Not What It Used To Be.
We locals had great hopes for this place when it opened and some were fulfilled early on, but this place has recently lost its way (and I'm afraid most of the other reviews are now outdated).
Having changed its direction several times (due to the bad economy most likely) it has now lost its energy and the employees seem to have stopped trying. The last few times I was there the food was okay but nothing special (and in SF we expect special). My last visit, though, will be my last. The place was almost empty but the employees seemed more intent on talking to each other or wandering around than serving anyone. After 10 minutes of not even being acknowledged (and there were only two other parties there), we left. There are just too many good options within several blocks of here -- places where the employees seem to want the business and the food is just as good if not better.
The Hilton needs to do better if they are interested in attracting regulars. (And, by the way, the happy hour has been discontinued. Must be a corporate decision, but it seems a wrong-headed one in this economy when you have a place that is practically empty every time I walk by.)
Salad Stole the Show.
Sometimes you need an evening of just atmosphere, friends & lite fare. I picked this restaurant since some friend were staying @ the Parc 55 & they could easily walk over. Love the clean lines of the decor & the open feeling of the main dining area. Their cocktail menu looked tasty but I wanted one of my old faithfuls, a Ketel 1 cucumber martini. The waitress said that eventhough it wasn't on the menu she was sure they could whip it up. Not only did they whip one out, it had a twist that was quite special. It was a mix of dirty martini, cucumber & fresh dill sprinkled in for a herbal additive! It was actually a very polished beverage. My guest ordered the mussells & clams appetizer. The chorizo was a added flavour to the dish. (I will mention a clam no-no. Pay attention kitchen one was not open.) I wasn't starving so I
ordered the Chopped Farmers Market Vegetable Salad. Let me tell you I was not missing meat at all. It was filled with fresh from the garden goodness. Brussell sprouts, cauliflower,& purple carrots never tasted so amazing. The lite dressing on it complimented every bite. It is HANDS DOWN the best salad I have had in SF. My friends ordered the fish du jour special, which was a simply prepared piece of sturgeon that sat on lentils. The piece I tasted melted in my mouth. I would have licked the plate if it had been mine! I am now very (epi)curious to try more things on their menu due to a creative salad.
Shrimp Corn Dogs = YUM!.
Thanks to San Francisco Citysearch I got the privilege to have one of the most impeccable meal’s and dining experiences I have ever had. As one of San Francisco’s Citysearch Dictators (yea, that means I’m awesome), I am part of a small group of super-users who get the benefit of going to special events at new restaurants, bars and other local hot spots. Another advantage, which I reaped the benefits of Monday night, are awesome prizes for Dictator reviews.
After reviewing my ass off I finally won an amazing dinner at a hotspot I have been dying to try, Urban Tavern. It was a dinner for two, so of course I brought my trusting sidekick (and boyfriend) Greg to this awesome Monday blues buster for some grub and cocktails after work. I’m going to make this a succinct review so I don’t drool all over my laptop.
We started off with a glass of wine each, 2007 Pinot Noir Symposium for him and a glass of 2006 Merlot Camp Masut for me. I won this tasting by ordering the better wine. They were both delicious, but even my Merlot hating boyfriend stole multiple sips from my glass.
We then moved on to appetizers of mussels and clams with chorizo and peppers. Ummmmm YUM!!! This was my first attempt at eating mussels, and I have to say I’m glad I went with the delicious shell fish. The chorizo totally complimented both the clams and mussels which were in a soup of lemony goodness! To our surprise, the Dining Manager Kyle showered us with more appetizers! This is where I was introduced to the genius that is Shrimp Corn Dogs and Meatloaf Sliders. The dill sauce that came with the Shrimp Corn Dogs was good, but I’m thinking a spicy flavorful cocktail sauce would have been better (like a gourmet catsup!) My favorite appetizer was the Meatloaf Sliders, but it was followed CLOSELY by the Shrimp Corn Dogs and Clams and Mussels.
For our main entree (YES! We ordered more), I got the steak and fries. All I can say is “It’s all about the butter sauce!” Who knew a square of butter doesn’t just go on pancakes! Greg ordered the Braised Baby Back Ribs. These MAJORLY tender ribs laid on a bed of toasted farro, which is now Greg’s new essential dinner side dish.
Even though we begged them not to (maybe not hard enough) they sent out dessert for us as well. Colin, the Chef, personally brought out a Sticky Toffee Pudding and their specialty banana pudding in a jar. (*Insider Tip from the chef: Strawberry goodness in a jar will be the next seasonal dessert). You all may know that I have a thing with bananas (if you don’t know, just be happy you haven’t heard the story), but if you like banana’s you will LOVE the banana jar dessert. I’m not a dessert person, but both were amazing and officially put me into a heavenly food comma.
All in all, this was one of the best dining experiences I have ever had! Our waiter was perfectly attentive and full of menu tips. It was great to chat with the manager and chef. And, as expected, the food was GREAT!
Maybe that wasn’t as “succinct” as I had hoped, but trust me, I could have gone on and on and on about my new favorite downtown dining spot. I see many more Meatloaf Sliders and Shrimp Corn Dogs in my future!
If you think you would be a great San Francisco Citysearch Dictator sign up here and tell them Casi sent ya!
Great happy hour, great pre theater dinner, validated parkin.
Great place for pre theater dinner. Speedy, friendly service. Great list of wine by the glass. Don't forget to try the kiwi lemondrop. Validation for free parking up to 5 hours with dinner.
The bar area tends to be very noisy though.
Sophistication with a Smaller Price Tag. If you are looking for a great luncheon spot or evening out, look no further. Food and service is great. I've been at Urban Tavern three times, and tell all my friends what a great deal it is. Good food, beautiful decor, walking distance to stores and parking across the street. Prices are reasonable. Put it on the top of your list for 2009. Happy new Year!
Good food, Good people. Food portion is perfect, taste is good! Convenience location just by Union Square. We enjoyed a lot!
Great atmosphere, interesting people watching. Urban Tavern is a very elegant, beautiful space and the food is good. I had the goat cheese salad and the gnocchi and both were excellent. We had a bottle of this Spanish wine, that I can't recall the name and that the manager suggested and it, too, was delicious. I would definitely go again and I would go with a large group of friends, next time. They have a great communal table that looks like it woul be fun to have dinner at.
I love Urban Tavern!.
One of the best burgers i have had in a long time!! Great fries, amazing wine list. I have been there a few times now, so i have tried many things. Its a great date spot. (Especially when my date buys) we had a couple apps and these sausages at the bar. The mixed drinks were awesome. Strawberry daiquiris, mojitos and martinis. All GOOD! The service was great every time I went, and the bartenders are extremely friendly!
I cant wait to go back and try other items on the menu.
Horrible/non-existent service, mediocre food.
This past Tuesday night, my friends and I were a party of six at Urban Tavern. Only five of us left. We had to eat Matty to stay alive.
Thing is, after 90 minutes of waiting, our entrees had still not arrived at the table. Our appetizers came after 45 minutes of waiting, but the actual meals never came. Appetizers were not bad, but not that great either...I had the cold tomato and crab soup, which was pretty much just cold tomato soup with crab in it...nothing all that special. I also tried some of the goat cheese salad, which seemed pretty good. We felt all the appetizers were overpriced, however.
When we'd been waiting another 30 minutes with no food, someone (Manager? Head waiter? Host? This guy just showed up from nowhere and didn't introduce himself...maybe they hired him specifically for situations like these) came over and apologized but offered no explanation. Then he offered us a free plate of sliced meats (prosciutto, etc.) which was...bad.
Finally, we ended up telling a hostess that we were giving up because we were all so hungry, and we'd rather leave than wait any longer. Here's where it really gets good...we wait another 5 minutes for the check (!), and then they bring our food out. No thanks, idiots. Then we look at the check, and they've CHARGED us for EVERYTHING...including the apology meat plate!!! Infuriating. We were deathly afraid to complain or ask for anything else at that point, because it took them over 5 minutes to respond to any request. So we just paid it.
On the way out of the restaurant we were so ravenously hungry that we had to eat Matty. He tasted a little gamey, so I asked the hostess for some ketchup. It never showed up.
Union Square eatery is a good pre-theater option.. A long, white-marble bar with metal saddle stools and a green window banquette make up the bar area, while a big communal table, a prize window booth and bistro-style seating--not to mention a horse sculpture welded together from old car parts--furnish the casual dining area. The lower level in back, with high-backed booths and white table linens, feels more like fine dining. The Mediterranean-inspired menu can get pricey, although there are some economical prix-fixe choices. The close proximity to Geary and late hours makes it a good pre- or post-theater option, and the variety of spaces and ambiances allow it to serve as both a casual place to grab a drink and a spot for a more formal dinner.
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