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COCO 500 or TRES AGAVES or LULU

I know they are all quite different, but if you had to pick one place for an informal business lunch on Wednesday, where would you go? I've never been to COCO 500...TRES AGAVES did not blow me away on my only visit four months ago...it has been at least six years since I was last at LULU.

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  1. haven't been to tres agave's, I have heard good things about LULU from my chef friend that works at FL, But I absolutley love CoCo500... i would go there..

    here's my report
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    1. Hard choice: I've been to all three and frankly would rather go elsewhere.

      Went to Lulu for dinner recently and it was really pretty mediocre; nothing was that tasty, and one dish that was described as mushroom ravioli arrived sans mushrooms. The chicken was quite salty. I was not impressed.

      I had decent food but TERRIBLE service at CoCo500 and will not return. Totally obnoxious, inattentive waiter. Many, many people have complained about the service there.

      I had a decent lunch at Tres Agaves last year, but it didn't blow my mind or anything.

      If you'd consider other places in the neighborhood, I'd suggest:

      1. Fringale. Just up the streeet from CoCo500, but tasty food and a nice atmosphere. French bistro fare. (On Brannan near 4th)
      2. Koh Samui. On Brannan near Third. Good Thai food, also has a nice atmosphere. Nice enough for an informal work lunch.
      3. South Park Cafe. Another French bistro in South Park (between 2nd and 3rd and Bryant and Brannan, on the north side of the park).
      4. Maya. Better Mexican food than Tres Agaves (by many miles), though perhaps more expensive. On 2nd near Harrison.

      Good luck.

      1. I've been to all three and would choose Coco500 if you're basing your choice on food alone. Tres Agaves is really just mediocre, and Lulu's food was middling to bad due to horrendous service issues the night I was there. The server took so long to bring our food that the cheese had hardened over the pizza and some of the items were stone cold. We asked for the pizza to be replaced, and it was replaced with not a hot pizza but a lukewarm pizza. I think they just microwaved it.

        Coco500 has service issues of its own (usually snooty host/hostesses), but I've been there numerous times and love the food. The service can be wonderful, and the actual servers and busboys have always been great when I've gone. And what minor issues I've had with service have never affected the taste of the food as they did at Lulu's.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Pei

          Hmmmm. our experience at Coco was exactly the opposite; warm, gracious hostess & very attentive FOH manager, and horribly snooty, inattentive and bitchy waiter. Now, this is not to malign any ethnicities, but our server was a middle-aged french dude. I wonder if he's the one also mentioned elsewhere on this thread? If so, then it appears Coco can rectify their reputation for bad service with one staffing decision. Otherwise, the food is sublime.

        2. What's the goal besides informal? Impress them, or to get a decent meal on the expense acount? :) You'll probably do fine at any of those places.

          Seriously, South Park might work too. If it's just food and location, I'd also consider Bacar.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ML8000

            Decent meal is important, but since I'm not on an expense account, I don't want to go too high end. I think I'm gonna try COCO500...

            1. re: Husky

              Went to COCO500 and thought it would be a much better place for dinner than lunch. Loved the room (looks much better than Bizou). Our service was amateurish on all levels (brought a wine glass with a chip in it and another with a piece of parsley 'baked' on it; had to ask for plates; never refilled our water...). The food was a 7 out of 10. Started with the fried green beans and COCOmole tacos - both were better than our entrees...the beet soup special was OK. For the entrees, one of my dining companions had the ravioli, which she was good, but did not rave about. Two of us had the ancho chili chicken, which was just OK - no noticeable ancho flavor. Another had the spaghettini with meatballs which she said was better than average. Sad when our favorite dessert was the El Rey dark chocolate. I'll give it a shot at dinner before writing it off.

              1. re: Husky

                I really would love to know if the owners/management are aware of how badly service is perceived there. I know I won't be back until I hear something definitive from them that they've acknowledged the problem. I just don't want to spend that much for a dinner I have to struggle through, constantly asking for obviously needed stuff. It's really a shame becuase the food is great.

          2. Hmmm..one of the things to consider is that coco500 and lulu tend to be shared plates, not necessarily the best thing for a business lunch, unless you know the person well.

            1. I tried to have a business lunch at 3Agaves. It was late, about 2pm. We were the
              only table in there. The music was turned up far too high to have a decent
              conversation and they refused to turn it down even a little bit.

              The waiter insisted in upselling *everything*.
              Me: "I'll have a burger with fries."
              He: "Are you sure you don't want *double* fries with that?"
              Well not that exactly but you get the point. Everything.
              We were joking about it by the end of the meal.

              And on top of everything, the food was lousy. I think it's designed solely
              to extract as much cash as possible from the gullible on their way to baseball
              games. Nothing chowish to be had at all. Avoid.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                In defense of Tres Agaves, they're having a rough time modulating service for ballgame fans and serious diners. We had a wonderful evening last spring with a server who was terrific, no upselling - and she knew more about tequila than anyone I've ever met north of the border. We had a leisurely meal of many regional specialties not found around these parts and my father, who spent time living in Mexico, still talks about the meal to this day. My advice would be to stay away until baseball ends (thankfully, very soon).

                1. re: foodiegrl

                  The food at Tres Agaves struck me as more Californian-Mexican fusion than traditional regional Mexican.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Really? I thought the menu was very Guadalajaran/Tequilan with a few California/familar items as concessions to the SF market.

                    The last time I had it, the Carne en su jugo was spot-on Garibaldi's. And most of the seafood dishes seemed regionally correct as well.

                    1. re: larochelle

                      I've spent a lot of time in Guadalajara and the food at Tres Agaves didn't remind me of anything I had there. Some of the dishes might have passed if they hadn't fusioned them up by adding mango or pineapple or whatever.

                      I was expecting more traditional regional food since the blurb on their Web site made such a big deal about it.

              2. Tres Agave is an 'investment restaurant' wherein the owners are interested in making money. I think they really lack the passion for real Mexican food, and perhaps want to UPSELL people on overpriced Tequila and cocktails made from it.

                Had a decent lunch there in July, and was impressed that they had Chimay White on tap, which is a heavy, sweet blonde ale that is superb with very spicy food. Too bad the food wasn't that spicy, though.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Tripeler

                  I'd be interested in getting your recommendation for a place that has an excellent selection of 100% agave tequilas and well-made tequila cocktails that's not "overpriced".

                  In my survey of reliable SF tequila bars (Maya, Colibri, Tommy's, etc.), I've found 3A and Tommy's to be the most reasonably priced which isn't surprising considering the ownership.

                  So I'd love to know if there's a place I've missed or is new (I have so much tequila at home, I don't usually go out for it anymore).

                  1. re: larochelle

                    La Piñata #3 in Alameda has over 300 100% agave tequilas. I guess all three of their tequila bars do.

                    http://www.lapinata.com/index.asp?pgid=4