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Restaurants & Bars 1

(SF) Andalu revisit - mediocre experience an anomaly or no?

sfliz | Apr 19, 200303:20 PM

Hi all -

I just went to Andalu (16th & Valencia / in the Mission) after a 1.25 year absence (around...Nov. 2001 perhaps was my last visit?).

My party of 2 (thank you, for "low interaction" reservation making) arrived on time.

The table wasn't ready (I chalked this up to my luck - if I had been late by 5-10 minutes, usually my reservations are lost or I get an evil glare from the hostess). We were shunted off to the end of the counter for drinks - it wasn't really a bar area - but I could understand the hostess not wanting her waiting area to get crowded.

About 15 minutes later we were seated upstairs (aka The Birthday Room - I think about 5 diff. b-day parties funneled through there that evening).

We ordered:
* Ahi Tartare taco-y things ("house specialty"). I'd had these before and was excited to try them again
* coca cola braised spare ribs w/fava beans
* steak with onion rings
* grilled pork with onions

I had a glass of the white & red sangria through the course of the evening.

The temperature of the meats, when they arrived at the table, was lukewarm to room temperature. Having not had their food in so long, I couldn't remember if they just served it that way or not.

Also, the sliced steak was ordered "medium" tho it came "medium rare" (caveat: i like medium rare but the other 50% of my party wanted it medium..."wink wink" joke to anyone who's read "Kitchen Confidential" as to how cooks prepare medium - to - well done beef)

I think the food was fine, but due to the lukewarm-ness of the meat...I was not getting that "mm mm I need to hoover up every morsel" feeling that I usually get with kick ass grub. However I was getting a strong whiff of all the meats (I smelled grilled steak, possibly some pancetta, etc) getting cooked as we were seated right by the edge, over the bar area, and what must've led to the kitchen area... This did not bother me, but I did notice it...and thought that if any vegetarians were sitting here they'd probably get grossed out.

I asked the waiter kindly if the meals were supposed to be, "er, lukewarm." He expressed surprise, and informed us that they were indeed supposed to be served piping hot. We were not visibly upset (especially since we'd eaten most everything)...just shrugged it off as "useful information"...the server didn't offer any amends (though I'm not sure what he should have done, if anything).

The final bill, with 15% tip was about $91. This included 3 glasses of sangria and 2 beers. Given the the mediocre experience with the food, I have to say that we left with a "negative ROI."

Oddly, I recall having been there the last time and the food (ahi, and other meat dishes) really grabbed my attention, so who knows what's up. Does anyone have any similar experiences? Or did I just catch them on an off nite (tho they seemed packed!).


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