Let’s get this out of the way. I like Coco 500. I really do.
But that doesn’t mean the place is without its faults. It’s no veggie haven, I’ll tell you that much.
Coco 500 is usually my “go to” restaurant for dining recommendations. Meaning when a coworker asks where to go for a great meal that won’t break the bank, I send them to Coco 500. I like the simplicity of the menu. I like the food’s flavor profiles. I like the atmosphere—sort of California-warm, casual elegance. So it seemed like a no-brainer for entertaining my out-of-town aunt on her big visit to San Francisco.
For the most part, I’m still happy with the decision. But there’s one thing I’ve just got to get off my chest…
Coco 500 has great vegetable sides in their “California Dirt” section of the menu. Friday’s list included Local Asparagus with Davero Olive Oil and Lemon, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Sea Salt and Herbs, Star Route Farm Swiss Chard with Garlic and Peach Farm Summer Squash with Lemon Verbina. Yum, right? So I asked the waitress if the chef could make a plate, blah, blah, blah, and she said, “Absolutely.”
When she returned to the table, she let me know that the chef would be happy to prepare the King Salmon entree, sans salmon, plus asparagus, for $19.00. WTF? The salmon dish included tzatziki and a quinoa tabbouleh. Nineteen bucks for some asparagus, tzatziki and some quinoa. Forget about it. It felt like a “fuck you” tax for asking.
Instead, I opted for the ravioli and asked them to skip the prosciutto. Which was, in retrospect, a huge mistake. Without the added zip of the meat, the ravioli fell flat. Sigh.
On a happier note, though, we got one hell of a wine recommendation. A Catherine and Pierre Breton Bourgueil (2002) that was funky, funky, funky—in the best possible way. After about a half hour on the table, the bottle opened up and blew our minds. All the edges were sanded off the barn(yard) for a smooth roll in the hay.
So Coco 500 has one foot on my recommendation list, and one foot on my shit list. But what are you gonna do? That describes half the restaurants in San Francisco, I suppose.