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Sub-par meal at Sauce

Dave MP | | Jan 28, 2008 09:02 PM

In the long thread about Dine About Town, VirgoBlue describes the food at Sauce as sub-par. I think that statement really sums it up, especially for a meal in that price range.

I went last night (Sunday) with two others, planning to try the DAT menu. However, upon looking at various options, we decided it would be just as economical to order from the main menu, sharing appetizers and desserts.

The first thing I noticed about the restaurant was that it was loud! There was some techno-ish music playing quietly in the background, but people were talking loudly and something about the acoustics made it very difficult to hear my DCs. Other than that I thought the room was comfortable, although my dining companions were less thrilled with the decor.

Bread basket arrived first - parmesan focaccia or something like that - pretty dry, not much flavor. My DC asked for some butter - waitress replied "really? you know they are soaked in olive oil..." - but after some persuasion brought some butter (unsalted and not too good either).

We started off with the tater tots (Smoked Ham Hock & Tillamook Cheddar) and the crab wontons with orange/mango reduction. Both were unimpressive. The tater tots were not hot, as if they had been fried earlier and re-heated. The flavor was okay though, in a greasy pub food kind of way. The crab wontons were very disappointing, especially at 14 dollars. I guess they used real crab meat, but these were pretty measly and flavorless - I much prefer the crab rangoons from Mandarin Villa, just two blocks away and 1/3 the price.

I was somewhat tempted by the mac and cheese until I saw a plate of it on the next table, and it looked very soupy, so I veared away and ordered the pork tenderloin. It was described as: Nutmeg Dusted Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potato Risotto, Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Apple Demi. The pork itself was cooked well, and was dusted in 5-Spice (not just nutmeg). Nothing too exciting, but not bad. The risotto was pretty tasty, one of the better things on the table, but the brussel sprouts were undercooked and not particularly seasoned. I expect better vegetable sides at a restaurant of this (supposed) caliber.

One DC ordered the meatloaf: "Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf Individually Roasted, Seasoned Ground Beef Wrapped in Apple Wood Smoked Bacon with Truffle Whipped Potato, French Green Beans & Mushrooms.

The meatloaf was interesting, had a familiar flavor I couldn't quite identify, but was very firm and almost burgerlike. The potatoes were pretty tasty, but the mushrooms and string beans were a joke. Ditto my vegetable comment above, and add four exclamation marks.

Third DC had skirt steak, which also tasted somewhat like Chinese 5-Spice. Served with some oddly chopped fresh spinach with crispy something (onions? tasted like the little bits of batter that are at the bottom of your box of fried clams). Also some cheesy broccoli. Definitely not worth 24 dollars.

We decided to skip dessert.

Total bill for this meal was 107 dollars for the 3 of us, before tip. This included two bottles of water (at 6 dollars each). If we had had wine, we would have been over 50 per person w/ tip, which in San Francisco can get you significantly better meals. It is not often that I go out to meals that cost me more than 25 dollars (let alone 35 or 40) and it's a bummer when the food is so mediocre. Zin in Healdsburg and NOPA in SF both have similar style of food, but both were much better and similarly priced. Q in the Richmond is also similar style, probably a bit better, and definitely less expensive.

Dave MP

131 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102