Saturday, August 04, 2007

Zuni Cafe

1658 Market St (between Franklin & Gough)
(415) 552-2522

Mediterranean/Californian in Hayes Valley

I went here on a fellow foodie's recommendation, and I was extremely disappointed! The ambience is great - right on Market, with big glass windows and a woodsy feel - very classic. This place is definitely happening, and popular for its oyster bar. Yes, the oysters were good. However, the rest of the food, was not so much. I don't quite remember what we had, but I remember getting the sea bass, which wasn't anything special. Risotto was actually pretty good - not too cheesy (risottos are usually too cheesy for me), and shinie's poultry (I think it might have been hen... not sure) was nothing special, either.

Go for the ambience, but don't expect anything spectacular from the food (except for the oysters).

** Edit: I wrote this original review about over a year ago and gave this place 2 stars. However, after a recent visit, I've increased it to 3 because this time the food was very good. My friend and I shared their 1 hr chicken (roasted to perfection) served with these giant crouton-like pieces of toasted and buttery bread and some greens. Other people had veal which was amazing (but the beans accompanying it were kind of an off-putting grainy texture), and someone had the salmon which I didn't try but they liked. We also shared marinated olives where the oil was great for dipping.

The service, however, was questionable. I originally made the reservation for a party of 4, then changed it to 5, then when we got there, we changed it back to 4 because we thought one person wasn't showing up, but she decided to show up after all! So understandably, the staff might have been a little frustrated, but after that, our waiter wasn't nearly as friendly. He was almost snotty which definitely didn't make me feel at ease. It might have just been me, but despite the fact that I've been to very nice restaurants, the waiter made me feel like I didn't belong here. He even served us our chicken (which he had beforehand made it a point that it be "presented" to us) while we were in the bathroom. Rude! Whatever.

But yes, the food has been redeemed since my first visit. I really liked it and it would've been worthy of more than just 3 stars, except that I'd have to go again to actually know for sure since my first time sucked so badly.

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