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Mar 4, 2013 12:17 PM

Andy Hayler in SF

my favorite food blogger, andy hayler, was in san francisco last week:

While I probably wouldn't have chosen the same restaurants he did, I do agree with his scores for Quince (6/10) and Atelier Crenn (7/10) on his very strict scale:

He goes into a lot of detail with each restaurant he visits, so I find it helpful to compare these scores with other places he has reviewed when I travel.

Just thought other CHs might also enjoy his review of our city.

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  1. Thanks for the link. I was not aware of A. Hayler's website. There are a TON of restaurants reviews there!

    3 Replies
    1. re: DavidT

      he's the guy who at several points in time had eaten at every michelin 3* restaurant in the world -- so yeah, he's got a lot of reviews :-)

      sometimes he's off (chez panisse downstairs a 1/10?) but i've generally found him to be pretty on the mark. i've used his reviews on a number of trips.

      1. re: Dustin_E

        He seems overly impressed by conservative, Michelin-friendly places:

        Atelier Crenn
        Gary Danko
        One Market
        Charles Nob Hill (review from 1999)
        Postrio (1999)
        La Folie
        Slanted Door

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          he also has reviews of:

          french laundry

          anyway, yeah, michelin is definitely his style (i believe his nickname is "the michelin man") He sometimes reviews more downscale places, but his rating system is such that these places are still often scored at 2/10 or 3/10.

    2. because i feel like it, i'm going to list some of my bay area favorites, alongside my scores using the same scale:

      keiko a' nob hill
      chez panisse downstairs**

      jai yun

      sawa sashimi
      yum's bistro
      una pizza napoletana

      kappou gomi
      yank sing
      ino sushi
      akiko's restaurant
      minamoto kitchoan

      jackson fillmore
      house of prime rib
      han il kwan

      namu street food stall
      roli roti*

      (* likely should be one higher)

      (** under the old chef, and should really be between 4/10 and 8/10 maybe 9/10, depending on the night and the dishes.)

      7 Replies
      1. re: Dustin_E

        I'll take Alfred's over Harris'.

        Chez Panisse hasn't had just one chef in decades, and I don't think the ones who are sharing the job now are all new.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Perhaps that is what explains the inconsistency -- though i haven't visited enough times to know. (iirc 4 times.)

          Anyway, Jean Pierre retired at the end of 2012.

          From some other blog I follow:

          "However, over the years I have noticed that “who is in the kitchen” is making as much of a difference as what day of the week you hit the lottery of dining there. I will only name the chef I find to be turning out consistently great dishes: JEAN PIERRE."

          1. re: Dustin_E

            If you prefer Frenchy food, the nights when Jean-Pierre Moullé was running the kitchen might have stood out.

          2. re: Robert Lauriston

            In my two visits to Alfred's I have had atrocious service twice in a row, accompanied by an auto-gratuity of 17% on the check as a parting shot. The first time I went alone and liked the steak so was willing to give it another try.

            Took my wife out for what was supposed to be a nice dinner and received the same treatment again. Their meat is delicious (even when lukewarm) and I love the old-school steakhouse feel, but it's going to take a bit for me to return.

            I understand a nice filet needs to rest after cooking, but on that last visit I think it took an extended nap before being slammed down in front of me.

            They need to get their staffing/service issues worked out--the consistency they are attaining in this department is not the good kind.

            1. re: lakemerritter

              I hope you complained to the manager. Places with a service charge need to hear if their service isn't up to snuff since the servers aren't getting direct feedback from lower tips.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Just wrote a paragraph about why I didn't complain, but removed it. In the end, you are correct: I should have tried to talk to a manager and there's no reason to continue snarking on the place here. Instead, I'm going to write Alfred's a letter directly (I was so incensed by the service charge that I saved the receipts). They do need to hear it.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  I don't understand why it is the responsibility of the customer to go out of their way to give feedback to a restaurant.

                  In every other industry, businesses put a ton of effort into figuring out ways to learn what their customer likes / dislikes.

                  Knowing that after a meal you are going to have to conduct a performance review on the service staff greatly diminishes the experience.

                  If a restaurant is going to have a set 17% tip, they should know they are getting no feedback on their service from this channel, and should figure out some other way to make sure their service is good. And if they can't figure it out, be willing to either lose customers from bad service, or axe the mandatory tip.