Holiday Party Lunch - Chez Panisse
So my boss made the awesome decision of treating our little office to lunch at Chez Panisse for this years holiday party! Woot! And it'll be my first time there. We're going in a group of 10 to the Cafe on the 19th. Suggestions on what I should order?
I think he'll be treating to our choice of 3-4 courses and I have no idea where to start.
Get pizza or anything from the wood-fired oven. Skip the soup. Rely on you waiter. Don't be fooled by some of the simple descriptions. Something like 'green salad' can be amazing ... but ask the waiter for guidance.
Agree about pizza or anything from the woodburning oven. In fact, I'd call in advance and see if they could make your party of 10 about three calzones -- they used to be a staple on the Cafe menu years ago and they were spectacular! Disagree about avoiding the soups, as I've had a couple of extraordinary bowls there, but unless you are a very close group soup is more difficult to share than other items. You definitely will want to share as many things as possible if this is a first-time experience there. Definitely agree to let your server help guide you, and as with almost all upper-level restaurants these days, I'd concentrate on sampling a bunch of starters and small plates rather than everyone getting an entree, and be sure to leave room for dessert.
They seem to do fried things consistently well, esp. the chicken and the bunny. In the salad dept., they're almost always super because the ingredients are so good, so you should order whatever takes your fancy, but someone should order the baked goat cheese salad if it's on the menu, as it is a CP classic. Servings are generous, so four courses may be a bit much, but if you want to do four I'd do a salad, a pizzetta, a main, and dessert. If you'd rather do three courses, pair up with someone else to share pizzetta and salad starters.
I 2nd or 3rd, splitting a pizza for starters, and if you like bread pudding and the persimmon pudding is listed for dessert get 2. I'm still trying to replicate it without success.