Got into Absinthe on a Friday night without a reservation - seemingly a miracle at this "in" spot in the toney Hayes Valley. My companion had the Coq au Vin which was tender and had a great deal of flavor. I chose the cassoulet which I found so disapointingly bland that it was overwhelmed by a glass of Gigondas. I made one out of Julia Child at New Years which beat the heck out of this one and Chapeau!'s is several cuts above their's as well.
I'm always mentioning Absinthe it seems. I love it, but for a lot of reasons. Sometimes they miss on the food, but usually things are really good. When you go fairly often, like we do, you get your favorites and learn what they do well. Coq Au vin is definitely one of them. I used to live in the Lower Haight and we'd walk there a lot. As for Hayes Valley being "toney", that never occurred to me. Part of the reason I love Absinthe is that we can show up in less than chic dress and feel perfectly comfortable. I've also never had trouble getting in wihout a reservation (even on Valentine's Day!), except for the sad occasions when we show up on a Monday forgetting that they're closed. Absinthe just has such a great atmosphere. It's my favorite place to go. Great cocktails, cheese plate, Croque Monsieur, coq au vin, burger and more. Yum!