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Central Kitchen, is it worth it? [San Francisco]

Is there a new trend for expensive restaurants? I just saw the menu for Central Kitchen and I'm wondering if it is overpriced, or if I have unrealistic expectations on what to pay in SF these days. What do you expect to pay for a meal?

Poached hen. young potatoes. créme fråiche. dill and scallions: $24
Glass of wine : $9
Healthy SF: $4 (just a guess)
Tax+tip: $11
Total: $48

Dinner for 2 with no starter or Dessert: $100 (because you will round up the $96 anyway)
Entree, Main, and 2 glasses of wine will run you $ 80/pp
The tasting menu will run you $160/pp

(And that doesn't include the taxi to get there, because there is sod all parking in the area, or the extra cocktails you will consume at the bar next door while waiting for a table)

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  1. $25 to $27 for main courses including sides is average or slightly below for SF restaurants that use top-quality ingredients.

    The published menu has a $1.95 health and dental charge.

    1. That sounds a little on the cheap side, yeah. I'm not saying it's not still expensive, but it's typical.

      Here is the menu for oft-mentioned Nopa, which I think people here would consider medium-level with respect to cost:

      http://nopasf.com/menu/dinner/

      1. so has anyone tried Central Kitchen? I'm going next week and am curious about whether to try the tasting menu or go a la carte. The tasting menu is 83. I think Flour and Water is overrated and overhyped but I'm interested to see what comes out with a more refined cuisine and style.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tjinsf

          I'm going next week too but will probably get the a la carte. Really want the tasting menu but the friend I'm going with always prefers the a la carte options and I'm stuck.

        2. parking is super easy in that area; not sure where you were looking....

          2 Replies
          1. re: vulber

            Ridiculous. That is BY FAR the worst place to park in the Mission, at least in the daytime. BY FAR.

            1. re: Atomica

              the restaurant is only open during the nighttime, hence my comment. that area clears out at night

          2. Went here the other night and was a little underwhelmed, although that could very well be because of our high expectations. We ordered almost all of the starters and an entree. Everything was good but nothing made enough of an impression for me to want to come back to eat it again.

            In contrast, we went to St. Vincent last night and can't wait to go back. 4 out of the 5 dishes we ordered were so delicious, I kept raving about them all night. I realize they're not the same kind of restaurant, but I was disappointed that I didn't leave Central Kitchen feeling anywhere near as satisfied with the experience as we were with St. Vincent.

            The service at Central Kitchen was excellent, however. Everyone was very friendly, helpful and welcoming. I realize that they just opened so I'll probably give them a few months and try again.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bluex

              thanks for the report back. Do you remember what you have a t central kitchen. Also would love to here what dishes you like at St. Vicent's.

              1. re: tjinsf

                Yep.
                Central Kitchen: the ham, asparagus, poached artichokes, spring onions and mackerel as starters and the salmon for our entree. The spring onion dish was our favorite.

                St. Vincent: Our favorites were the curried pickled egg, bone marrow, vidalia onion soup and the burnt milk ice cream and honeycomb dessert. I still can't get over how good the egg and onion soup were but we'd order all of the above again. We also got the egg with potato chips and speck, which was good but not memorable like the other dishes.