the mushy, useless carrot slivers meant to distract us with their lustrous orange glow? If so, that ruse failed miserably. Now we have meat oatmeal with carrots. Then there seemed to be some tasteless off white emulsion lurking on the bottom of the dish. And when I say lurking, I mean it lurked. It just kind of hung out there offering no clue as to it's purpose. I can only surmise it was intended to be some kind of glue to hold the cinnabon flavored meat jerky (did I mention it was dry?) bonded to the oatmeal. I take no issue with the eggs or arugula. Put those on plate by themselves and you've got a solid base to work from. I ordered the brioche french toast and I am compelled to ask, do you hate France or something? This dish was a bust. First of all Brioche is a moist bread and it seemed like you were using freshly baked brioche. If not, let it dry out another day please. It was almost silly how mushy it was. It had the consistency of a piece of bread that had fallen into the sink and began to turn to goo. French toast should be nicely grilled with a firm texture on the outside and a bit of a bite inside. You call those caramelized apples? Seriously, I call them canned brown mush. Maybe they could have used some of the cinnamon you used for the cinnamon meat? Of course that means the cinnamon meat wouldn't taste quite like a cinnamon Jolly Rancher anymore. But seriously, those apples were just silly. You might as well have just used apple sauce or at least reached for the lofty and almighty "compote." The coffee you say? Do truly believe that was good coffee? Serving a latte in a bowl means that you have taken on a huge challenge because coffee served in a bowl is always synonymous with delicious coffee, or so William Sonoma would have you believe, and yours came to the table luke-warm. How does that happen? Did you use a latte mix? I've had that happen in a restaurant once and it was silly. The cappuccino I ordered was neither frothy, creamy nor rich and indulgent. It tasted like folgers or Maxwell house, take your pick. It did keep the taste of the cinnabon flavored meat oatmeal from lingering to much though. I'll grant it that. It is sad when the best part of the meal is the bacon.
Upon leaving we thought we'd give the bakery a go next door. The line for baked goods was as silly as the meat oatmeal. When the first customer out the door tells you the staff are slow and idiotic and the wait isn't worth it, I'll bank on that advice based on what we'd just experienced.
All of the above attributed to a lousy Sunday brunch that made us eager to return the the horizontal rain outside. I think the best part of the meal was going to Kara's afterward. Have you tried their Meyer Lemon cupcakes? To die for!
Dissatisfied customer and boyfriend of the girl whose brother is married to a lawyer named Jaci who would have thought my bit about the server would have killed.
P.S. the U.K. guy ordered the burger. He said it was good. But, Brits are notoriously proper and never like to make a fuss. I know this because I watch a lot of Monty Python.