I have eaten at Radius once before (in February right before the chef change), and my meal then was so perfect in every way that I felt like I'd stumbled upon a real undiscovered gem - stunning food, "just right" service, at a price point that felt like it could have been much higher and it still would have seemed reasonable for the quality of the food and experience.
Remembering how amazing my first experience was makes last night's dinner all the more disappointing. My parents are visiting from NYC and asked me to book a place where they could enjoy some local California cuisine, and Radius immediately came to mind. We had an 8PM reservation on Friday and the place was packed. We waited for 15 or so minutes at the bar then were seated in the back room. Our server was friendly and took our wine/oyster order straight away. This is when the real waiting began... we must have waited 30 minutes before he came back with the wine. In the mean time a different server came by and took our menus away, even though we had not ordered entrees yet. Eventually our server came back with the wine, but the oysters took another 15 minutes to appear. Oysters were lovely, Marin Miyagis. But by now it's getting late, my parents are getting tired (old people with jetlag!) and we are all starving. We beg a different server for some bread that we see other tables being served. Finally our server returns looking a bit flustered to take our entree order. He recommended the miso glazed cod so my Mom and I get that, my Dad orders the pork duo (honey brined tenderloin and crispy pork belly). When our food finally appears I can tell immediately that something is up with the fish. My Mom immediately remarked "these look like fish sticks!". It was kind of bizarre - that is exactly what they were. Each plate had three little strips of some kind of ambiguous fish (I am not confident that it was cod, it was very stringy like skate wing). It seemed like the fish had been deep fried without being dipped in batter first. Certainly there was no taste of miso, no glaze to be seen, in fact I think someone had forgotten to season it at all. My Dad's pork tenderloin was well prepared, but the pork belly was extremely undercooked. The fat was not rendered at all, the meat was too tough to cut. It was inedible.
Our waiter came back quickly and started apologizing before we could open our mouths. He said the kitchen was overwhelmed tonight and he'd be happy to switch our orders. We decided to go a more safe route and ordered the steak and chicken. They sent us a cheese plate and a pea panna cotta while we waited. While we waited, we watched the same scenario play out at the table next to us - people sending back dishes and getting a bottle of wine comped.
Was this an off night, or has Radius gone completely downhill with a new kitchen/new chef? I am so disappointed that I took my parents here for one out of only two dinners they will have in SF.
1123 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94105
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