1177 California St. @ Taylor
Phone: 415.474.2000.
Dinner Sun-Thurs 5:30-10pm, Fri-Sat until 11pm
Parking, $7
Full Bar

It's an ominous name, no? The owners opened on Valencia Street in 1998 and just recently moved up the social ladder to Nob Hill.

I have to preface my review by saying that it's next to the Masonic Auditorium, and we were seeing a concert there that evening, so we were completely theater rush. However, that said, my reservations were at 6pm, the show was at 8pm. Sounds like enough time, even for theater rush, right? Who's with me?

The Ambience:
It's in a hotel, but to it's credit, it doesn't really feel like it. One long room, an open kitchen
, dimish lights, no music, a lot of hustling, big comfy booths and, er, clean. Yup, it feels clean.

The Menu:
Fairly interesting, with some unique salads, soups, fish, etc. They trounce lightly through the loose definition of California cuisine, supposedly infusing Asian and Mediterranean, though I didn't see many signs of it. They offer an appetizer/dinner special for $25.

The Food:
I'll give them this: the food was very good and the presentation was impeccable. Watching the open kitchen, it seems every plate was artistically prepared. My potage was rich and spicy, the rissotto was fresh and cheesy, the beef was peppery. I ordered my beef medium. It arrived rare to medium-rare. And cold.

The Service:
Okay, I don't know whose fault it was. We had to wait 20 minutes for a glass of wine, almost an hour for our soup and a total of an hour and a half for our entree. I needed to ask for the check when they brought us our dinner. The waiter was insanely distracted, but apologetic when he did arrive.

It's a good idea. Who knows what's going on in Nob Hill that night?

Overall: D
My dinner was undercooked and cold. It took an hour to get our first course. Maybe if you go on a non-theater night, you'll have a better time, but I won't be finding out.

Reviewed : Oct 2003

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