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Cafe Kati - Solid as Ever 1/07

sf foodie Jan 21, 2007 05:59 AM

It's been a few years since we've been, but we went last night and had another solid meal. The food was delicious and the service excellent.

Overall: 8/10
Food: 8/10
Service: 9/10
Decor: 7/10
Value: 8/10

We started with a the mango spring rolls and butternut squash soup before moving on to the black bass in a miso glaze and the "brick" chicken (although they don't call it that). Before staring with the appetizers, we devoured the herbed scones served with a side of butter and honey.

The portions were generous and everything was cooked quite well. The spring rolls were quite fresh and the soup had a nice kick of curry in it. The bass was carmelized nicely and I was pleasantly surprised that the brick chicken so tender and juicy.

  1. Carrie 218 Apr 25, 2007 08:56 AM

    I tried. I really tried... 8:00 on a Tuesday evening and, finding myself alone for the evening, started wandering up Fillmore for some nosh. Remembering, Cafe Kati, I walked in and was surprised to find that all but two small two-tops were empty. The waitress asked if I had a reservation and I indicated I didn't but, being a single, I was more than happy to sit at their small counter. She graciously indicated I would be more comfortable at one of the available tables.

    I perused the menu and decided on an ahi tuna roll to start and the soy-marinated hanger steak (trying to pick something that would last for lunch the next day as I knew I couldn't eat it all alone). I was surprised by the wine list - some bottles costing as much as $500! I'm an admitted wine snob and since it was a close walk home, decided to buy a relatively pricey Rhone that I could continue to savor the next day.

    Five or ten minutes later, I was served two chunks of corn bread, studded with something spicy and a small bowl with butter and honey. I didn't want to fill up too much on corn bread but was patiently waiting to order my dinner.

    Twenty minutes later, I walked out - leaving a few dollars on my plate for the bite of bread. From what I could detect, there was one waitress, one busboy, and maybe one person in the kitchen (from the sounds of crashing plates, I am guessing).

    I can't fault the waitress. She was struggling to hold the room and doing an admirable job from what I could tell. When the last remaining available table was filled, the waitress had to instruct the busboy to give the new guests water -- he couldn't see it for himself. I would like to think it was simply an off night but there was definitely a need for a second server. Somehow I got the impression that there is only ever one server on week nights. The food I saw coming out looked good but at almost $30 for entrees and $15 for starters, adding a $100 bottle of wine, I was ready to spend considerable money. Instead, I walked around the corner to Chez Nous, had some French Onion soup, a Morrocan duck leg confit, frittes with aioli, pot de creme for dessert, and a lovely glass of Viognier for around $50. Ultimately, a better deal I think.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Carrie 218
      singleguychef Apr 25, 2007 11:25 AM

      That's too bad you had that experience, Carrie. I'm surprised that in a neighborhood like that with so many dining options that Cafe Kati doesn't clean up its act. I would have left too. (Chez Nous is an excellent alternative.)

      1. re: singleguychef
        Carrie 218 Apr 25, 2007 03:48 PM

        Thanks again, Single Guy. In retrospect, the most frustrating part was watching the poor waitress rush past me so often with others' drinks and food and never even acknowledge (with a word or a knowing glance) that I was not be served.

        It is okay if you are too busy to run a restaurant by yourself, but even a passing apology could have helped and made me more inclined to return another time. Now, I'm not so sure I'd care to...

    2. i
      IanW Jan 24, 2007 04:24 PM

      I went to Cafe Kati a couple of weeks ago and I found that the food was still up to par. My dad had the filet mignon which was cooked right and had an excellent sides that created a pleasing earth tone to the dish. I had the black cod with the udon noodles which was excellent(maybe even a little better than the last time I had it there

      1. h
        hungrycaveman Jan 24, 2007 04:15 PM

        Service was awful last time I went. The chef interrupted the server as she was taking our order and pulled her away from us mid-sentence. I think that kitchen is having a melt-down.

        3 Replies
        1. re: hungrycaveman
          artemis Jan 24, 2007 06:10 PM

          yes, the one and only time i went http://www.chowhound.com/topics/310610 i found the service to be terrible as well, so i'm very interested to hear what the OP thought about it.

          1. re: artemis
            hungrycaveman Jan 24, 2007 08:22 PM

            I think they're short-staffed. It's a great restaurant and the chef is creative, but for those prices you shouldn't feel like you're dining with a dysfunctional family.

          2. re: hungrycaveman
            sf foodie Mar 30, 2007 12:20 PM

            The service was quite good - we talked with the chef, who told us they had a server meltdown ealrier this year, but they seem to have put it back together.

          3. a
            artemis Jan 21, 2007 04:16 PM

            how did you find the service?

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