The Beach Chalet…Shall we Not?

The Beach Chalet in San Francisco has a lovely view of the glorious and sparkling Pacific Ocean and, if you get there at just the right time, you can watch in awe and wonder as the sun goes down in all of it’s pink and orange glory.

Okay then, moving on.

We thought it would be fun to end a wonderful day spent playing and picnicking in Golden Gate Park with dinner at The Beach Chalet, because we’d never been there and it’s the type of touristy place you need an excuse to visit. Silly, silly tourists.

There are certainly forgivable aspects to some of the complaints about our dinner there last weekend. For example: the wait for our table was an hour, but to be fair, we were a party of 9. As a former restaurant hostess (the best ever, actually) I know that it’s no small feat to accommodate a large walk-in party at the dinner hour on a Saturday night. Our server was not terribly well-informed about portion sizes and menu specifics, but to be fair, he did admit that he was rather new to the job. I can sympathize, and appreciated his honesty. However, what I did not appreciate was waiting 45 minutes for our mediocre, overpriced dinner. To his credit the server did come over after about 30 minutes and tell us that it would be just a bit longer for our meal, but this was more informative than apologetic. When our meals did start to arrive, they were delivered in stages – a plate here, two plates there – with long breaks in between. Eventually, eight of us had our meals. But one of us didn’t:

Evie chalet

In my experience – both in the restaurant world and as a parent – kids generally get served their meals first. They have tiny little tummies and tend to get rambunctious so it’s best to distract them with something delicious. Apparently this is not the practice at The Beach Chalet.

As is my nature, I tried to think of reasonable explanations for the delay: maybe the kitchen didn’t know there was a child attached to that order of mac n’ cheese from the kid’s menu? Maybe the kid’s mac n’ cheese is super extra special and requires more time to prepare? It’s a mystery. One that we had plenty of time to ponder: enough time for a burger to be delivered across from me, sent back because it wasn’t right, and then be re-delivered…all before the kid got her food.

Once it did arrive you can imagine my surprise to find that it had not in fact been prepared with a precious rare mixture of angel’s tears and flecks of gold. It was just plain old mac n’ cheese. I use the word ‘mac’ liberally because of course the noodles used weren’t actual macaroni, which I’m only mentioning because it’s a pet-peeve of mine for some weird reason.

Anyhoo! I’m sorry to say that the food wasn’t worth the wait. The dressing on the Caesar salad literally dripped off of the lettuce. The side of polenta I ordered was lumpy and looked like it had been plated in a prison cafeteria. Even my son was displeased with his calamari, and that kid never complains about anything! He went so far as to fill out a comment card, but I didn’t leave it for the staff since it contained words like ‘poopy’ in it. When I asked my brothers how their meals were, they said “pretty lame” and “so-so at best”. Do I even need to mention the fact that in order to get my water refilled I had to flag someone down and ask – three times? Well I just did, so there.

Needless to say, The Beach Chalet is – to quote my brother Chris – not a repeatable destination.

But the view sure is pretty.

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