Restaurant near Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium?
I think this is referring to "Californian", in the doomed spot at the bottom of the apartment building next to Masonic. We went recently prior to an event at the auditorium and had one of the worst restaurant experiences in recent memory.
The food actually wasn't bad, but so much else went wrong that it was a disaster (and we were nearly late for the show to boot).
No greeting at the front desk when I arrived... somebody was doing paperwork with their back to me, but didn't greet me, tell me someone would be with me shortly, or anything. Eventually we were seated, and told our server that we had tickets for 8 pm (our reservations were for 6:30 pm, we were seating about 6:40).
Our waitress took our order fairly quickly -- they had chicken piccata and veal marsala... I wanted veal with the piccata sauce. Our waitress said she'd check, but they might not be able to do it. She came back several minutes later and said they could, so our order was calamari and foie gras, followed by steak and the veal piccata, with a glass of wine to start.
By 6:55 pm, I didn't have my wine yet, or our apps, so we flagged down the waitress, who apologized and got my wine. At 7 pm, the busboy tried to drop our main courses, which we refused, telling him we hadn't had our apps yet.
The calamari arrived shortly, at which point we cancelled the foie gras because time was moving on. While eating the calamari, we started discussing what was happening to our mains. The consensus being that they were sitting under a heat lamp, we told the waitress that "if those were our mains that the busboy tried to deliver several minutes ago, we'd go ahead and take them now."
When we got them, the steak was cold and my dish was wrong. I'm not even sure what I got... if it was the veal marsala, it was a chop. I honestly couldn't tell if it was pork or veal... it was overcooked and dry, in either case. And the sauce had that nasty skin on it from sitting around. (I'm actually not sure this was our order, since my dish was so wrong.)
Against all common sense, at 7:25 we ordered coffee, a single dessert and our check. Everything but the check arrived at 7:40... we finally got the check and got out of there at 7:55 pm.
We walked next door, got to our seats, and the show started.
My husband said the steak would have been very good had it not been served cold, but the sauce on my dish was so peppery it was unpleasant to eat.
If you feel like a fun and fancy meal, go to the Big Four restaurant at the very nearby Huntington Hotel.
For a more casual meal, you could check out the Nob Hill Cafe.
For drinks or light bar fare, hit up the Top of the Mark at the Mark Hopkins Hotel or the very fun Tonga Room in the Fairmont Hotel.