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Sep 9, 2006 02:10 AM

Canteen -- Why the Buzz?

Lunch at Canteen was such a disappointment. After reading all the great press, I expected something a little more memorable.

I don't remember being that underwhelmed in a such a long time. The appetizer was good, but an unspectacular corn soup. Same goes for the swordfish (w/ a pedestrian curry sauce), followed by the only available dessert: a slice of applesauce cake that could easily have been something served at an office potluck.

The service was great, but I think one can do much better for that kind of money.

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  1. Do you really love swordfish or something? What were the other entree choices?

    1. How much was your swordfish? I don't recall prices for lunch at Canteen being more than $12 or so...which is pretty reasonable. Can you recommend other places that are better for the quality and price point at Canteen for brunch/lunch?

      My favorites at Canteen are more brunch-oriented, the cream cheese/salmon omelet and above all the eggs benedict.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Frosty Melon

        Better places for brunch? Based on my Canteen brunch experience, just about any place that cracks an egg (and some that don't). If it had been someplace like Al's on Mission or the Tennessee Grill on Taraval, I'd had said "Well, What do expect for $12" But for thirty dollars and all the hype, what I had at Canteen (Beef Hash and French Toast) was a travesty.

        1. re: bdl

          The hash is what? $10? The French toast $8? If you spent $30, then you ordered other things as well. Their prices are totally in line with almost every other place I've been in SF that serves breakfast. Benedict for $9.25 is a buck or two cheaper than almost anywhere else. The Benedict at Al's is 50 cents cheaper and I hate to think what kind of Sysco powder they're using for the Hollandaise.

          1. re: Atomica

            Plus Coffee, 2 OJs and tip but let me be clear...I have no problem with the prices. I went to Canteen for a special occasion and expected to pay that much. My problem was with the quality of the food. The french toast was three thin slices of what seemed like Wonder Bread in a flavorless, limp batter with watery strawberry sauce and the only redeemer, a small dollup of whipped goat cheese. My Hash tasted like day old unseasoned, shredded potroast tossed together in a bowl with anemic potatoes and some scallions. There was no real seasoning or any brown crustiness that I want in a hash. It literally seemed like they threw together some of the home fries with some leftover meat and threw it on a plate. The poached eggs were nice, though. Maybe I ordered the wrong kind of hash, and maybe there are better things on the menu...this is only my experience. Okay, maybe they're no WORSE than Al's.

            1. re: bdl

              Wow, sounds like a very different hash than the one we got. Our beef was excellent, and everything was well-seasoned if not a little salty. The leeks gave this hash a unique sweet, herbal note. Potatoes were brown in parts and had absorbed all the flavor/fat of everything else on the plate. We liked the hash better than the benedict...

              Dark photo of beef hash:

              Look forward to going back to Canteen to try the pancake and dinner. Brunch prices were completely reasonable, and I like the personal experience of such a small joint.

      2. Having tried a lot of corned beef hash in this town, I thought the house-smoked brisket in Canteen's version was outstanding. I also love the puffed pancake which is a very big portion. I haven't had the French toast though. The other corned beef hash I like is the red flannel one at Kate's Kitchen.

        1. The eggs benedict and the pancake are always excellent and a very fair price. I'm so pleased with those two dishes I haven't really tried the rest of the menu. I have read multiple negative reports on the French Toast, and most praise for the hash has been for the corned beef hash which is not always available.. It sounds to me like Canteen hits a home run with some dishes, and falls flat with others.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Morton the Mousse

            The salt cod hash was one of the best dishes I've had period...

          2. I've always had great brunches at Canteen. Their eggs benedict is great, but what really floored me during my last visit was their "one big pancake with stewed blueberries". The blueberries were perfectly stewed with just enough sweetness and their pancakes has to be the lightest and tastiest pancakes I have ever tried.

            It makes me drool just thinking about the pancakes.