508 Fourth St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9410737.779447 -122.397865
Sun. 3-9 p.m.; Tue.-Sat. 6-10 p.m.; Tue.-Fri. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. lunch; Sat.-Sun 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. brunch.
Neighborhoods: Central East, Mission Bay
Surprised @ the emptiness on a Friday night?? – I am shocked by the previous reviews. I found Orson to be a good dining experience for SF. It is not a place to go if you are in a rush, however. I began to understand this as our waiter explained every mouth watering dish. He had an understanding of how each dish was prepared as well as suggestions of what to try.(Jesse you were WONDERFUL!) One of our guest loves seafood & after hearing the way the chicken dish was prepared switched to it. The waiter also gave us a tasting of the soup of the day: chestnut...It was like having turkey chestnut stuffing in a glass!! Warm & DELICIOUS!! Its very rare that I will rave about french fries, but I have to say, the ones here were not normal. Just a flavour explosion w/ the bearnaise dipping sauce. The house made burrata w/ blood orange marmalade is hard to explain. The citrus and the creamy cheese literally melted in your mouth & you're filled with joy, plus longing for more. I shared the
charred escarole, roasted potatoes, scallion,
garlic confit, slow poached egg, feta pizza. I can say the mix of ingredients would scare most diners, but we decided to try the unusual combo. Yes, egg on a pizza has changed my pizza world!! It wasnt overly rich and the charred escarole gave it a smoky texture that kept us grabbing another slice. Also tasted was the perfectly curried cauliflower & the extra tender short rib w/ horseradish creme fraiche. When we realized that we were running out of time, our waiter brought us a sweets taster that was exceptional except for the snickerdoodle mini cookie. It was a little dry and tasted like pure flour. That was the only dislike over the whole dinner!
I am not trying to disagree with other reviewers, but I feel like I was in a completely different restaurant than they explained.
Citysearch Editorial Review – Citizen Cake and its buttoned-up pre-opera crowd may have put local superstar chef Elizabeth Falkner on the map, but Orson, her funky Soma-based restaurant, is where the punked-out chef shows she can be as sassy as she is sweet. A former foundry, the massive warehouse space lends itself to a party atmosphere (its infamous Chocolate Fantasy parties often include someone being dipped, from head-to-toe, into a vat of chocolate). A huge circular bar is the centerpiece, while the upstairs dining area is crisscrossed by catwalks offering aerial views of the action below. The funky menu is peppered with zany touches, such as the sprinkling of Pop Rocks on many a dish. Falkner's famous duck fat French fries are as addictive as they are artery-clogging, and they go perfectly with the top-notch $5 cocktails at happy hour.
Good food, SLOOOOOWWWWW Service – I went to Orson with a group of foodies who are always scouting the best burgers. We arrived and were seated without delay, but that hardly mattered, since it was nearly an hour before we had anything to eat! After being seated, the waiter ignored us for nearly 20 minutes. He took our (very simple) drink order and disappeared. Eventually he reappeared and took our food order, but that was proably 30 minutes after we sat down. Then he disappeared again. After another 20 minutes and several inquiries about when we might expect food, the hostess sent toast, which was good, but which we devoured in about 30 seconds. Finally the food arrived. The burgers, with the spicy sauce and the truffle mayonnaise were exceptional. And the duck fat fries were delish -- but a warning -- I adore salt, love it -- and these fries were even a bit salty for me. After the main course (and I was still starving, having waited too long for dinner) some folks at the table ordered dessert, and we waited, and waited, and waited. Then we waited more for the check. And waited. Two and half hours for a dining experience is fine if the experience is exceptional and is moving along, but if it is just famished waiting, that is not okay.
Nice decor, we liked the burger, but the service means I won't be coming back.
Crappy food and service – If you want to go to a cool place for cocktails, this is the right place for happy hour. Their fries used to be quite excellent, but now I just don't think there is anything else on the menu one can order other than the fries. Do NOT order their hush puppies. It is the single most disgusting thing you would put in your mouth - its so dry that if you have more than a couple, it almost feels as if you're completely dehydrated after a night of heavy drinking with a dry throat and bad taste in your mouth. Their egg tempura is gone which I was quite upset about and nothing on their menu is worth trying. Don't waste your money on overtipping the waiters/bartenders as they all seemed quite cocky based on my 2-3 visits over the last month and a half. Save your dough and go somewhere else...
Disappointing – Perhaps it is a bad sign that we were able to get a table for 8 @ Orson on short notice. Unfortunately, the evening lived up to the low expectations. First, when we made the reservation, the hostess failed to advise us that a party of 500 (!) would be sharing the restaurant starting at 10 pm that night. Our group was planning to hang out after dinner with drinks and chat, but that wasnt going to happen once the masses started lining up. But that would have been forgivable if the food had been any good. Alas, that was not the case. Each person had a starter -- exploding ceaser salad; arugula salad or mussels. The mussels were pretty good -- fresh and in a thai coconut broth. The salads, however, were not dressed (note -- undressed ceaser salad is not good) and were something you could easily get for half the price at any cafe. The most egregious aspects were the main courses. For $25, I received THREE scallops atop a squirt of sweet potatoes. I mean seriously. During economic times like these, how can you serve something like that with a straight face. The dish itself wasnt particularly memorable. The scallops were seared; the mashed sweet potatoes were virtually liquified. Beef short ribs with pappardelle did not fare much better. Again, for $25 we received a small chunk of an inexpensive cut of meat (mostly fat) with about 10 noodles and a few ribbons of carrot. I'm all for haute cuisine and right-sizing portions ... but if you are going to charge $25 ... at least make the food tasty. The only smart member of the group ordered a pizza. It was good and a good value. To give credit where credit is due -- desserts, which the chef is known for, were quite good. If you go here ... stick with pizza and dessert ... or drinks and then go to Zuppa or COCOs down the block.
Great Space, Fun Bar and exciting food...really great place to host an event too. – WOW, I couldn't disagree with these reviewers more...Great wine, phenomenal food in an amazing space. Been several times and it keeps getting better. We took our friends last Friday and they, first-time Orson guests, were very impressed too. We're all coming back for the Pig & Whiskey dinner in October! Keep up the good work Elizabeth and team. So great to have a hot place like this in SF!
Not for long – This place is strange. The waiter was a server, but thought he was part of a royal court, that turned me off from the moment he approached; condecending and aloof. My short rib came in 5 hard solid large dice-like cubes, cold and swimming in a tastless foam. I just pushed it away. The hostess came by after the busboy cleared the table, as he must of alerted her a plate was not touched after everyone was done. She asked if anything was wrong and could she take it off the bill. TOO LATE. I PAID AND STAYED UGLY , I would of tried it hot or had something else if the waiter had seen I was not eating sooner. Everything had foam on it....enough already....i get it. They are trying to hard. What I found rediculous was some guy running around, probably the manager, serving food and clearing plates in his street clothes and hoodie. So unprofessional. This place is just off.
Trying Too Hard – Innovation is great, intersting combinations delight the palate. But this .. I'm afraid they were just trying to hard. Short ribs with espresso beans produced a flavor combination that had me rushing to get the taste out of my mouth. The edamame was greasy and bland. The seasonal veggie salad was bland. This is not cheap, and not tasty, avoid at all costs.
Hmmm...... did we all eat at the same restaurant??? – We just got back from my birthday dinner at Orson. I too was one of those people that read the reviews and almost changed my reservation to another restaurant. BOY AM I GLAD THAT I DID NOT!!!
I have to say, that after reading the reviews I thought that it would be good to try it, but to go the "Tastings Menu" route. I spoke to my party (4) about it before we even got to the restaurant because it specified that to get a "proper expierence" all parties need to be involved.
When we got to the restaurant (very accessible from BART) we sat at the bar and enjoyed the $5 drinks while waiting for our table. Oh and by the way, my girl in the back is saying "The Dirty Gin Martini is FABULOUSE!!!!!" anyhow, if quiet, intimate places are more your pace, this is not the restaurant for you. Some of the tables are a little close to the bar area, we let the hostess know that we wanted a table further away, which they were able to accommidate without any problems. We brought our own wine, as there is only a $15 corking fee, to enjoy with our tastings. Now since it was my birthday, and we wanted the true FULL expierence we went for the 70pp omniovre tasting. They had other options for tastings that started at $45pp.
Before I even start to talk about the food, I have to preface this with one person in my party is a "I dont want your fork ANYWHERE near my plate" kinda girl. We asked for extra plates and fresh silverware after each course, which they happen to do anyhow. We started with the soup shots, one cold, one hot. Yes they do come in actual shot glasses, but once again this is a tasting. Then moved into an octopus salad (think like taco, japenese sushi, tofu with baby bok choi. We then had one of everything on the Premiers menu! OH MY GOODNESS!!! I am still full! We also had the majority of companions! The farro, grilled peach, scallion, crescenza companion was to die for!
They left us with *8different desserts! ALL Wonderfull
Out of space or I ..
While unfortunate, you need to avoid wasting your evening and your money. Shame on you Elizabeth! – I don?t know if I have ever been so personally insulted by a restaurant experience. While no restaurant critic, I feel that I have a fairly balanced perspective on dining out. I just finished an evening at Orson with a group of seven friends as a birthday celebration for one of our party. While several of us had either heard or read poor reviews , we were still excited to try Elizabeth Falkner?s newest venture. Our expectation was that for someone with Elizabeth?s experience, reported talent, and personal ties to the culture of San Francisco, perhaps the reviews of poor service, ridiculously small portions and equally ridiculous prices were missing something or at least were partially inaccurate. To our surprise, the bad reviews were only inaccurate by their sever understatement of just how bad this restaurant is. Condescending wait staff, $11 thimble-sized cocktails, entre-priced dishes not large enough to be considered appetizers, and a menu written to insult instead of inform, all contributed to a feeling of being completely and utterly taken advantage of. The only redeeming element was the interior design of the space. The straw that broke the camel?s back was when a $22 desert sampler was served that amounted to four smudges on a square plate that were hardly large enough to get a spoon under. And I?m NOT kidding! When a complaint was made, the server boasted about the two dry, tasteless cookies in the middle of the plate that the pastry chef had added as a special treat. Furthermore, when the owner was informed of our dissatisfaction, she simply stood at a distance, and did nothing to address the problem. As a resident of San Francisco, as a member of the gay community which Elizabeth is part of, I?m ashamed of her attempt to take advantage of her formerly loyal clientele and her efforts to give San Francisco dining a bad name.
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