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May 4, 2007 10:51 AM

thanks for the memories!

Thanks again to all who replied to my "need resto recs!" post. We enjoyed many of the recommends and had some surprises of our's a quick review:

Acqua - inventive menu, mix of spices interesting, sometimes overdone in case of a tuna tartare entrée, but I enjoyed the main of sturgeon with a mashed chickpea 'side'. Dessert was a plain soufflé, nice but not memorable. Great service and wine pairings were decent. The room is typical for a financial district - large w/out much ambience :-)

Butterfly - interesting combinations (strawberries and lightly smoked salmon rolls) good, no surprises, nice location on the water. Table tried swordfish, filet mignon all was well prepared and presented. Only disappointment was fried (yick) calamari...what a waste - grill or steam people!

Pesce - Smaller resto serving Italian small plates (ah, old school!) with cheeky takes on "fish and chips" and salads (barley and crab)...All good and great place to try and share multiple things. Warm service...

Zazil - this was a nice surprise - we didn't know what to expect of "coastal mexican" and it was great. This is the 'sister' resto of Colibri which someone had recommended, but by chance we found this one. Location in a mall is a bit off-putting, but once inside, you forget about it. Inventive selection and presentation including octopus carpaccio, hibiscus flower enchiladas in a cream sauce, long range of was very good.

Sushi Groove - good, fresh menu daily

We also had lunch at Mocca (maiden street) and Fox's Grill (?) a dinner with upscale menu around the embarcadero area..

I'm still full! Anytime you're visiting Montreal, I'd love to return the favour. Thanks for the great ideas.

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  1. You returned the favor just by reporting back. It gives fresh info about those restaurants and a view about how vistors like them.

    It seems that maybe the restaurants at the mall might finally be settling in. There were reports about two other restaurants there that were trashed at opening. Good to hear about Zazil.

    How are the portion sizes though because the prices are pretty jaw-dropping ...

    $15 for panuchos, $15 for bean empanadas, $10 tamale ... that last beats Fonda in the East Bay with its $6 tamale.

    Butterfly doesn't get a lot of good reports. Maybe it is a matter of selecting the right items.

    Thanks for the report ... y'all come back now, ya hear

    7 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      It IS nice to hear that Zazil has found it's footing. I think my meal might have been quite tasty had it not been left to sit on the counter for 15+ minutes first.

      1. re: chaddict

        One would hope, if ya get my drift ... it might be a matter of ordering correctly ... sounds like the OP might have done that ... hibiscus flower enchiladas... sounds good.

        Their tequila list seems pretty impressive as mentioned. Need to see how they compare price-wise with the other local places selling tequila.

        1. re: rworange

          actually, one of my biggest issues with Zazil was portion size/price/value I would be interested in hearing about the portion size now...when I went the fish tacos (listed on the menu at $14) had a piece of fish literally no bigger than twice my thumb, three to an order. Not much to them for that price...

          1. re: susancinsf

            Even if there are generous portion sizes they should be ashamed of those prices ... fancy, expensive mall or not. Still ... if there is a respectable portion ... well ok.

            What still kills me ... even with the slightly more creative menu for upscale Mexican ... is that the still stick to the known Mexican ... sure there's hibiscus in the enchiladas ... but it's still enchiladas ... you would think they could throw at least ONE dish that would expand people's knowledge about Mexican cuisine ... it's not they'd need some unique, radical ingrediants.

            1. re: rworange

              Funny how price complaints seem to do this board all the time in the context of ethnic food like mexican and vietnamese. Everyone believes that a taqueria or pho shop price point should be adequate despite the better service, wine lists, location or ingredients. It's really funny since many on this board rave about A16, Incanto or Perbacco where small portions of pasta are $15 or more. Pasta? You think that the food cost there justifies the price?

              1. re: grubber4

                I would have been more than happy with my meal and its price tag had it tasted good. I knew going in it was more expensive than my restos in the Mission so that wasn't the issue.

                It's not the cost of ingredients that bothers me. For some items, if I know I can get just as good if not better food for lower prices elsewhere, then yes, I am price sensitive and no matter how nice the atmosphere or service, I am not going in. (whew! that's a long sentence.)

                Your pasta example doesn't fit the above model. I can't find as good if not better pasta elsewhere for less. It's not about the cost of ingredients for me.

                1. re: chaddict

                  Yeah, I'm with chaddict here.

                  I have thrown obscene amounts of money at food that was excellent. I have no objection to paying $10 for a tamale ... but it betterr damn well be worth the extra bucks.

                  I had NO problem shelling out $12 for a torta at Fonda

                  Not only is that expensive to me for a torta, that exceeds the pricy range for a sandwich, IMO.

                  However, the deliciousness was SO amazing, it is not a problem.

                  However I spit on the same restaurant ... Fonda ... for their $6 tamale and their $3 (I think) tortillas. The aren't worth the price food-wise.

                  I like Slanted Door (in the past and more recently) because the quality and price, to me, deliver price-wise.

                  However, if I shell out $10 bucks for a tamale ... it better justify that cost.

                  And it stills annoys me that no matter how fancy-dancy the Mexican restaurant ... none of them break out of the familiar dishes ... sure they are hibiscus enchiladas ... but they are still enchiladas.