Had dinner with two friends at Picco, the restaurant, in Larkspur on Friday night based on strong review in SF Chronicle. I agree that the food is quite good but the prices are outrageous. So the "aren't we clever" Real Restaurants people think people in Marin will pay anything for their prescious food. I don't see myself, or my two friends, going back.
To start, I could not find a red wine on the list for less than $40. To get something more reasonable I would have had to go to a sauvignon blanc, and I am just not fond of that. So we got a $42 zinfandel, I believe it was D Cubed and decided we'd just have one bottle of wine, and then go drink another somewhere cheaper.
"Dare to Share," is their motto like everybody hasn't been eating small plates and sharing them since Fog City opened 25 years ago? The reason you might not want to dare to share is you'll go home hungry. We told our rather inattentive waiter we would "start with" the Sonoma duck, $20.50; the Florida shrimp, $15.95; and marinated beets. The beets were delicious, and fairly plentiful. The duck was 6 - 7 slices, tasty but closer to an entree price than a small plate, which is what it was. The shrimp were quite good, and I'd say the price was almost fair for that plate but still on the high end.
The waiter kept taking our menus and wine list even though we had indicated we planned to order another round of dishes, so we hid a menu and the wine list on the banquette. We were served by someone other than our waiter and we didn't see him again until he gave us the check. We gave up on ordering more mains and ordered a cheese course from the server. We just got a mild Bellwether farms selection for $7 or $8. It would have been fine if they had given us a decent sized portion. This was a thin wedge, not wider than an inch at the widest point.
People around us seemed to be enjoying themselves. Perhaps Bruce Hill and Real Restaurants have found an audience in the type of Marin diners that neither I nor my friends are.