Having read the Chronicle's review of the Meyer Lemon Ice Cream, I decided as a treat to finally check out Chez Panisse
As a student at Cal many moons ago, I had "heard" of it but of course, the student budget never allowed me to go.
My husband and I went on Tuesday - we were served:
Chino Ranch Charentais melon with herb salad and prosciutto
Involtini of petrale sole with greens and pine nuts
Sonoma Liberty Ranch duck breast and leg with fresh shell beans,
romano beans, and pancetta-wrapped figs
Almond panna cotta with plum caramel
We opted for the extra Cheese course, which I enjoyed as well.
When I received the call to confirm, I asked if there was a dress code and was informed there was not. Fully intending to change into at the very least khakis and sweater, my husband and I got stuck in the City doing errands and ended up showing up in Jeans and a T-Shirt and myself in shorts and a T. Even though there were some people dressed to the nines, the staff did not bat an eye, nor did we get treated any differently.
After the meal, I noticed that there is a 17% service fee attached. I was going to add a few dollars to make the amount an even number. The service was so good that I had to ask the server if the "service fee" included a gratuity for the server. I was informed that the service fee is assessed so that the entire staff can receive a living wage - which is rare in this industry (I adjusted the "tip" accordingly).
From what I had heard, I knew that the menu changed daily, but did not understand there is a distinction between the Upstairs cafe and the Dining Room. Thank you Chowhounds for clarifying.
I just have to say that I was a bit disheartened to receive a "Craiglist" type response to my original post.
Thanks again Chowhounds.