Sunday Happy Hour at Chaya
Chaya Brasserie on Sunday evening was the perfect place to watch the Queen Mary 2 go by. As the sun went down, the lights on the Bay Bridge and the ship (boat?) came on. It was unforgettable.
The food didn't quite match the view, however. The spicy tuna roll ($4) was fresh-tasting, but not spicy. The spicy ahi crostini on a risotto cake ($6.50) was also not at all spicy. Is there a theme here? I liked the crispy seafood cigars on scattered greens ($4.50) though I'm not entirely sure what was in there. The beef in the beef skewers with spicy peanut sauce ($7.50) was juicy,not overcooked and dry as it sometimes can be. However there was hardly any sauce and it certainly wasn't spicy. We also enjoyed $6.00 drinks.
The service was very good, friendly and efficient. Since we were eating at a small table in the bar area, we were glad that the waiter promptly removed empty plates. He also didn't make us feel rushed when we sat for awhile with our wine after we'd finished eating. The live jazz was a nice touch. The superbowl was on, but the sound was off, thank goodness.
Overall, we had fun and the price was right. But I'd like spicy to mean spicy...
I wouldn't say there's much buzz about the place. When I eat there or cruise by at night, its never empty but rarely packed to capacity.
The steak and sushi pairing definitely has an 80s air to it though. Some SF people might slag on Chaya for being part of a chain, but I still respect them for their competent service and solid food. And yeah, the view's real neat.
Your review is pretty consistent with my experiences there. Chaya isn't an amazing restaurant, but it is a solid one. I find it to be a reliable backup when everywhere else you'd rather be [like Boulevard nearby] is booked.
And yes, the view of the bay and bridge is highly underrated.