The Squirt: Attractive Restaurant with Great French Cuisine
Must Eats: Escargots de Bourgogne; Cassoulet Maison
Note: Mixed Review- Excellent Food But Server was Substandard
The Grand Cafe is located in the Union Square district of San Francisco. There is definitely an impressive air to the restaurant and it has a classic look to it with high ceilings and an atmosphere of grandeur. One can easily see how it got its name.
As is customary with TwoSquirts, to add a personal element in mentioning our servers in our reviews, our server for the evening was Gary. We do have to honestly say that the service we received from Gary was not in line with the rest of our experience at Grand Cafe. TwoSquirts take pride in being positive, but we also must always be honest. After we were taken to our table by the friendly restaurant host, it took a really loooong time for our server, Gary, to even acknowledge us and to even take our drink order. We estimate between 10 to 15 minutes to be specific. After a while, we actually thought that we were not even assigned a server. While we were attempting to wave down another server to see if someone could take our order, Gary finally came over and acknowledged us. He apologized for the long wait, but did appear to be aloof and disinterested in taking care of us, even afterwards, throughout our entire dinner. We did notice, however, the other servers being very attentive to their own guests, but definitely not “our Gary” (yes, a bit of sarcasm).
We did place our order, with Gary, for a Chateaus La Commanderie de Queyret, Entre-Deux-Mers 2008 (Bordeaux Blanc), but we were brought over a red wine in error by the sommelier. We are sure, that our selection was not relayed to the sommelier correctly. The sommelier was indeed very apologetic and was cordial and then happily brought over the correct one to us. Anyway, the wine was delicious and fit our meal very well.
For an appetizer, Ren ordered the Soup a L’Oignon Graitnée (French Onion Soup) which he enjoyed; especially the nice hint of thyme which added a savory flair to it. I ordered the Escargots de Bourgogne, which were burgundy snails baked in persillade butter. They were really outstanding and very tender and bursting with flavor. If I could have, I would have ordered another order.
For dinner, we ordered two entrees and shared the both of them. The first was the Friday Fish Special which was grilled salmon, which came with a really delicious julienne-style vegetable ensemble. The salmon was perfectly prepared, and the vegetables were really tender yet hearty.
Our second entree was the Cassoulet Maison which was somewhat like a stew with boudin blanc (white pudding), duck confit, lamb shoulder, garlic-pork sausage, smoked bacon and butter beans. This was our favorite out of the two entrees. The meat was outstanding and the beans were fabulous- truly buttery and tender.
Our experience at Grand Cafe was definitely a mixed one- excellent in terms of food and disappointing in terms of service we received from our server, Gary. This is not a very common experience for us at TwoSquirts. Instead of not posting a review for Grand Cafe, at all, we chose to justly praise the restaurant for their food, but we also had to be honest about the service from our server being substandard. We could have not left a tip at all for Gary, but we did still leave one, just not the customary 20% or more that we leave for excellent servers. We did leave him 15%, as a professional courtesy, but not more than that.
As we mentioned earlier, in observing the other servers with their guests, we are sure that one could have a fully satisfying experience at Grand Cafe. We do have to suggest that the management of Grand Cafe, take note of how their servers are interacting with their guests. One never knows when a review will be posted about one’s experience at their restaurant. One could argue that it might have just been an “off” day for Gary, but we tend to not think that. Besides, one should never allow him or herself to have an “off” day when serving guests.
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Be sure when you visit Grand Cafe in San Francisco, CA, that you say that you were referred to them by Roy and Ren from twosquirts.com.