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SF: La Terrasse – Deal or No Deal … Breakfast (sort of), lunch and the Chez Spencer connection

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SF: La Terrasse – Deal or No Deal … Breakfast (sort of), lunch and the Chez Spencer connection

rworange | Apr 30, 2008 12:41 PM

First – La Terrasse is a dream in terms of transportation – there is a bus stop right in front (with benches) and for drivers there is a large parking lot.

After the fact, when I read that it was owned by Laurent Katgely, who also owns Chez Spencer, and Antoine Alliaume of Curbside Café … well, it all made sense.

CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST

Monday thru Friday from 7am to 11 am, there is a little straw basket of pastries and French sandwiches on the bar next to self-serve coffee pots.

Some of the pastries are baked in-house and others are baked by … IIRC … City of Paris. Taste-wise they seemed identical.

The house-baked blueberry custard pastry was good. With cappuccino the tab was under $5. The pastries were $1.25,

Eating this on a sunny patio ... half of a Golden Gate bridge tower visible through the Presidio pines ... the table shaded by a Chimay umbrella ... watching the boats glide by on the bay … DEAL … given the view ... the best deal in SF, IMO.

Pre-wrapped sandwiches include –

- Smoked ham with mustard and butter $5
- Gruyere with mustard and butter $5
- Proscuitto with mustard and butter $6
- Scrambled eggs with chives $5

Think the type of pre-wrapped French sandwiches Bay Breads serves.
.
LUNCH

It was 10:50am so I also ordered the lunch special that day ... wood-fired oven pizza with goat cheese and wild mushrooms ($12). The draft Kroenburg ($5) was served in a glass from the brewery.

The single-serving pizza was lovely. It is a thin tender crust with charred blister bubbles.

There was a thin spread of a nice tomato sauce, tasty slices of red pepper, creamy goat cheese and various mushrooms. A sprinkle of chopped fresh green herbs gave it nice color.

While not in the amazing-memorable class, I was happy with it.

The only caveat I would have is that everything is about $2 - $5 more than it should be ... but there are times when you need to sit out on a patio watching the boats glide by on the bay ... and I'd pay similar prices at other view restaurants without food that was as good.

NO DEAL for lunch. I would recommend La Terrasse to anyone for weekday breakfast pastries and only for lunch with the understanding it is on the pricy side.

The lunch crowd was older, well-heeled and well-coifed. I’m guessing price wasn’t relevant.

RESTAURANT

The view is nice but isn’t the most stellar in the city. La Terrasse is near the building that was the old Burger King (too bad it wasn’t in that building).

There is a big parking lot in front which is a slight minus in terms of ambiance. A few buildings take away little pieces of the Bay view but there is still enough.

I cannot imagine eating inside though. It has an airy high-ceiling and a modern lodge look, but the tables are too close together and I would feel cramped. The patio tables are nicely spaced.

There is a little bar with a large TV and maybe 10 seats. There is a little view of the Presidio from one end, but sitting at the bar your back is to the Bay.

There are pictures of the restaurant on the website’s main page.

SERVICE

After reading all 70 plus reviews on Yelp … they are not far off … but I put the blame on the general manager, not the servers.

Breakfast is self-serve. The staff was setting up for lunch. The hostess was cold and distant. The bartender was nice, but not all that helpful. Asked what type of coffee was served I was told … regular or decaf … sigh. I went with the cappuccino which was lovely … whatever unknown company roasted the bean … it was strong with a nice foam.

However, I was not quite sure if it was ok to sit down. I asked a number of times before resolving it was ok to sit anywhere I wanted. I was the only person in the joint at this point.

This might have been a very different review had I not had the server from heaven. She followed up on every question I asked.

I was actually enthused about being there because of the view and the sunny day … sort of like the stray mutt on the street who just wags its tail so much you gotta like it. Even the cool hostess eventually warmed up and smiled at me.

None of the staff was bad … the just were not properly trained or managed. That is too bad because I remember Chez Spencer as having an attentive, charming staff. It seems like this could be possible here.

I remember when Chez Spencer opened the intention was to offer breakfast pastries and weekend brunch. It was the wrong neighborhood for that. It is nice that some of that was realized at La Terrasse.

There are mentions on Yelp of live jazz in the evening, but I haven’t seen anything about that on the website.

This is a good though not great restaurant that is seems to be poorly managed. That is a shame. While the food is not in the same class as Chez Spencer, it seems this restaurant could be much, much more with some minor adjustments.

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La Terrasse
Lincoln Blvd and Graham St, San Francisco, CA 94129

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