Going to San Francisco over President's Day, and friends are suggesting Universal Cafe or Gordon's. Any recent experiences with these two places? Have heard Universal has a new chef?
I like the food at Gordon's, but on the last two visits the service has not been good. When we were there last February our chat with the very nice server somehow turned to how often she washes her hair, which was more information than we wanted. She was fine otherwise, and the meal was good, but we're still laughing about the hair washing. On another visit (in, I think, June) our server was just plain bad, the low point being his removing our wine bottle before we had finished it. We managed to retrieve it, but topping off our glasses would have been preferable!
Anyway, the food has been well-prepared, the menu is organized in an interesting way and the bar has also been good. I hope that in our current restaurant economy Gordon has been able to hire more professional servers.
I think Gordon's actually ASPIRES to uber-friendly waiters who share a BIT more information than you really need. On a recent visit, the restaurant was slow, and we offered a bit of wine to our server. He took that as an invitation to pull up a chair!
However, he was gone before long, to bring us our YUMMY dinners - I'd never been there before, and I was quite pleasantly surprised. And, I really like their "concept" menus - they go from "comfort food" to "luxury eats", and it's sort of fun.
Anyway, great preparation, fine meal, great selection of dessert wines would definitely bring me back.
We rarely go back to places that aren't in the nabe or favorite Asian spots, but we've been to Gordon's half a dozen times, though not lately. I'll admit part of the reason is that it's open at our normal late-evening dining hour, but we've generally had pretty good food there (I love the fried chicken), though, if I were pinned to the wall, I'd say it hasn't remained quite as sparklingly good as the first couple of times when it was new and the economy was still humming.
Unlike Bacar, which is in my mind somewhat similar, I've never left muttering to myself!
As for a server's sharing secrets of his/her personal hygiene, the only thing that comes to mind is Miss Manners' "I beg your pardon!"
universal - fine if you live in the neighborhood and want breakfast or lunch.
gordons - no. go to slow club instead. for that matter, go to one of the dozens of great central american restaurants in the neighborhood, or go to slanted door, or go to delfina...
Gordon can be fun. Slow Club is good bet too. Universal is only open for dinner now I believe and the food by the new chef is very good. Perhaps too few meals in a weekend. I'd agree to try any of the central american eats in the area as well as Delfina and Slanted Door and Watergate and Firecraker and ............ have fun!