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Jan 26, 2013 02:49 AM

Help! Celebratory splurge Oak/berk next sat

Help! Celebratory splurge Oak/berk next sat for 6, and we have dietary issues, 2 are kosher ( so eat pescatarian/vegetarian.)
Here's a list from opentable that I've come up with:

Any great fish restaurants?
Comments please

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  1. Olivetos should be just fine with your party--what they do best is pasta--perfect for your kosher companions--and then there would be fish in the main dish column. It will be a splurge (i.e., high prices)!

    I like Camino better; and both veg and fish are terrific when cooked in the wood oven--but it's not a large menu to start with; and when you cut out meat/chicken/shellfish, your fish/veg eaters might or might not like the few remaining possibilities. It's not at the top of our vegetarian daughter's list, when she's home, for just this reason.

    Revival feels less like a celebratory splurge; and I can't speak to the fish/veg options.

    Have yet to try Flora.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sundeck sue

      Revival does fish much better than they do meat. We were there a week ago. The trout was sensational while the short rib and choucroute garni were awful. The flatbread with 3 bacons was great, although we like gamey meat so were fine with the boar and lamb bacons. They are strongly flavored even when diced up.

      I don't approve of Oliveto's, even though we have friends who enjoy it. The food is flawed, the service has always been sloppy, and they charge $15-20/pp more than everybody else. We have tried them at various times through all three chefs in 21 yrs, and they have never improved from their baseline. They do have fabulous cappuccino, though - every time I have theirs (it's been the same guy since Oliveto first opened) I wonder why I can't get this kind of perfection anywhere else.

      Camino is very workmanlike and conservative in their cooking. They keep it fast and simple, so what they do, they do well. But as sue says, the menu is extremely limited so you really have to want what they're offering that night. We were just there on Wednesday: there was a 1/2 Dungeness crab, a pork dish, and a vegetable gratin - that was it for the entrees. The crab was fresh and very good; the pork nicely paired with excellent sides.

      Camino has never used much beyond salt and pepper; the wildest they got was the Moroccan carrot salad with the crab - no lemon, but a nice hit of cumin. All the tastes are very clean and well-defined, but simple. No complexity in any of the flavors.

    2. The kosher-keeping foodie I know favors Revival.

      1. We went to Revival last night. I had the parsnip gnocchi which had little bits of orange cauliflower and some brussels sprout leaves tossed in a butter sauce. It was an excellent dish and vegetarian as far as I could tell. The vibe was lively and the service was more even than on past visits.

        4 Replies
        1. re: kellylee

          Yeah, Revival's service is a weak point (as it is in many Bay Area restaurants, frankly). I think the cavernous space works against them. The waitstaff all congregates at the back where the kitchen window is, and ends up spending time chatting with one another instead of covering their tables. As a result the hostess is always chipping in to fill water glasses, etc., in between trying to greet/seat newcomers, who have to stand by the front door and wait for her to return.

          My spouse has his degree in restaurant management and places like Revival drive him crazy. He says there is no excuse for waitstaff to stand around kibbutzing with one another - there is always plenty to do in a restaurant! It's one of the reasons he mourns the demise of the professional maitre d'hotel position.

          1. re: jaiko

            À Côté, Chez Panisse, Lalime's, Rivoli, and Wood Tavern are exceptions to the general rule, service is polished and professional though not overly formal or intrusive.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I would agree with you on A Cote and maybe Wood Tavern, but not on Lalime's. We've had some up and down experiences with Lalime's, but the last time (mid 2012) it was so unpleasant we decided to give up on them entirely. I don't think I've ever been so angry over how we were treated. The pacing was completely off, orders were forgotten not just once or twice but THREE TIMES, interminable waits between courses with absolutely no apologies even when we asked politely for an explanation.

              It was our third dinner there in 12 months (and we have gone there periodically over the years) and their attitude was clearly one of "you don't like it, tough; there's plenty of people who want to dine here." Paid the bill, left, and have never gone back.

              We go out often and have an enormous annual budget for it. I tip way over average as my mother was a waitress and my spouse a waiter when he was working his way through restaurant mgt school. I was appalled at the attitude Lalime's projected that night. It was extraordinarily unprofessional and discourteous - and completely unexpected, the opposite of what we'd experienced at previous dinners.

              We have had some good meals there, but that evening was the literal "straw that broke the camel's back." No one likes to sit and watch other tables come in, order, get their food, pay their bill and leave, while you're still waiting for your entree. Dinner was almost three hours long, and almost all of it was spent just waiting.

              1. re: jaiko

                Good to know. It seems like the Krikorians are easing into retirement.

        2. Commis is very good and would likely be able to accommodate your requests. Gather is not necessarily a splurge, but it's a great omnivorous menu. omnivores and vegans are equally delighted by the menu. We've had good service there, and love the cocktails as well.

          2 Replies
          1. re: edgrimley

            The food at Gather's really good and the atmosphere is usually quite lively. Sort of similar to Revival, which is a little fancier.

            1. re: edgrimley

              You need to be careful with the waitstaff at Gather. One time we found their assurances that a medically proscribed item "is on the side, you can eat everything else just fine" was NOT correct. Yes, that forbidden item was on the side -- but it also turned out to be in the puree that underpinned the stack of main ingredients.

              Fortunately, I took one bite and realized I shouldn't be eating any part of the dish. But it was lucky that mine wasn't a life-threatening allergy! I found that very sloppy of them, especially as I had reserved through OT and specifically told them ahead of time about it, as well as discussing our order with the waitstaff before we chose our dishes.