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Lunch/Brunch at Zazie in Cole Valley - Review/Surcharge

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I had time to kill before an appointment and stopped at Zazie for lunch/brunch. I'd heard good things about it - especially the benedicts - so I was looking forward to a great meal. They have a large variety of item to choose from but since I'd heard so much about the benedicts, I decided upon 2 poached eggs with shrimp, avocado and hollandaise sauce. The eggs were poached hard (and I mean nothing running at all and light yellow) and they were the smallest eggs I've seen served at a restaurant. The sides of them were stringy and tasted like vinegar and there was barely enough hollandaise sauce to cover the eggs let alone dip your muffin into and keep it moist. The side of potatoes was ok and I liked the additional touch with the roasted cloves of garlic even if I chose to not eat them since I was going somewhere afterwards. The avocado was fresh and the shrimp were tender and tasty but given the sad shape of the egg, it was not worth the money.
My bill included a $1.00 surcharge per person for SF medical care. While I'm in favor of paying for heath care, I don't think it should be a surcharge but it should be added into the prices upfront or state it clearly/put it on the menu so that you don't take your first time diner by surprise. While I don't live in SF anymore and don't get to eat there that often I have not run into it anywhere else. I ate at two other places that day that didn't have a surcharge and I've been going up about once a month to different places I used to frequent and not seen it at any of those places. Not sure if anyone else has seen this or if it is now common place but I'm curious.

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  1. It's very common and, in general, well received here.

    1. I ate at Zazie a few weeks ago, and there was a note about the surcharge, either on the menu or the table. I remember it well because my eating mate and I discussed how we appreciated the lower surcharge than the % some restaurants do nowadays. Somehow, we're going to pay for it, whether with an increase in menu prices or a surcharge. I'm just glad it's not a higher fee than some of the others, and seems more in line with how much the coverage costs as opposed to raking in extra dough.

      Additionally, I had a benedict, too, and my eggs were runny. Did you mention something to the wait staff about your rock-hard eggs? If not, they wouldn't be able to address the issue...

      1. I've seen surcharges in a few places, but they've always been mentioned on the menu.

        Only businesses with 20 or more employees are required to offer insurance, so smaller restaurants are exempt.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I guess I just frequent smaller restaurants since it was my first experience with it. Thanks for the info.

        2. link

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          Zazie
          941 Cole St, San Francisco, CA 94117

          1. I agree they're showing up all over. It needs to be posted somewhere if they're going to charge you.

            Given the high comparative inflation in food and energy costs this past year, I believe that mandatory medical coverage (something SF residents voted in favor of, so in theory support) is being used to mask rising general costs (which include health coverage, but which most diners are against).

            Personally I think surcharges are a mistake--it makes dining complicated and political at the very moment (paying the bill, hung over at brunch) that I least want to be bothered. Charge me a fair price, provide good value, and treat your employees properly. Don't ask me to contribute to (and accordingly analyze) an itemized menu of resort fees and taxes, which I have no ability to verify. The city also requires refrigeration, and health inspectors, and rent and paying a minimum wage. If your rent goes up, it's up to the business to make it work, not me and French toast. Passing stress along to diners is a bad idea, no matter how noble the cause.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Windy

              Itemizing the surcharges allows restaurants with 20 or more employees to match the prices of competitors with fewer employees (who are exempt from the health-insurance requirement).

              Strictly speaking it was the Board of Supervisors that passed the Worker Health Care Security Ordinance, not the voters.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I don't know anyone who eats brunch by doing a comparison sheet of eggs Benedict prices around town ("Look, they 45 cents less at Slow Club. Let's go!"). Especially when we're talking about $1 per person.

                We ate in the bar at Coi last night, and I was never so relieved to be reminded that the total already included an 18% service charge.

              2. re: Windy

                Ti Couz now has a 5% surcharge. It's listed on the table, presumably because they don't want to relaminate their menus.

                While it's not a huge amount of money, I still believe they should raise their prices by $1 instead. One more thing to confuse Europeans, or visitors from San Mateo.

              3. I had eggs benedict recently at Zazie and they were fantastic, eggs were runny too. I, however don't think the surcharge is fare to people who are independently employed as we have to pay this surcharge but there is no city health insurance policy that applies to people who are freelance (of which there are many in SF).

                1 Reply
                1. re: virtualguthrie

                  If you eat at SF restaurants that have 20 or more employees, you're going to pay for the employees' insurance one way or another.

                2. I get poached egg dishes there all the time (usually the Florentine) and every once in a while one of the yolks is overcooked (I've never had both overcooked, for some reason.) I just send it back and ask for a new egg. They scrape it off and I get my dish back with a properly cooked egg very quickly. Not ideal, but the quality of the rest of the meal makes up for it, for me.