I rarely get over to SF for dinner, so I mostly just read the reviews on the board and fantasize about good meals. In the last week however, I had two opportunities to eat in SF, so I thought I would report back.
First we were taken out to dinner by some people I did not know too well, so I wanted to pick something reasonably priced and tasty. I had read about Watercress here and thought that would fit the bill.
Overall, I think it was a good choice. We went on a Wednesday night, and there were very few people there, which was too bad. For appetizers, I got the cured salmon, which was good- firm and flavorful, and my partner got the fried calamari, which I thought was the weakest part of the meal - it seemed very generic, a little greasy with bland marinera sauce.
The entrees were all good, I got duck, which was very moist and over yummy mash potatoes. Partner had the steak ($5 extra) which was good, but served with a couple of fried potato wedges that were not too exciting.
By far the best part of the meal was the dessert. The profiteroles were amazing! I would go back just for that. Our dinner mates got other desserts that looked good also, a baked apple thing and something else. Overall, the food was good, not overly memorable, but a great deal. It did seem a little forelorn to be eating with so few people where so many other restaurants are always packed. Hopefully business will pick up.
A few days later we were taking a friend out for her 30th birthday at Zuni Cafe (we gave here a list of 30 restaurants to choose from in honor of her birthday, and she picked Zuni). As it was a birthday celebration, the four of us went all out and it seemed like we ordered almost one of everything on the menu.
Overall we had an excellent dinner and a great time. To start we had a few oysters, an heirloom tomato feta salad, caesar salad and cured anchovies. I was the one advocating the anchovies, but I was actually a little disappointed in them. They came with parmesan, celery and olives, and the whole plate was drenched in olive oil. The parmesan cheese was the highlight of the plate, but I felt that the anchovies were a little bland and tasteless, and the celery didn't add anything at all. The other starters were more successful, with our favorite being the tomato salad probably. We had various cocktails accompanying this course, I had the bloody mary, which is not a drink I generally have, but the table next to us was drinking them and they looked good - it was excellent.
Service was very good. Our waitress was very friendly - the tomato salad came significantly before the other appetizers which we found a little unusual for that type of restaurant, but when our waitress came and saw that, she was also surprised and horrified, and apologized profusely. It didn't matter to us really because we shared everything.
After that, while waiting for our entrees, we shared a plate of french fries to tide us over b/c they warned us that the chicken would take a while. Maybe it was the company, but everything seemed timed well, and we never felt that we were waiting.
As entrees, I had the squab, two had the chicken, and the birthday girl had the steak (some unusual cut, I can't remember then name). We all thoroughly enjoyed the entrees, and were completely stuffed by the end. The squab was very juicy and tasty. It came with a corn onion gratin which was amazing, and some dandelion greens. Everything did seem a little oily - I couldn't really eat the greens because they were soaked. In a number of the meals it seemed like someone was a little free with the olive oil.
The steak and chicken were also well received, and we managed to clean our plates. The bread salad had a little bit of the greasy problem, but the chicken itself was stellar and the steak was very tasty.
For dessert we had a flourless chocolate cake and blueberry peach tart which were good.
Overall, I would have prefered the food to be a touch less greasy, but would definitely love to go there again. It's in the high range for our budget, but was well worth it and a great birthday treat.