It's hard for me to say this, but I think I'm done with Zuni. For now, at least.
This is a big deal (for me). I have long counted the restaurant as one of the best reasons to live in San Francisco. I love everything about Jody Rodgers' approach to food. Her love of ingredients, her perfect technique, her fluency in all things local and seasonal. Just when I think I know something about food, I look at her menu and come across a dozen things I've never seen before.
Her cookbook is the best one in my collection, the one book I'm committed to cooking through in its entirety. If you were trying to learn great technique and could buy only one book, I'd tell you to get that one.
But I am so tired of having every perfect meal bruised by bad service. So I'm giving it up for a while.
Last night, we went in for a celebratory dinner. Our friend Jessica has just landed an amazing new job, and another friend Julia was visiting from New York. There were 5 of us: not a small group, but not a logistical challenge, either. We were happy and a bit more spendy, a server's dream. Ours was friendly (and to be fair, they've gotten much friendlier of late), but we had to repeat our orders three times before she got it all down (and she still forgot an appetizer). We had to ask for water twice, and we didn't get it until halfway through the meal.
These are small points, I know, but this is an expensive restaurant. And my experience has been that it's consistently disappointing in many small ways. I can't get over the disconnect between the level of care that goes into the food and the lack of care expressed by the servers. Two weeks ago, I went for my birthday and our server disappeared for so long that we had to flag down the busser for drinks, for refills, for clearing, for dessert menus, and for the check. I'm fine with doing that at a casual place, when I'm not paying $100 for dinner. A girl has her limits.
So that's that.
But...uh, I've only been there one time for brunch. Maybe the daytime staff is better?