Pres a Vi Report
Went to Pres a Vi with friends for brunch yesterday. I was not expecting much based on what I have read on chowhound, but my friends were eager to try it and I didn't want to be a stick in the mud.
Overall, I would say it was somewhere between ok and good. We split a bowl of squash bisque and each had entrees: one friend had huevos rancheros, one had the goat cheese omelette, and I had the crab cakes benedict. I didn't try my friends dishes but they seemed satisfied, if not elated, by them. The crab cakes benedict was fine, nothing special. The crab cakes were uneventful and they don't really stand up to benedict so that wasn't good. The eggs were poached perfectly. Serving on brioche instead of english muffins was interesting but the hollandaise was barely covering the top of the eggs, really not much at all. The potatoes were standard fare breakfast potatoes, disappointing and bland. It isn't THAT hard to cook potatoes well, is it? Does paprika make breakfast potatoes more interesting? I don't think so. The plate also came with a "breakfast pastry" so I chose an apple turnover. It was a tiny apple turnover but it was really good. Very flaky, perfect amount of sweetness, yum, I want to go back and order 3 or 4 sometimes (although at 2 bucks a pop that seems a little steep). Oh, the bisque was very good. It was topped with something I suspect was cream fraiche and I am pretty sure there were ground up walnuts in the cream fraiche - very tasty. They offer a "shot" or a "bowl". I had seen pictures of the shot on the web, so I was prepared but my friend asked about sizes and was told that the shot was literally a shot but that the bowl was a regular bowl. We ordered a bowl: the container may have been bowl shaped, but it was the volume of a "cup". I know this is a small plates restaurant, but when you order stuff that isn't small plates, then you expect it to be regular sized and our items really were not. So sizes were a little disappointing. I didn't leave hungry, but I did eat again within a couple of hours.
Our server was nice enough but a little awkward - it looked to me like it was his first job waiting tables (ie, carrying stuff, setting it on the table). Slight wait to place our order but otherwise no delays.
I was a little disgruntled with the parking situation. I was driving in the presidio and saw a small lot in front of what I thought was the building. There was a guard stand there and when I said I was looking for the restaurant, I was directed into the garage. Then I had to pay 5 bucks to get out - no validation! I felt I was lured into parking there, or maybe that the restaurant didn't care. I mean, 5 bucks in a busy neighborhood or on a weekend evening is one thing, but sunday at 1 pm when there are spaces to be found within a couple of blocks?
I looked at the wine menu but I wasn't in the mood to try them. The flights looked interesting, might be worth going back to try that sometime, but I don't think I will make this a destination restaurant.
I was very underwhelmed with Pres a Vi. The dishes were all underseasones, tasteless(between 4 of us we ordered 6-8 different dishes)and expensive. The serrano ham croquettes had no ham to speak of, the lobster mac 'n' cheese had no taste, and that was just the beginning. The server was completely unaware of our dissatisfaction, or just ignoring us. The one bright spot was the wine flights.
I was there this week with 3 friends. I was pretty unhappy with 2 of the 3 dishes I ordered, but everyone else was delighted. I tasted the duck buns, and all I can say is YUM! They were fabulous. Also, 2 of my friends had the roast chicken, and it was done perfectly. (I'm talking.. better than Zuni!.) I had the ahi tartare that was OK, but really spicy (couldn't figure out what the spice was, but it wasn't wasabi). I also had the tomato risotto, which was REALLY salty.
I would definitely go back for the duck buns and the chicken.
I've been there twice for dinner, and agree with you on your assessment of the place being between "ok and good". And I am TOTALLY with you on the parking situation...when the guard directed me to the underground pay garage, I promptly put my car into reverse and drove further down the street for free parking. I was kind of miffed that the only free parking was a hike away, but at least we were walking through the Presidio. I will pay up for food, but not for parking unless it's otherwise unavailable.
So sorry you didnt enjoy it. I went a week ago and enjoyed the lunch very much. The kobe bacon beef burger was excellent as was the dessert trio of fruit. I had gone to the website www.presavi.com beforehand since I was concerned about parking during the Blue Angels and there was even a video explaining how to park there . I feel that on a rainy night that underground garage would be most welcome to most. It certainly has lovely bar ambiance and beautiful gardens to walk in just in front.