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Lazy Bear res for January? [San Francisco]

I am really hoping to be able to score reservations for Lazy Bear while in town and wondering if anyone has any info on whether there will be any dinners planned for late January?

Do they only do Friday and Saturday meals?

If so, I'm hoping something will be scheduled for the weekend of the 28th...

I will be in town from Jan 20 - Feb 02 and hope I'll have a chance to try it out.

I've posted on their Facebook but any help or info would be appreciated!

Thanks so much

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  1. Has anyone eaten at Lazy Bear before, and if so, could you please provide feedback?

    I'm not even certain if we'll have a chance to get a seating when we're in town and there's been no updates for any dinners in January as of yet, but I'm surprised that I've found no trace of mention of this "restaurant" on the forum archives, and I have to admit that I've been intrigued by the photos I've seen on Facebook and elsewhere. It truly looks like an amazingly exceptional and unique culinary experience, yet I'd really like to get some direct feedback and opinions from CH.

    Has anyone dined at/with Lazy Bear in the past, and if so... thoughts please?

    13 Replies
    1. re: OliverB

      I've never heard of it except for your posts here. From their blog, it looks like they typically announce events 2-4 weeks ahead. Get on their mailing list, follow their blog and Facebook page, send them an email telling them when you'll be in town and that you're eager to try their food.

      http://www.lazybearsf.com/

      1. re: OliverB

        I've had two dinners at Lazy Bear events. The food is both creative and delicious. You can get a good idea of what the experience is like by reading the chef's blog: http://www.eatfoo.com/ . Go for the food, not the atmosphere. Venues are "unfinished" and service is at communal tables. I'd recommend a Lazy Bear dinner to anyone (except those with strong aversions or allergies - the menu is Prix Fixe only).

        1. re: Paul H

          Thanks to both of you!

          The photos on their Facebook page really knock me out, I hope we can get in on a seating... what would the dinner be comparable to in terms of local Bay Area dining, Paul?

          Cheers!

          1. re: OliverB

            So I just found out theyre doing dinner on the 27/28... I have late night res at Nopa one night that I can't cancel because of earlier evening plans, and dinner at Canteen the next night.

            Should I swap a dinner at Canteen for Lazy Bear, knowing that I won't get another chance to eat at either on my trip? Have you been to both places, Paul?

            Is Lazy Bear worth knocking Canteen off the trip schedule for?

            Thanks again!!

            1. re: OliverB

              Why not do Canteen in place of Lers Ros, and do Lers Ros (which is open continuously from 11am to midnight daily) for lunch or an early or late dinner?

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8229...

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Thanks, that's not a bad idea... the one thing severely lacking in Montreal is good/authentic Thai food, so I was really hoping to give Lers Ros a go, and Canteen followed by Commis the next night seems similar both in terms of cuisine, price and setting, so I tried to switch things up each night to balance out the trip. If Canteen is really a must though, then I'll gladly trade Lers Ros for it and try to make it for a lunch stop instead.

                1. re: OliverB

                  Canteen is one guy and an assistant in a tiny kitchen in a not-very-converted former hotel coffee shop. I haven't been to Commis yet, but I've looked in, and in terms of atmosphere and staffing it's the polar opposite of Canteen, and the food and menus are a lot fussier and more complicated.

                  Tadich and Sam's Grill are two peas in a pod.

              2. re: OliverB

                Canteen is great. Lazy Bear is unique. We have been 4 or 5 times over the last 2 years. It is a tasting menu something like Manresa or Coi that often reaches that level, but is far more daring and surprising. The last meal started with no silverware and Jackson Pollack like plates of pureed smoked beets of various colors -- which you were to lick off the plate.

                Get on the mailing list and respond when a dinner opens up. They say they give priority to new guests. I am sure if you tell them your story you will get an invite to buy a ticket.

                1. re: Thomas Nash

                  Seriously, did you lick those beets off the plate? Gimmicks like this give me the skeeves no matter how fab the food might be. Like it woult had tasted inferior with a fork? Stuff like that always makes me think either they are making fun of the customer or way, way ... way too taken with themselves.

                  1. re: rworange

                    Yes. It was good, but not the most successful dish of the night.

                    No, they were not making fun of their customers and they are far from being taken with themselves. I think David was just having a little fun.

                2. re: OliverB

                  I'd go to Lazy Bear over Canteen every time.

                  1. re: OliverB

                    I would knock Canteen of for Lazy Bear.

              3. re: OliverB

                We went to one last year and really enjoyed it. I was going to post about it on Chowhound but time got away from me. As others have mentioned the food is very innovative.

                A couple of things:

                our dinner went really late, later than we expected and we had to leave early to pick up our dog from the kennel. Plan on a late night (well past 11:00 PM).

                At our dinner we were the only approaching 50s people there. The seating is communal. The crowd was mostly 20 something's which was interesting, but took some extra effort to find common ground in conversations if that makes any sense. We had a great time and really enjoyed who we were seated with though.

                The food was very good mostly. The main thing I remember is the homemade butter which was the best I've ever tasted.

              4. Thanks so much, I can't wait and really hope we can get tickets for the 28th!!

                I've been harassing them on Facebook, so hopefully it works out!

                1. Oliver are you on their mailing list? you can sign on up at their blog. that's the best way to get information about the next event. They give preference for first time dinners and will send out an email if they have a last minute cancellations.

                  I've three times since they started. It is comparable to tasting menus at the place mentioned above. The food can really vary depending on the theme and they can not usually accommodate dietary restrictions. You are usually seated at long communal table.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: tjinsf

                    Thanks so much, I just subscribed to their mailing list this evening.

                    It really sounds fantastic and I hope we'll have a chance to try it out while in town!

                    Cheers

                    1. re: OliverB

                      oh and you call also try direct messaging them on twitter. http://twitter.com/#!/lazybearsf

                      1. re: tjinsf

                        Thanks, I've been told they are not taking reservations yet until it's officially announced in their newsletter. I hope that happens soon, as I cancelled my res at Canteen on this night and don't want to miss out!

                  2. Just a heads up to anyone else interested, that they are now taking reservations for the weekend in question.

                    The menu: http://www.lazybearsf.com/files/20120...

                    I hope we get in!

                    1. Hi OliverB, did you end up trying Lazy Bear? If yes, how was it. I did an underground dinner once & it was horrible. So I am very wary of these pop up now. Thanks!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bonbonluv2eat

                        Really curious if he ended up dining there or not, too.

                        1. Long profile by Jonathan Kauffman:

                          http://www.sfchronicle.com/restaurant...

                          Says they're licensing Alinea's ticketing system.

                          1. LAZYBEAR : It's overrated, don't waste your money. If you want to spend that kind of money on dining out, take it somewhere it will made sense like French Laundry, Quince or Gary Danko. While those are all more formal in experience where Lazy Bear is more casual and hip, they have the hardcore skills and long time experience to put really incredible, artfully prepared food on the table that makes you feel good about dropping several hundred bucks. David Barzelay while talented, has far jumped the gun in opening a restaurant that charges the same prices and though the dishes are pretty and even sometimes really good, they're simply not on par with chefs who've trained and trained and trained to be able to play in the big game. Too many copied gimmicks and not enough substance at Lazy Bear. It's a shame, too. One wonders what Barzelay could accomplish if he had spent more time honing his depth of experience and understanding of the culinary arts.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: 30YearsOfDiningOut

                              Lazy Bear is $120. That puts it at the low end of the places with similarly long tasting menus.

                              Coi is $145 to $205 depending on day, time, and whether you buy a ticket or book through Opentable. Quince is $190 before supplements, Atelier Crenn and Benu $195, Saison $248, French Laundry $295.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                Lazy Bear in the end after wine and the, is cheaper but far too expensive for what you get: You're forced to pay a 20% service fee which, for restaurants like the fine dining restos you mentioned, is totally acceptable because you receive a level of highly trained, graceful professional personal table service in those places for that compulsory gratuity - absolutely ZERO of which is present at Lazy Bear. They've almost completely eradicated personal wait service with the communal tables, skeleton serving crew, awkward and clumsy loud announcements of menu descriptions at the start of each mass delivery of plates, no discussion of the wine list table side or any real opportunity to do so without feeling you're keeping the 'server' from something else, and yet they charge 20% SERVICE charge. It's ridiculous.

                              2. re: 30YearsOfDiningOut

                                I was going to wait to post on my experience as through luck/chance have been doing a run on SF higher end spots lately.

                                But to put it out there. We enjoyed our meal at Lazy Bear. The food was on par with the creativity at say State Bird Provisions, while providing a more intimate experience (ability to talk to the chef etc.) Unlike State Bird, there is a really inspired beverage pairing program and a solid pastry/dessert offerings. This tips in my favor as beverage pairings/desserts are important to me. It's also currently a bit easier to get a table than State Bird.

                                I agree that State Bird (or Lazy Bear) is not on par with say Benu, Quince or French Laundry. But as Robert notes, it is much cheaper. Also, it's exploring well travelled territory (an egg amuse bouche, an oyster amuse bouche, some sort of sweet/savory soup thing, scallops, pork, duck with the regular accompaniments).

                                WARNING: Do not go if you hate talking to strangers. We were hoping they wouldn't force the concept, but they really do. They constantly encourage it - it is highly highly communal.

                                1. re: 30YearsOfDiningOut

                                  I disagree, for a number of reasons. My experience was with the "underground" version not the new restaurant version.

                                  The atmosphere is better and more interesting than TFL, Manresa, Coi, Crenn, Saison 2.0 (haven't been to Benu, Saison 3.0). It seems you disagree. You want that personal touch, I find the fake concern by servers cloying, usually. It seems your poor view of the restaurant is based more on the service experience than the food - at least, you're spending more time talking about that.

                                  David, when he stopped by our table, said he felt he was edging up on michelin-one-star food. I think, for the night I was there, it was closer to 2 than 1 - solid one at the very least. Of course, multiple visits would be required; consistency gets you from 1 to 2 (or holds back a third, such as the case of Manresa).

                                  I clearly remember more of my Lazy Bear dishes than recent Coi dishes, AC was about the same (she's really doing more cutting edge food).

                                  Given all that, the price is VERY REASONABLE for this level of food and experience. It is DIFFERENT from what we've come to expect from the tasting-menu-experience. I believe in a good way.

                                  I honestly don't care how much someone has trained, and I don't understand what kind of personal issue you might have with him or his training. I can only judge the food coming out of the kitchen, and the atmosphere of the house, and whether I had fun.

                                  And that food is very good, at this price point... and the experience is different and interesting. A formula that also works for SBP (food is actually only very good, but price is low, atmosphere is fun).

                                  1. re: bbulkow

                                    Yes in doing a comparison. I would say State Bird Provisions provides average creativity with average ingredients with a unique serving concept FOR ITS PRICE POINT FOR SF. I'd say Lazy Bear provides average creativity with average ingredients with a unique atmosphere and unique serving concept at a price point a good 30 - 50% cheaper than its illustrious peers in SF.

                                    If you have lots of money to burn, a way to grab reservations easily, and a communal experience doesn't interest you, I'd say yeah go to Benu, Atelier Crenn, French Laundry etc. before Lazy Bear. But Lazy Bear offers a good opportunity to try a unique serving atmosphere and a long format tasting menu at a more affordable price point.

                                    1. re: bbulkow

                                      I don't have a personal issue with his lack of formal training , I have an issue with his lack of experience which shows up in the spottiness of the consistency of dishes, the style over substance which is evident in both the service and the service ( or lack thereof). The food is gorgeous and a small ratio were even inspired, but the rest, while looking good on the plate fell short in the mouth both in temperature, flavors and seasoning. Junior mistakes. Some of the best chefs I know are self taught, and I know a lot of chefs. But there's no substitute for experience. But I'm delighted Mr. Barzelay has the hubris to decide wether or not he's 'edging' up on a Michelin Star. I highly doubt it. And that's something only someone without a lot of experience would say out loud to a patron, or even think.

                                      I don't agree with the compulsory 20% because the is a traditional tip for excellent service in a traditional format with personal table service. This is not that, it's a completely non traditional setting. If you're going to buck the system I'm all for it, but why it's a little hypocritical and borderline offensive to lose the service and keep the tip. I don't agree with trying to have it both ways and as far as service goes because you're definitely not getting what you're being forced to pay for.

                                      There's no substitute for truly professional servers who know their own trade. It's not fake at all - it's invested, competent, intuitive of how to read the table, stay away, interrupt or not interrupt, etc, and ultimately know the menu as if they'd cooked it themselves. If you haven't had this service I'm sorry and as I get on in years and continue traveling, the more I see that it's getting harder and harder to find.

                                      Lazy Bear is effectively a high-end catered dinner ( with a permanent residence) like a wedding, where the food comes out all at once in courses, and there are servers doing general duty at all tables. There nothing wrong with that either, but it isn't worth a compulsory 'gratuity' 20% for 'service'. It shouldn't be called a gratuity for that matter, because nowhere does this form of forced tipping for so little service fit into the definition of gratuity.

                                      1. re: 30YearsOfDiningOut

                                        They don't call it a gratuity, they call it a service charge.

                                        The service may not be what you get at Quince, but 20% of $65 is only a third of 20% of $195.

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          Gratuity , service. This is really splitting hairs and ultimately beside the point. What service? They are charging a traditional 'service' charge ( gratuity ) of 20% and not providing that level of traditional service. And your point about 20 of 65 , etc - what? Completely irrelevant. The compulsory 'service' charge of 20% has no place at Lazy Bear. They're not earning it.

                                          And $65? Not sure what you're basing that on: Our tickets were $120 EACH for last weekend's dinner. It was $313 at checkout online, and that was without purchasing wine in advance.

                                          Which brings me to the next point: I ordered two glasses of wine ala carte upon arrival totaling $25, one beverage pairing ($55) at the table for my husband and I to share so we could taste what they were pairing withe the courses, and a bottle of chablis - $50 - in case we didn't care for the pairings. They missed pouring one of the flight glasses while dining, we never even saw the pairing list until we asked for it the third time at the end of the meal, there was never any discussion of the wine as one would have an opportunity to hear in a traditional format, and it took them 30 minutes to present the bottle of wine ( most of which we took home), which he then walked away from the table with and back to the bus station to open - didn't even open it at the table ! Come ON ! For this 'service' we were charged an additional 20% 'service' charge, a total of $163.

                                          So our entire experience including the 'service' charge for very little service, was $476. It's unconscionable for food that is good but not great , served by a catering team and not professional servers.

                                          Please.

                                          1. re: 30YearsOfDiningOut

                                            If you were unhappy with the service, that's a problem. If you thought it was bad value for money, that's another problem. They're only marginally related unless you routinely tip nothing for service you consider inadequate.

                                            "Gratuity , service. This is really splitting hairs ..."

                                            A gratuity is by definition voluntary, it's not subject to sales tax, and in California there are restrictions on how it can be distributed.

                                            I don't know where I got $65 either. 20% of $120 is 63% of $190.