About a month ago I posted a note asking for help in selecting a restaurant for our anniversary dinner. We were coming in from San Francisco (to visit the worlds most beautiful granddaughter!) and had narrowed the list down to Higgins or Wildwood, but were open to other suggestions. Several people thought that Hurleys should be on our list - I had ruled it out because my wife is a vegetarian and they didnt seem to have too many options. Taking the boards comments to heart, we did, in fact, end up having dinner at Hurleys. The bottom line: the food is terrific but the service is decidedly mixed.
First and foremost, the food is worth the trip and Thomas Hurley is the real thing. I ate rather predictably - foie gras and scallops on a bed of celery root puree to start and then duck prepared two ways - but both dishes were simply wonderful and very satisfying. I only tried one of my wifes dishes a smoky, savory flan and it was full of complex, layered flavors. Folks, this is good food! The tarte tatin we shared for dessert was good, but not at the level of the rest of the food. Finally, the prices were extremely fair. Eating this well in San Francisco would cost at least 50% more
The service, however, is a mixed bag. Id made the reservations on Open Table and, as I always do, filled out the Special Requests box to indicate that one of us was a vegetarian. Ive probably used Open Table forty or fifty times to make reservations in the Bay Area, but this was the first time someone from the restaurant actually called in advance to find out exactly what my wife would and wouldnt eat. (A very sensible idea, given that vegetarians these days range from people like my wife - dairy and eggs are fine to full blown militant vegans.) Ten points for service above and beyond the call of duty! Two other positive comments on the service: Chef Hurley came out of the kitchen to chat with my wife and ask if shed be willing to put herself completely in his hands (of course!); and we both thought that the staff was warm and personable. The glitches: we were seated fairly quickly but then ignored for at least ten minutes. Since we were starving, we finally corralled someone and asked for bread, but it took fifteen minutes to arrive. At about the ten minute mark our waiter apologized for the delay, saying the bread wasnt quite hot enough yet. When it finally did arrive the plate was too hot to touch but the bread itself was lukewarm. That took fifteen minutes? Also, my wine glass stayed empty for too long. You shouldnt have to refill your own glass at a restaurant of this caliber.
Ill chalk up the service problems to an off night and will look forward to a return visit.