Perhaps the economic downturn has awakened my instincts
for value. Lat night I went to Zuni's, San Francisco's fabled bistro and was sadly idappointed. Things started well enough with a dozen assorted oysters from the west coast of North America. They were fresh and crisp, adorned only with lemon and a simple vinaigrette. I split appetizers with my dining partner and did enjoy the Ceaser salad (good but not mind blowing) and was less enthused with an unadorned item of air-dryed beef wrapped around a miniscule dollop of goat cheese (kind of a chessy beef jerky). Very unimaginative presentation and for $9 you get about 3 ounces of beef.
Dinner was a disaster. It was 40 minutes arriving after the appetizer. I ordered a pork chop with "potato
salad". A cold and rubbery block of pork was placed in front of me along with a side of plain boiled potatoes mixed with an uncooked green. The attention to detail was nil, the presentation flat--in short food I would be unwilling to serve to guests in my own home. Mediocre is a generous descriptive term
for what is being sold as upscale fare to unsuspecting top dollar paying hipsters.
In contrast, I had the extreme pleasure of digging into a giant bowl of Bun, topped with succulent pieces of BBQ chicken, fresh cukes, carrots and fried onions the previous night in San Jose at the Kim Huoung
for one-fifteenth the price and 50 times the pleasure. The pride of preparation and presentation was so apparent in this simple but beautiful meal, all lacking at the "name" restaurant.
I continue my search for greatness for less and enjoin fellow chowhounds to do likelwise.