Flora revisited

Okay, so I got take-out from Flora last night (they have their liquor license, finally!), and I’m sorry to say that the food was just plain not good. At all. My salad (which arrived already dressed in the to go box!) was incredibly bitter, to the point of basically being inedible. There was almost none of the promised shaved fennel and I was unable to identify any pomegranate flavor in the pomegranate vinaigrette.

My cheeseburger (bizarrely) tasted of vinegar more than anything else, although it was also oversalted. Also, it was pretty close to raw in the center (I ordered medium rare). And while I’m usually a big fan of bloody meat, I get a little paranoid about undercooked ground beef when I haven’t done the grinding myself, so I really prefer that something like a hamburger from a restaurant make it to a full 130 at least. This one didn’t get close. The french fries that came with the cheeseburger were beyond oversalted, and also incredibly mealy. And where were the carmelized onions?

I have much more tolerance for mediocre food in restaurants than some of my commenters, but every single thing I ordered was just straight up bad. And the place isn’t cheap. On the plus side, the staff is very friendly.

A commenter on SF Covers wasn’t impressed with her meal, nor was at least one Chowhound poster. But early reviews aren’t universally negative. A friend who went to dinner there on Saturday said the duck and the ravioli were excellent, and both Pat Kernighan and Larry Reid said at last night’s Public Safety Committee meeting that they thought Flora’s food was fabulous.

At this point, they’ve been open less than a week, so I’m going to give the restaurant at least one more shot before I write off the food for good. I’ve opened restaurants before, and it really does take a while for things to gel. I’ll probably give them another month or so to work out the kinks before I try the food again.

But the place is just gorgeous, and I can’t wait to go drink Manhattans at their bar.

For those interested in visiting, Flora’s full menu is posted at Grocery Trekker.

9 thoughts on “Flora revisited

  1. Eric

    Damn, that’s too bad, I had high hopes for this place. I realize now though that the only reason why I really had high hopes was because of the building it’s in. If a beautiful building houses a restaurant, that restaurant must also be great… that follows, right? :-)

    I guess we’ll have to wait to see how these Ozumo offshoots in the Cathedral Bldg and Broadway Grand turn out.

  2. masb

    I hope that you will wait awhile before you pronounce Flora dead. AND, I’m not sure take-out is a fair way to judge a brand new eat-in restaurant. I would rather have a restaurant like Flora, even if it is only pretty good, in that location than the barren neglected storefront that has been there for years. Wait before you give up on this place.

  3. V Smoothe Post author

    masb –

    You’ll notice that I do make allowances in the post for the newness of the restaurant. But I’m going to disagree with you about the take-out. It’s perfectly fair to judge a restaurant by anything they sell. If they can’t do take-out, they shouldn’t offer it.

    I’d be very satisfied with Flora if it were “only pretty good.” My problem is that the two meals I’ve had there so far have been barely edible. I’m certainly keeping my fingers crossed that they can pull it together.

  4. Ruth

    I went for lunch the week after it opened and a light dinner a week later and was pleased both times. Sat at the bar with friends and ordered the crab louis which was so good it didn’t need the Louis dressing which I asked for on the side. Friends had sandwiches which they rated good. Had the dinner salad for dinner the next week which was good and filling. Friends both had the short ribs appetizers and side vegetables. Both would order them again although I don’t think they were especially fond of the cauliflower side. Bar staff is very friendly and they have an interesting drink menu. Friend liked their margarita with spicy heat. (They can make it easy heat or ultra.) I stick to martinis and I tried the martini with elderberry flower liquor which was quite good although generally sweeter than I would like. I think the bartender forgot to just let the glass taste the elderflower. Friend liked the champagne with St. Germaine (?) liquor. While they have all these exotics, they lack the basic vodkas

  5. Ed Kersh

    I had dinner there last night. I thought it was excellent and reasonably priced. Great service as well.

  6. V Smoothe Post author

    Glad to hear it. It may be time for another meal on my part. I’ve had cocktails there on several occasions since I wrote this (which have all been lovely), but haven’t tried the food again. Judging from the crowds I see, it looks like people are enjoying the food.