Monday, March 17, 2014

Catering by Presidio Social Club

As I mentioned last week in my review of catering by Dobbs Ferry, my office ordered catering from several local San Francisco restaurants, as part of an experiment.  For a month, each restaurant provided food once a week.

I haven't ever visited Presidio Social Club, although I almost did a year or so ago.  You may recall that I had a bit of a foie gras obsession, particularly right before the California ban went into effect.  I ate a ton of foie.  And then, on that tragic day, it (mostly) vanished from San Francisco.  Presidio Social club however was in an interesting position.  They are located on federal land as part of the Presidio National Park, and thus, the California law did not apply to them.  So, they continued to serve it for a while.  I was actually planning to go when I heard that they pulled it from the menu.  Sigh.

So I never went, but when I heard they were providing the catering, I was excited.  I knew we wouldn't get foie, but I also knew Presidio Social Club was supposed to be a decent restaurant.  But since they are not a standard caterer, I didn't really know what to expect, and I know it is a bit unfair to judge them entirely on this experience.  I present this very clearly as a review of their catering services, not the restaurant itself.

It was a mixed bag, as they really brought a large variety of dishes, some more successful that others.  The first week, it was healthy soup and salad, and I didn't care for either.  The next week, it was full on comfort foods, which I loved.  And on the next, rustic style, which I also didn't like.  But all of it was far, far better than Dobbs Ferry, the other restaurant who provided our catering throughout this experiment.
Chopped Kale Salad: shaved garden vegetables, toasted seeds, sherry vinaigrette.
On the first catering event, they went healthy and simple, with just a salad and a soup.  I tried both, starting with the chopped kale salad.

Yes, kale is very trendy this days, but I do like it, and I absolutely love delicata squash, so I was thrilled to see it included in the "shaved garden vegetables".  However, it was … raw.  Shaved thin, but still raw, which just wasn’t very tasty.  This was sadness, as delicata can be one of the most delicious things ever, particularly when roasted and slightly caramelized.

The salad base was kale, and the other shaved vegetables were radish and carrots.  All fresh and crisp.  There were sesame seeds as garnish on top for a bit of crunch.  But overall, it had no flavor, and was not remarkable in any way.

I wouldn't get this again.  Served as an appetizer for $12.50 at lunch and dinner.
East West Chicken Soup: Jidori chicken, egg noodles, carrots, ginger, scallions, cilantro.
Alongside the salad was chicken soup.  Now, I don't like chicken at all.  And I rarely like soup.  But I still really wanted to try it.

The soup was really oily.  As in, lots of visible oil floating on top.  The noodles and carrots were soggy.  The broth didn’t have a particularly good flavor.  Said a coworker, “This is the most unremarkable chicken soup I’ve ever had”.  Another said it was indistinguishable from canned soup.

I wouldn't get this again.  Served as an appetizer for $11.50 for lunch and dinner.

At this point, I wasn't excited about Presidio Social Club.  Their soup and salad failed to impress, but, those are not items I'd normally order anyway.  On the next visit, they went in a total different direction.  Rather than healthy appetizers, they went for total comfort food entrees, much more up my alley!
Classic Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Natural Jus.
The first entree selection was meatloaf, served over mashed potatoes.  It didn't look all that great, and given all the other catering experiences, I didn't expect much of it.  I was wrong.

This meatloaf was delicious.  Very moist and flavorful, made with a mix of beef and pork, with bacon fat added in for good measure.  It also seemed to have a bit of a sear on the edges, which gave a crispy crust which I enjoyed.  On top was the "natural jus", which had its flavor amped up with red wine and port.  Very, very good meatloaf.

The mashed potatoes were also good, incredibly smooth and creamy.  Clearly, there was plenty of heavy cream and butter used.  The potatoes also soaked up the jus well, and I liked dipping my meatloaf in them as well.

I really liked this, and would gladly eat it again.  It is on their regular lunch menu for $17.50.
Macaroni & Cheese with Herbed Bread Crumbs.
The vegetarian offering alongside the meatloaf was mac and cheese.  Both full size entrees, but both things I really like, so I couldn't resist getting the mac and cheese too.

The mac and cheese was made with a slew of cheeses: Blue Cheese, Cheddar, Fiscalini Cheddar, Gruyere, and Grana Padano.  As such, I expected it to be very cheesy and flavorful, but I think the combination of so many cheeses caused them to cancel each other out and mask each other.  The cheese sauce was creamy and coated the noodles well, but didn't have the flavor I was hoping for.

The noodles were a bit overcooked, the whole thing was mushy.  The bread crumbs on top were very oily and not crisp.  This could have just been a side effect of being catering and sitting in a hot box for a while.

Overall, it was ok, but not that great, and I wouldn’t get it again.  Probably a little better than most homemade mac, but not restaurant quality.  On the regular lunch menu for $12.00.
Winter Farro Stew.
On the next visit, they went an entirely different direction again,  this time featuring rustic style dishes,  with a braised chicken thigh as the meat option, and winter farro stew for vegetarian.  Since I really don't like chicken, I went for the stew, even though I admit that the chicken did look good.

It was called a stew, but it didn't have any broth, so I'm not quite sure why it was a stew.  Rather, it seemed like just warm farro with wild mushrooms and kale.

I like farro in general, but this was way overcooked.  The entire thing was just a bowl of textureless mush.  The farro was mush, the kale was mush, even the mushrooms were mush.

The flavor also wasn't there.

Did not like, at all.
Presidio Social Club on Urbanspoon
Related Posts with Thumbnails