We stopped in at Cafe Grillades for lunch this week, on the corner of Octavia and Hayes. They've done a lot with the sunny space; still it's cavernous and seems to be confused about its identity. Algerian restaurant? crepes? wifi cafe? gelateria? yes.
I had the merguez with mashed potatoes, and my friend had couscous with vegetables. We also shared an order of veggie boureks.
The sausage was fine, and salads were good (mesclun mix out of a bag, but good). Couscous was a little dry. I would have liked more interesting condiments. Boureks were fine, if not memorable.
My mashed potatoes seemed to have mozzarella cheese in them--yuk! I didn't taste it but noticed strings as I raised the fork to my mouth. Very odd.
Service was friendly but confused. Food came right out, drinks didn't. Water showed up eventually. A $2.50 pot of tea was just mint leaves that then oversteeped because there was nowhere to put the basket. It was midafternoon, and hardly anyone was there, but various servers kept trying to clear our plates even though we were still eating.
Came to $19 each including tip, which felt a little steep for lunch if not for dinner. Seems like an ideal spot to hang for breakfast, or bring your laptop and try to hold onto your plate.
We then wandered over to Blue Bottle for the most perfect cappucino. There's something about those BB beans; they leave a truly sweet taste in your mouth.