Coco500, still going strong
People talk about Coco500 a lot on this board, but I haven't seen enough photos. Loretta Keller's food is refreshingly beautiful in a non-fussy way, and the lighting in the restaurant is perfect for showcasing all the bright colors of the fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables in each dish.
This is restaurant food I could eat often, because almost every dish comes with some kind of amazing greens on the side and nothing tastes greasy or overwrought.
And the friso misto-style green beans? Perfect.
more photos linked below.
Looks great...thanks for the photos. While Coco500 gets mentioned enough here, I never remember it when I'm thinking about places to eat in SF. Your photos have changed that!
My only concern is the service. I've read some bad things about the service to the point that people wouldn't want to return for a long time, if ever. Nothing blatantly rude, just highly inept and bumbling. Seemed like this was going on after a reasonable transition time. Doesn't sound like you had much issue beyond the bread coming after the apps?
PS. Am enjoying your blog! Your photos are looking good too. :-)
re: Carb Lover
I went to Coco500 a couple of weeks ago and had very good food and very bad service. I agree with the way you put it. Our server wasn't rude, just very inattentive and inept. Before we were even fully sitting down (literally leaning into my seat and about to sit in it), he asked to take our drink orders. We asked for one minute to take a look at their drink menus since we knew that someone from Slanted Door had put it together and thought there would be more interesting drinks than what we would usually order. After about 10 minutes, we had to flag him down to order our drinks. We never got bread. The fried green beans are delicious. So were the brussel sprouts, although I had said that we wanted to share them with our entrees and our server just brought them as another course after the fried green beans. Our entrees were also very good, but the service was bad throughout the meal. I had to flag our server down again to order dessert after we'd had the dessert menu for a long time. The service was so bad that we can't decide if we'd go back even though we really liked our food.
re: on the fence about coco500
I must be going on slow days. Both times I went the restaurant was under half full, and both times we had very friendly service.
The first time we had a nice man who was very glad to talk us through the menu, explain what cheeses they had, tell us what a nojito (virgin mojito) was, and otherwise accomodate our nosy questions.
The second time we had a bubbly waitress who kept our water magically full (I love that), changed our plates twice during the meal without asking, and kept our bread plate full. She too was very helpful and detailed in answering our questions about dishes and steering us the right way.
So I think they're trying, but still having a tough time during the busy hours.
I ate at Coco500 for the first time about three weeks ago. I was a big fan of Bizou, but scheduling, mixed reports and the knowledge that they had added more tables with the redo (I am not a fan of restaurants where I am forced to listen to my neighbors' conversations) kept me away until then.
So, I decided to try it as a walk-in, eating at the bar. I felt much more comfortable there than I think I would have at one of the (small) tables, and it also meant good service (since the bartender was right there) for the most part, although I never did get bread despite ordering a full meal. I did get the impression that the floor staff was trying to work together as a team, despite a few glitches and a few large groups having pre-holiday parties, so that is a plus.
Anyway, food: I had a delicious romaine (normally made with little gems, this was a substitution) and persimmon salad with the best pistachios I've ever eaten (I'd love to know the supplier!); spinach ricotta ravioli which was only average and which I probably would not order again; and a wonderful panna cotta with passionfruit (I think they call it a 50-50 on the menu). The flavors in that dessert just sang!
The buddadrop lemon drop that I had to start was excellent. I did take a look at the wine list and thought it was too heavy on higher priced bottles, particularly given the price point of the food (which is definitely lower than Bizou's menu). There were almost no reds below $40; indeed, there were very few reds below $50 or $60 as I recall. The wine by the glass menu is limited, so I think the cocktails are probably the way to go.
One hint for those that don't like to have dinner with neighbors: there are three tables for two in the bar area that are lined along the partitian, so you could have a more private conversation there, if you didn't mind sitting at bar stools with no backs to them (and what is that all about? It may look cool but is fairly non-functional to have a bar stool with a two inch back).
Anyway, some of the items were quite good, and all in all I enjoyed myself and will return, but not with the same anticipation I used to feel about dinner at Bizou....To me it is much more of a place to drop by if one is in the neighborhood, for a bite or three and a drink or two, than a destination restaurant (and actually, I think that may have been Loretta Keller's intentions for the re-do).
we too LOVE coco500 (never at at the previous incarnation) and haven't had any problems with service but we never go when its super busy.
CocoMole Tacos (mmmm, fantastic mole)
Squid with black ink pasta
vacherin for dessert (skip the CocoBar unless you like cold desserts)
Had a fab pre-cirque dinner at coco last night. Service was excellent, though we did dine early.
The real standouts at coco are the small plates. Priced between $4 and $6 these guys are delicious and generous by small plate standards; well more than just a few bites. Fritto Misto, mole taco and duck liver terrine are all excellent. My first bite of the fritto misto was one of those rare Oh My God food experiences. I also love their desserts, and I usually find desserts to be too sweet. If I lived or worked in the area I would stop by for a drink and a bite a few times per month.
Coco500 appears to be continuing its evolution. The following announcement just appeared in my inbox:
Tired of looking for a bite in the afternoon and only finding unremarkable bar food and unruly happy hour crowds? Enjoy your mid-day break at COCO5OO with tapas and drinks. COCO5OO introduces its new afternoon tapas and cocktail menu. From 3PM-5:30PM, Monday through Friday we will be featuring innovative tapas created by chef Jennifer Biesty (soon to featured on TOP CHEF 4) and drinks to match by one of San Francisco’s most favorite and talented bartenders, Scott Baird. The menu will feature a rotation of six different tapas priced at 3.0 each, and recommended (but not required) drinks for 6.0.
I'm not sure I'd be rushing back to the office after some afternoon cocktails, but I did enjoy the small plates that Jennifer Biesty used to do at Bizou every now and then.
Hands down one of the best restaurants in SF. I really can't say enough about their food and a wonderful Sommelier with a lot of insight. As soon as you walk into CoCo500 you know your in a special place. I've been going here for a few years now and they never seem to disappoint. Not only is the price right for all their small plates but food is amazing! The duck liver terrine was so good we had 2, oysters, martinis, small tacos, the special was a whole fish baked with onions spices... I could go on and on.
I read some of the other post about service and I'm really suprised. Every time I have been there, service has been nothing but impeccable. It feel like home to me.