Restaurants & Bars

San Francisco Bay Area

Boston Hound in SF: Round 1 (Aqua)

Share:

Live your best food life.

Sign up to discover your next favorite restaurant, recipe, or cookbook in the largest community of knowledgeable food enthusiasts.
Sign Up For Free
Restaurants & Bars 3

Boston Hound in SF: Round 1 (Aqua)

JBM | Mar 22, 2004 12:22 AM

Hi All. Boston hound here. I'm in SF for 10 days and am planning on eating and drinking my face off. I'll try to report in whenever possible.

So, round 1: Aqua. Saturday March 20

Summary: Food = very good. Service = crap.

Part of the problem with Aqua is the design. Just way too many tables. The waitstaff was bumping into one another the whole night. The tables were on top of each other to the point that servers couldn’t talk to us without sitting on the table next door. Cut back by three tables and the whole thing would change. Also, there was an odd dichotomy to the waitstaff. Half the staff appeared professional, full-time high-end staff. The other half was the reject squad from TGI Fridays. College kids. No concept of fine dining. For the amount of money Aqua is charging, I damn well better be pampered. I was not.

Alright, what did we have?

First off: wine. The sommelier came by and asked us if we wanted help. I am a firm believer in getting advice from the person who should know the list best. I explained that we wanted white and didn’t want to “break the bank.” Ok, that’s vague, I admit. Still, the first wine the Sommelier pointed to was $98. The next 5 suggestions were over $80. Maybe that isn’t “breaking the bank” to most Aqua customers but I was thinking half of that. The Sommelier should have at least pointed to the price and asked “is this within your range?” We ended up picking our own wine in our range and that wine was not good.

Amuse: ahi tuna slice crusted in spices with a roasted pepper sauce. Boring. Nothing special. Potato, cheese and cauliflower soup. Great! The perfect amuse – rich and complex, served in a small espresso cup.

We started with shared apps: Hamachi: avocado, pine nuts and ruby red grapefruit vinaigrette and Tartare of ahi tuna: Moroccan spices, lemon confit and fresh herbs. The tuna was wonderful. However, the delivery was HORRIBLE. The waiter put the plate in front of me and then proceeded to lean completely over me, pushing me back in my chair, as he spent 2 whole minutes mixing up the tuna with the spices. Now, I appreciate that the dish was all about the combination of flavors. However, this mixing could have been done off table or, at least, to the side. The waiter was literally sitting in my lap and playing with my food. Totally tacky. That being said, the tuna tasted amazing! I would order this again and again, though not if the waiter was going to sit on me to serve it.

Main courses: Pacific Swordfish with Dungeness crab, artichoke ragout and warm citrus condiment. Fantastic. Alaskan King Salmon with lemon potato croquettes, cipollini onions, warm dill and caviar cream. Tolerable. Too much dill. Just not anything special.

Dessert: cherry crème broule. I love CB. Nuff said.

All in all, unspectacular. The food was good to great. The service was crap. Part of it was design (too many tables) and part was performance (TGI Friday Guy). Would I ever go again? Nope. Not worth the cash.

More reports to come….


Hi All. Boston hound here. I'm in SF for 10 days and am planning on eating and drinking my face off. I'll try to report in whenever possible.

So, round 1: Aqua. Saturday March 20

Summary: Food = very good. Service = crap.

Part of the problem with Aqua is the design. Just way too many tables. The waitstaff was bumping into one another the whole night. The tables were on top of each other to the point that servers couldn’t talk to us without sitting on the table next door. Cut back by three tables and the whole thing would change. Also, there was an odd dichotomy to the waitstaff. Half the staff appeared professional, full-time high-end staff. The other half was the reject squad from TGI Fridays. College kids. No concept of fine dining. For the amount of money Aqua is charging, I damn well better be pampered. I was not.

Alright, what did we have?

First off: wine. The sommelier came by and asked us if we wanted help. I am a firm believer in getting advice from the person who should know the list best. I explained that we wanted white and didn’t want to “break the bank.” Ok, that’s vague, I admit. Still, the first wine the Sommelier pointed to was $98. The next 5 suggestions were over $80. Maybe that isn’t “breaking the bank” to most Aqua customers but I was thinking half of that. The Sommelier should have at least pointed to the price and asked “is this within your range?” We ended up picking our own wine in our range and that wine was not good.

Amuse: ahi tuna slice crusted in spices with a roasted pepper sauce. Boring. Nothing special. Potato, cheese and cauliflower soup. Great! The perfect amuse – rich and complex, served in a small espresso cup.

We started with shared apps: Hamachi: avocado, pine nuts and ruby red grapefruit vinaigrette and Tartare of ahi tuna: Moroccan spices, lemon confit and fresh herbs. The tuna was wonderful. However, the delivery was HORRIBLE. The waiter put the plate in front of me and then proceeded to lean completely over me, pushing me back in my chair, as he spent 2 whole minutes mixing up the tuna with the spices. Now, I appreciate that the dish was all about the combination of flavors. However, this mixing could have been done off table or, at least, to the side. The waiter was literally sitting in my lap and playing with my food. Totally tacky. That being said, the tuna tasted amazing! I would order this again and again, though not if the waiter was going to sit on me to serve it.

Main courses: Pacific Swordfish with Dungeness crab, artichoke ragout and warm citrus condiment. Fantastic. Alaskan King Salmon with lemon potato croquettes, cipollini onions, warm dill and caviar cream. Tolerable. Too much dill. Just not anything special.

Dessert: cherry crème broule. I love CB. Nuff said.

All in all, unspectacular. The food was good to great. The service was crap. Part of it was design (too many tables) and part was performance (TGI Friday Guy). Would I ever go again? Nope. Not worth the cash.

More reports to come….

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound