Sunday, August 22, 2010

Brunching at Somerset

The future-in-laws called to say that they wanted to spend a little time with me and their son on a Saturday morning. 

I needed a place in the hood with good food and a nice ambiance to impress the in-laws who themselves have been generously feeding us delicious home-cooked meals or taking us out to eat all these years.

Somerset came to mind because of its cozy patio that I have read about more than once. On a sunny day in Rockridge, I can almost imagine the future mom-in-law enjoying her mimosa.

All four of us arrived at Somerset at a little before noon one sunny Saturday.  We walked into a classy restaurant with heavy dark wood furniture. Somerset's decor is  handsome and masculine like an "old boys' club."  I was almost expecting to smell cigar.  The dining room was empty but we went straight to the patio where few brunchers (mostly seniors) were waiting for their food.

We stood for few awkward minutes before we were finally acknowleged and seated.  The pattern of inattentive service continued with the long wait to place our order for our drinks and  food. And few more long minutes to get our drinks. 

Luckily, the future-in-laws are patient and jovial people who had a lot of stories to tell.  The sunny and cozy patio with overhanging branches made the waiting a little bit less painful. 

I ended up getting the PASSION FRUIT MIMOSA while mom-in-law ordered BLOODY MARY.  Let me just say that their delicious and strong drinks definitely softened the mood a little that was already being ruined by the ridiculously long wait.

Passion Fruit Mimosa
And the food when they finally arrived almost an hour after we placed our orders were definitely Somerset's saving grace. 

Both in-laws had the CHILAQUILES:  Tor­tilla chips sauteed in gua­jillo chile sauce, shred­ded chicken, cilantro, sweet onions, queso fresco, crema. ($14)

Fiance had the CLUB SANDWICH:  On house­made sour­dough, with roasted fresh turkey, Hobb’s bacon, let­tuce, tomato and French fries. ($14)

I had the COBB SALAD:   Pt Reyes blue cheese, cooked egg, chicken, bacon, toy­box toma­toes, avo­cado, mustard-champagne dressing ($13)

Cobb Salad
Somerset redeemed itself despite the disappointing service because the in-laws who are Latinos liked their Chilaquiles.  I was afraid that they might write it off as "American-Mexican" but the mom-in-law gave her stamp of approval. (Whew!)

My cobb salad was simple yet delicious and generously layered with fresh veggies and meat!  It came in a huge soup bowl that could feed up to 3 people with normal appetites.  The mustard-champagned dressing was fresh and did not taste of the store-bought kind.

The in-laws thanked us and said they really enjoyed their brunch. I am sure that they were not just being polite.  Our dishes were truly delicious and we left this pretty neighborhood restaurant full and content. 

TAB: $115 including tax, 18% tip, 2 alcoholic drinks and one iced tea. Definitely very pricey for brunch.

The slow service was a big turn-off. It ruined what could have a been a great brunch experience.  Despite the good food, I am not so eager to return.
Food:       4 Stars  Delicious with generous portions.
Service:   2 Stars  Ridicously slow. Somerset needs to hire more than the two servers who were in-charge during the busy brunch weekend.

0 Star:    Never again!!! These people should not be in business.
1 Star:    Chalk it to bad experience. Live and learn.
2 Stars:  Very disappointing but there it has some good things to offer.
3 Stars:  It is okay but do not expect much. I will still return.
4 Stars:  I like it! I will be singing your praises!
5 Stars:  I will be dreaming of you at night!
6 Stars:  Perfection (or close to!)

Somerset on Urbanspoon


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