On most days Murray Circle restaurant is top-notch. The food is locally sourced and prepared with care and artistry. And the view is the best in the bay.
The restaurant let me down on Valentine's day, though, and badly. Only one aspect was less than their normally high standards, but it was the food! The quality of the dishes weirdly got worse as the courses came.
The amuse-bouche was a cheeze ball, a wonderful pastry with a nice mild and melted cheese inside. We were now ready for great things.
Then came my romaine salad and my wife's leek soup. Both good, not great. Then a tall thin bowl of papardelle and mushrooms that seemed a little undercooked (pre al dente) and my wife's scallop which was perfectly cooked and of all things over-salted. Then came the real disappointments; the entrees.
I go to conferences around the country frequently. This gives me the experience to recognize a dish that was prepared in advance and reheated. If my beef loin and my wife's chicken breast were not preheated, then the chef went to more trouble than these boring throw-offs were worth. I've honestly had better at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, a Hyatt ballroom in Dallas and most recently at a Churchill Club dinner in SF.
Why do I care enough to write my first bad review? I've got plenty of good ones on Chow.com under the moniker chewchewchew. My wife loved the ambiance and thought the evening special, so why bitch?
The bill, omg, the bill. $318 before tip (with wine pairings). And: They didn't say that it would be a prix-fixe menu on OpenTable, and there were no prices on the menu. On Valentine's day what am I going to do, ask? Or go have a quiet conversation with the server, find out it's a rip-off and tell my wife to "get up, honey, we're leaving"? It turns out that holiday prix-fixe menues are money-maker schemes at a ton of places, however I didn't expect to get screwed this badly, especially at a place I thought was a no-brainer for a special occasion.
Last Point for those Still Reading... :) I went from regular Army (2/75 Rangers + 3/60 Infantry) to the Army Reserves stationed at what's now known as Cavallo Point. I worked in the building where you check into the resort and the one next to Murray Circle.
I _so_ want this to be my spot in the Bay Area to take my wife so I can show her around and generally remember a nice part of my life. So when I received what felt like a willful act of rip-offery it hurt. One more of these experiences and I'm not going back at all, and that would be a shame.
(Out of ten, adjusted for what they charge for it)
Food - 3
Ambiance - 10 (best views in the bay area - eat outside)
Service - 8 (good and professional)
Noise - 6 (music too obtrusive)