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Jun 17, 2009 02:12 PM

Postrio closes -- chowhounds yawn?

I just noticed on Chronicle food page that Postrio closed last night (after two nights of special farewell dinners). Did no one here know, or did no one here care (the last mention a search turned up described Postrio as "very '80s")?

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  1. Knew, good riddance. Very 80s Los Angeles. All toque and no clogs.

    The food was so lame and the service so obnoxious the one time I went, not long after it opened, that while waiting outside for my friends to come out I asked the valet parking guy, who are these people? and he said, nouveau riche.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      In what way was the food lame? I'm not doubting you, just curious. I used to sell vegetables there. The two chefs were friendly, not snooty, and paid cash on delivery instead of making me wait, beg, threaten, etc. But, yes, the guests were vulgar. It was the 80s! Maybe the permed hair and shoulder pads put you off the food?

      1. re: Glencora

        Most of the dishes had the typical Wolfgang Puck mistake of adding two or three too many ingredients. Of the dozen dishes I tasted, only two were good (and both of those were very much in the style of Hawthorne Lane).

        The other guests didn't bother me per se. The problem was that, apparently as a result of being used to waiting on clueless diners, the server was condescending and overly familiar.

    2. Postrio is closing tonight after the 2nd night of farewell dinners. Chef Puck is in attendence was was making the rounds last night to every table thanking folks. Every table was full, the display kitchen was staffed by 30 or so white-toqued chefs and there was an electric vibe about the whole enterprise.

      Postrio was not a place I frequented often, but the farewell dinners (with 1990's pricing) were not to be missed.

      14 Replies
      1. re: Paul H

        LOL. I could have predicted these two responses. You and Robert have diametrically opposed tastes in restaurants, although I value each of your opinions their own ways.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          This was my 2nd visit to Postrio, so it was it was hardly a favorite. However, anyone who was there last night will certainly report there was an incredible buzz that, as Bauer says, made it seem like opening night instead of closing night.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Postrio's success was almost as unaccountable as Square One's.

            The problems were clearly Puck's fault. When the chefs went off to their own place, Hawthorne Lane, they made it one of the best restaurants in the City. In its heyday, the food, service, wine list, and decor were all exemplary.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I'm curious about Square One. It was before my time, but I really like Joyce Goldstein's cookbooks. What was wrong with the restaurant?

              1. re: chompy

                I would be interested in Robert's comments on Square One, too. My wife and I loved that restaurant for the 11 years it was in existance and were devastated when it closed. Joyce's cooking, to us, was awesome and the menu changed every day. Its was one of those restaurants that, for me, had so many good selections, it was difficult to decide what to order. She also had a great staff throughout those 11 years and a lot of employees who were there the entire time. We have all her cookbooks and I frequently run into her at the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market on Saturdays.

                1. re: chompy

                  Joyce Goldstein was an incompetent chef. The ingredients were first-rate and the execution was excellent, but the conceptions were often way off.

                  For example, they once did a version of aushak that combined perfectly made ravioli, a great meat sauce, and a great yogurt sauce. The only flaw was that instead of the traditional filling of strong-flavored leek greens they used the delicate Italian combination of ricotta and spinach, which was utterly overpowered by the highly seasoned sauces.

                  The most extreme example was a dessert that paired an exquisite grapefruit sorbet with a fabulous chocolate sauce. The combination tasted like vomit.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Interesting......... In her "Back to Square One" cookbook, her recipe calls for leeks and not spinach in the filling. Maybe she was experimenting the night you ordered it.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Funny, the cookbooks of hers that I have are all about harmonious flavors, but that grapefruit-chocolate combination does sound disgusting.

                      1. re: chompy

                        The grapefruit-chocolate combination is certainly not something I would ever order. However, I just googled "grapefruit chocolate dessert" and found several from some seemingly reputable sources.

                        1. re: bobpantzer

                          Grapefruit zest in solid chocolate or chocolate fudge is great. Chocolate dipped candied grapefruit peel is great. Cold grapefruit juice in fat-free form (sorbet) fighting with liquid chocolate, that might be rough. The devil's in the details.

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                    >"as unaccountable as Square One's."

                    Plenty of free parking.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      I used to work at postrio early in my careere as a chef, it had it's problems did'nt see this coming I had a ball working there learned alot there alot of the guys there were my classmates in culinary school Im sad there out of a job all I can say is Ievery restaurant has it's good and bad nights mabe the had one to many sorry guys you had a good run good luck to all

                  3. While I can't quibble with Robert's crticism of Postrio and its legacy, I do have to say that last night was quite a remarkable experience for those in attendance. The mood was truly electric, with chefs Puck, Passot, Stoll, Gingrass, Birnbaum and many others hanging out in the dining area and sharing stories about the early Postrio years. Willie Brown gave a touching toast and everyone just seemed to be really enjoying themselves. The peking duck, kobe beef tartare and quail ravioli were all fantastically prepared and the prices were ridiculously low. A very special farewell.

                    1. Postrio never did it for me, tho i've been to a Spago, Chinois, and the now-closed Granita in Southern Cal, and liked them all to one degree or other. I also found Postrio's food dull and the atmosphere of the restaurant heavy and gloomy.

                      1. Well, I for one, am going to miss the ol' girl. And it's not just because I hadn't yet used the Postrio dinner-for-two certificate my realtor gave me years ago as a thank you after I bought my house at the height of the market. No, it's more sentimental than anything else. I was there when it opened and have followed its downward trajectory ever since. I used to love going there on Sunday mornings for a superb breakfast. There was time when all the old time San Franciscans went there, either for weekend breakfasts or the occasional dinner. Everyone bounded from table to table, socializing and catching up. Of course, I haven't eaten there in years...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Marc Veyrat

                          I'll send you my unused Cody's Books gift certificate. You can start a collection.