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Restaurant fatigue

Am I bored or just jaded? Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. All I know is that since our fantastic meal at Acquerello, I cannot get excited about any restaurant we’ve been to since. Granted, we don’t eat out all that often, and even rarer do we leave Castro-Noe-Mission radius. But lately it seems like even our old standbys haven’t been cutting it.

A few weeks ago, we had a disappointing experience at our beloved Incanto. So upsetting was it that I did something I rarely do: I wrote a letter to the owner. He graciously responded and was sufficiently apologetic, so we will return eventually, but it shook our confidence. A recent return to my longtime fave Cafe Claude confirmed for the second contiguous time that they have slid into mediocrity. We tried to be fair-minded about Fresca on 24th Street, having previously been the victims of the most ludicrously incompetent wait service in the history of restaurantdom. This time was not the worst ever, but the service was decidedly weak, and this was for a 2 pm lunch on a Sunday when scarcely six tables were occupied. Recent visits to our regular sushi joint Hamano have been perfectly lackluster as well.

Restaurant after restaurant, meal after meal has left us unsatisfied. Has Acquerello spoiled us, or is everyone else really that bad? Where can a couple of hungry and only slightly finicky guys go for a soul-nourishing, emotionally pleasing meal experience?

All hope is not lost, I suppose. On Pink Saturday we ended up going with our friend Kathleen back to one of our very longtime haunts, Il Cantuccio. When we lived a couple of blocks from there, we would go on practically a weekly basis. But then, they got rated best of in the Guardian, prices began to creep up, quality began to slip … and we stopped going. But this last visit was just like old times. I look forward to returning.

This Post Has 9 Comments
  1. why not try Aziza, Zuni Cafe, Delfina, Taddich Grill. All have been pretty good for me.

  2. Jen: Cafe Claude, ever since the new chef came in (and, apparently, adorable manager Marcel went out), things have slid. The previous chef had this crepe on the menu that was my favorite thing EVER. I miss that more than any single dish I can imagine.
    Ann: Right on — Aziza and Delfina have always satisfied, and probably hold the #1 and 2 spots in my list of favorites respectively. (Although I do occasionally have service issues with Delfina.) Haven’t been to either in a while, come to think of it.
    Zuni is good, but it can be hit or miss. Last time we went was a ridiculous miss, and so we haven’t been in any rush to go back. But I still hear people raving about it, so I’m sure it’s great at least some of the time.
    Tadich … well, a bit pricey for what it is, I think. But sure, it’s good.

  3. I want restaurant fatigue! I want to come to San Francisco and eat myself into exhaustion. (Gee, sounds like I have a problem here.) Thanks for listing my blog! I love yours.

  4. Dang, I wish we had some of those places up in Sac (not that I can afford, them, I would do an eat n’ run, lol).
    But seriously, if you are ever in Sac, hit up Mikuni’s or Kasbah. Total mind blowing mouth orgy.

  5. Sher: Man, who needs restaurants when you make those heavenly gorditas? I think I could eat those every day for the rest of my life and not suffer unduly.
    Garrett: Thanks for the Sacto tips — might be worth the field trip just to try something new!

  6. Cafe Claude was the first restaurant I ate at the first time I visited the city when researching moving here. I was totally charmed! But every time I’ve eaten there since then, I’ve liked it less. It seems like it’s always hot, has service issues, and while the dishes that rock (the escargot) still rock, so many other things have been eh.
    I had a period of serious restaurant fatigue a few months ago when lots of friends and family had been visiting and it seemed like I was going somewhere new every night. I got through it with sashimi and indian food. And of course, I always root for Aziza.

  7. I don’t know if it’s restaurant fatigue or palate fatigue. I find that sometimes your taste buds get out of whack for 2-3 days or even longer and no matter what you eat or drink, just nothing is satisfying or wonderful with a capital W.
    But, I don’t think it’s at all that unusual to go to bunch of very good to excellent restaurants successively and just not score. It’s like rolling a six-sided die and you keep getting that 1 or 2 when all you need is a 3 to 6. Getting a bunch of bad die rolls in-a-row is life.

  8. It makes sense that when a restaurant is slow the service is awful. Why would a good waiter work for $50-$100 a night when they could make more up or down the street. Unfortunately when restaurants expand they rarely think about all those new people manning the stations.
    Best kept secret? Order all the sides at Delfina pizzeria, better yet eat them at home as a picnic!

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