The new Flavor restaurant in El Granada

Letter

Posted by
Sun, January 2, 2011


Just had the pleasure if trying FLAVORS in El Granada. Shea and I were so pleased with the food and service. Someone knows how to cook! We will be back often. I think this may become the premier place to eat on the entire coastside, surpassing some well established favorites.

Funny, we went yesterday and found it entirely unremarkable. To each their own.

—DavidV

Comment 2
Tue, January 4, 2011 11:33am
Bob Poole
All my comments

Hmm… On Yelp 11 out of 11 commenters gave it 5 star ratings.

I still use Yelp all the time, but these days I tend to take their ratings with a grain of salt. 

Eleven five star reviews out of twelve in the first week is surprising and suggests a less than critical pool of reviewers. I’m looking forward to trying it out for myself.

I also changed the title to the restaurant’s correct name: “Flavor”

http://www.yelp.com/biz/flavor-el-granada

Comment 4
Wed, January 5, 2011 2:24pm
Bob Poole
All my comments

Take 2, lunch today, still excellent on all counts. People at nearby tables were also remarking how much they enjoyed their meals.

Glad to hear it. I intend to give them another chance as well.

—DavidV

I’ll try it at some point but I love Gibraltar and think it’s the best we’ve got on the Coast.

Comment 7
Thu, January 6, 2011 5:14pm
Bob Poole
All my comments

I am amazed at your logic Gail. You haven’t tried it, but you are willing to believe that it can’t be equal or better than Gibraltar. Maybe your are right, but don’t you think you should try it first?
Just as Barry, not having tried it either, suggests that the pool of reviewers must be less than critical.  ????

I’m saying Yelp is no longer as reliable as it used to be. I stand by that assessment.

I also said the voting patterns “suggested” a less than critical pool of reviewers. That’s more likely than a dozen random Yelpers being floored by a restaurant on the opening weekend.

I’m still hopeful regarding Flavor. We need more solid restaurants on the Coastside that appeal to locals as well as tourists.

Sorry, Bob—I didn’t phrase that clearly. I really just meant that I think Gibraltar is superlative—truthfully one of my favorite restaurants in the Bay Area—and it has been my favorite local place for years. I love the ambience and the unusual combinations of spices and ingredients (not to mention the vegetarian and vegan options).

This new place may be equally fine in a different way. No offense intended and glad you had a good experience.

Barry may have a point. The comments posted on Yelp were mighty peculiar. Aside from the similarity between them (many seemed to mention the same menu items and the prix fixe menu, and many used very similar language), there were comments like these:

“The shortrib crostini’s and sliders are always a good choice.  And when you can’t decide on dessert - the little bites is a great way to go.  The dessert menu changes frequently, but tonight’s meyer lemon cheesecake was yummy.” This was an opening night comment. How would they know that the sliders are “always a good choice” or that “the dessert menu changes frequently” on opening night?

Several reviews commented on the quality of menu items that they did not have in their list of items tried. Others commented on nearly every item on the menu (one commented on 12 different items!).

So, it may be a terrific restaurant (though $30 for dinner is not my idea of a “value”), but the reviews seem suspicious to me too,

This place has real potential but they still have some kinks to work out.  We just had dinner here and overall I’d give it a very good rating but no more.  Most of the food was quite good but they burned one of the poltenta cakes that came with my wife’s short ribs and the cooks just turned the burned side down to hide it.  Obviously that didn’t work ...

My Duck tasted good but the skin was rubbery.  Duck skin needs to be crisp. 

But overall it was pretty good and the prices and portion size are excellent.  We’ll go back and we hope they work out the kinks as this could be a great addition to the coast side dining options.

While the overall rating of a restaurant on Yelp can be helpful, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

I have read two-star ratings given by people who were angry because they showed up late for their reservation and couldn’t be accommodated to their satisfaction.  I also saw a five-star rating of a local restaurant that was clearly written by someone who hadn’t eaten there (the restaurant hadn’t even opened yet).

Our family had dinner at Flavor last week.  Overall, it was good.  It’s a new restaurant, so I expect it will get better.  The crew certainly seem interested in pleasing their customers.

Comment 13
Sat, January 8, 2011 12:37pm
Bob Poole
All my comments

@Gail: Certainly no offense taken. :)

We wanted to give them a try but , the menu was heavy on the meats. I don’t think you should call your self Cal. comfort food it you’re not offering at least three seafood items and a couple strong veggie.When I think of California comfort food the image i get is diverse ethnic food Maybe the name should be american comfort food, that is the image of American food—-Meat.

We talked to the owners about not featuring seafood and vegie dishes. They said they just wanted to keep the menu simple for a few weeks to start, but they would be adding these dishes as specials in a few weeks.

BTW to also be fair .... I got a very forthright response to my 3 star Yelp review from one of the owners.  He welcomed my feedback and apologized for the problems we encountered and talked honestly about how they were working on on the quality control.  All in all a very nice response.

BTW we do plan to go back and try some stuff especially the lunch menu (my wife is a mac and cheese addict).

>>I’ll try it at some point but I love Gibraltar and think it’s the best we’ve got on the Coast.

Nopw tell us something we don’t know ;-) Shame they aren’t in New Flava’s crib…

>When I think of California comfort food the image i get is diverse ethnic food Maybe the name should be american comfort food, that is the image of American food—-Meat.

Nah, those of us whom are “comfortable” in California like exactly that. Those of us that are uptight about organic, humane treatment, union labor delivered dairy, and the tomatos derived from native species and habitat… seem “uptight” about their food.

The rest of us are “comfortable” w/ hearty grub. The mac and cheese will be a strong barometer when I try this place out. Unless they go Neu-California, and provide caloric,f at, cholesterol, oxidant, sodium, and metallic content thereof, much less the date of birth, place, State-certified immunization record and ancestrial background of the cow that provided the cheese…

Just eat ppl…

Brenda and I went back for a second visit for lunch this time. I give it a solid 4 stars (maybe a bit more).  My original dinner review was only 3 stars due to some execution flaws.  Today’s execution was flawless and the food was top notch.  We ordered too much food because we wanted to try several different things and the portions here are sizable.  Please remember that (fir me) 5 stars is reserved for a total wow factor that takes it over the top.

First we had the Mac and Cheese with peas, bacon, and roasted shallots.  The pasta was nicely al dente and the cheese sauce was creamy, flavorful and there was a nice bread crumb topping.  All in all a very good example of Mac and cheese. They have other mixings like roasted jalapeños, roasted cauliflower, etc.

Second, the “Flavor Burger” which is fresh ground meat mixed with short ribs grilled and served on a home made bun with both white and black sesame seeds.  It had a nice paprika aioli.  The flavor is very beefy.  I’d like to see a bit of Heduced short rib sauce to kick the flavor over the top.  They had good fries with the skins left on (yes!) and very good home made ketchup. 

Last, the ramen was very good.  I had the veggie version (spicy) and the broth was fantastic. There were fresh sliced carrots, bean sprouts, scallions and some nice shitake mushrooms.  The ramen noodles are fresh made and very good but a few of them clumped together a bit.  They probably stuck together in the kitchen before they were cooked. This was a minor issue and not a big ding.

One negative comment that I would make was on the lemonade.  For a restaurant about flavor go the extra mile and make real fresh lemonade instead of industrial lemonade.  Mint lemonade would be spectacular.

So all and all a very solid performance.

I haven’t actually been able to eat there yet, but….  I went there this weekend when my mother and her husband were visiting from the East Coast.  We went there around 4:15PM.  I asked if they had anything vegetarian when we arrived and they gave us both the lunch and dinner menus.  Well, they did have something we were going to try, and something for the folks as well.  Then when we told them the menu was acceptable, they said it would be 45 minutes until they started the dinner menu.  We said, we could eat something from the lunch menu then.  Then they said they are actually in between meals and nothing other than finger foods would be available.

Why couldn’t they have said this straight off?  I still may try it in the future, but I am put off a bit right now.

Oh, and when we first entered, a guy from the kitchen came out licking his hands and asked us to excuse him because his hands were sticky and asked another server to help us look at the menus.  If was kind of gross to see a server licking his fingers while coming out of the kitchen while letting us know he was “sticky”  ick.

Comment 21
Fri, February 11, 2011 7:31am
Barry Parr
All my comments

We went to Flavor the other evening and had an excellent meal: Short ribs, chicken pot pie, roast chicken, kid’s spaghetti.  Everything was well prepared and presented.  The sever was also very good.

I’d fault them a little on atmosphere, which was fine but could have been a little more posh at this price range. You have an terrific view of the Capistrano/Hwy 1 intersection from the dining room.  The menu was not imaginative, but you can’t expect a lot of innovation with a place that bills its fare as “comfort food”.

Dessert was also very good, and more interesting than the main courses.

I’d give it four out of five stars, if you’re counting that way.  I’d recommend it to anyone.

Comment 22
Mon, February 14, 2011 11:30am
Kevin Barron
All my comments

“I’d fault them a little on atmosphere, which was fine but could have been a little more posh at this price range. You have an terrific view of the Capistrano/Hwy 1 intersection from the dining room.”

Yowza. A house salad for $9. Romaine, croutons, vinagrette and shaved cheese.

A house salad.

Not attempting to cross sell anybody, but Mezza Luna has it for $6, but you only get a view of Capistrano/Prospect (only a 3-way). It’s Italia for $7, AND you get that Main St & Mill auto AND pedestrian traffic. Gibraltar has the same salad, but organic, w/ onions, and organic tomatoes and ‘custom’ croutons for $8…at Gibraltar, but in lieu of great decor they only offer up the intersection is Ave Alhambra and Palma.

I guess I overvalue the price/value vs. what gastronomic delight traffic may bring to bear.

Must be a DAMN fine intersection for all to gaze upon.

In response to Matt Berman in comment 10, I would guess that like me, a lot of other initial Flavor reviewers had followed them over from their previous restaurant in SF: Sally’s After Dark. So that is why we were already familiar with their food and what to expect.