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Jan 11, 2010 08:32 PM

Big Four?

Anyone have any recent visits to Big Four? I see from the website that they are offering some less expensive 'bistro' dishes as well as the usual fare (lamb, duck, etc). I'm interested in the more traditional dishes for a visit from some Chicago friends. Thanks

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  1. my grandfather likes this place, so i've been several times. the chicken pot pie is really, really good.

    1. I went on big game week, and it was pretty disappointing. My ~$50 yak wellington was less than the sum of its parts, which is really too bad. The "sommelier" may be senile: I ended up ordering a nice white Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne, which we specifically discussed was to go with our appetizers. He recommended decanting it, which was fine as I ordered wine at the start of the meal and had also brought an aged cab to go with the meaty entrees, which our waitress had kindly already taken for decanting.

      Sadly, when our appetizers arrived the sommelier was nowhere to be found, and I couldn't get the attention of any of the staff until we were nearly done with the appetizers. The wine was largely wasted as we drank it without food and the main course was rushed out soon after the appetizer plates were cleared. By the time our mains came and the cab had not been poured, I took matters in my own hands and poured for the table. Oddly, everywhere else I have been when I stand up and start pouring from an expensive crystal decanter, some member of the restaurant's staff comes over to relieve me of the duty, but not here. Instead, food runners jostled me as they pushed past to deliver our mains to the table.

      The restaurant really pushed the mixed appetizer sampler platter, which ended up having some hits and some misses. We would have been better off just each ordering what we actually wanted to eat.

      I think it's fine if you stick to more basic dishes like French Onion Soup, and a few bistro dishes, but it's always pretty expensive for what you get and in the last few times I have been has not executed as well as it should. I'd much much rather go to Chez Spencer for far superior food at a similar or lower price point with flawless service and engaging live piano; the neighborhood is unappealing, but I don't mind because the food is so good.

      1. I ate there last night. It was delicious. Wonderful service too. Great Old school feel, which I am a fan of.

        My starter was spring asparagus soup with crab corn beignets. The beignet complimented the soup wonderfully, more than the sum of it's parts. My SO had the prawns, which were delicious, but could have used a few more prawns.

        We both had the filet with horseradish mashed potatoes and portobello mushrooms. One of the best steaks I've had in a while. Lovely charred exterior, but not too much, and perfectly rare on the inside. Oh and the lovely demi-glace whiskey sauce!!! DIVINE!! I really wanted to lick my plate.

        Sommelier was great and steered us towards a lovely wine, at a good price. He was quite charming too. Decanted the wine and it was served to us by our server consistently. Our server was prompt, but we never felt rushed, we had time to linger over our food. That was great, i love being able to have leisurely meal. Not enough room for dessert though, so we skipped it.

        A thoroughly enjoyable evening. Beautiful service, and the sommelier was a kick! He totally got that we don't like spending >$80 on a bottle of wine. And brought us a wonderful wine that he said "If you don't love this, I'll take it back". The place is quiet, but not too quiet. Best part is that this is 3 blocks from my house, bad part is that it's uphill coming home.

        Big Four
        1075 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

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