Simone - Arts District


#41

I don’t doubt you but it’s surprising that it’s not disclosed. AFAIK there’s a mandatory fee in SF that goes towards providing health insurance. @robert would know more about that than I.


#42

There was some Nina playing but not just Nina. I love her - a lot - but would want her the entire night? Unlikely.


#43

What if someone opened an all- Phil Collins restaurant? Or even better, a John Cage eatery that played 4’33" non-stop?!


#44

I’ve been known to air drum or table drum during “In The Air Tonight” at that one part of the song, so maybe not a good idea unless you want to eat off the floor.

I know I am not the only one who does this when that song plays lol


#45

I asked about that, not because I was surprised since everyone seems to be doing that fee, but because I was curious and I hadn’t seen the fee disclosed on the menu. The waiter said it had been on the menu, and I figured I must have missed it, but when I checked the menu online, I didn’t see it either. The waiter also explained that the POS system lacked the capacity to print out verbiage about the fee on the receipt.

I give the restaurant a pass on this one. Opening kinks, which I am sure they will get worked out.


#46

They did indeed heat the bread - I recall it being perfectly toasted. So a bit more labor than other restaurants (who upon research I see are also serving Bub & Grandmas’s bread) and then there was that cultured butter, which I believe I read the restaurant itself cultures .

I find it interesting that people complain about perceived high markups on third-party sourced bread, but no one bats an eye about paying $20 a glass for a glass of wine where the restaurant probably sourced the entire BOTTLE for $15 or so.

I feel the same way about paying for bread as I do about paying wine markups – it’s just the cost of dining out. And if I am served crappy wine, I’m unhappy. And if I am served a great wine that I ordinarily wouldn’t know about in a vast marketplace of wines (even though I know more about wine than the average consumer), then I’m thrilled to pay the restaurant’s markup, to discover something new and to have a great wine with dinner. If the wine is really good, I will generally make an effort to source it on Wine-Searcher.com and I can generally find it somewhere at retail, although often not in Los Angeles, and then I have to weigh the cost of shipping, waiting months to have it shipped in optimal weather, etc. I see that Bub & Grandma’s sells their bread at the Sunday Hollywood Farmers’ Market, but there is no way I would trek over to Hollywood on a Sunday morning, wait in line and hope to score some bread. So I am more than happy to pay Simone for procuring and toasting the bread for me and serving it with great cultured butter. Now if only they could get the rest of the menu to reach those heights.


#47

I used to be annoyed at the end of a meal when places charged this - I’ve given up and just accept it as a cost of dining out. Yes, it’s misleading - the mandate - at least in San Francisco - is that large employers must provide health insurance to their employees, and this applies to certain restaurants. It is the employer’s duty to provide that; many just often pass it along to the diners under the guise that they are by law required to have the diner pay it, when in fact the diner does not have to pay it on the restaurant’s behalf.

Let me be clear on this issue, I’m not against restaurants asking for diners to pay for the restaurant employees’ healthcare, if it was clearly stated that it’s the restaurant’s duty but they’re asking diners for help to pay it so the restaurants don’t have to. What I have issue with is the often misleading presentation that results in a diner reasonably expecting that he or she is the very one required to pay it. I understand that restaurant economics are difficult; I understand that the costs of doing business are somewhat untenable in many metropolitan cities. I wish the solution wasn’t that restaurants often misrepresent the issue and give diners a moral guilt trip (“oh you can take it off just ask your waiter if you don’t want to pay their healthcare”). Yes it’s only 3 or 4% but it’s the misrepresentation that was irksome.

Anyway, I digress and I’m clouding up this thread with tangential issues, but yeah. I like to reward humility and clarity with generous tipping; I was frustrated by the presumption of passing it on to a diner before, but I’ve just accepted paying it at restaurants now and I don’t question it at the end of a meal. When SF restaurants under purview of the Healthy San Francisco mandate don’t charge it, I end up tipping more specifically because I applaud their humility and their choice to not deceive diners. The coolest joints know not to nickel and dime and piss off their guests.


#48

The problem with tipping, however, is that you are only rewarding front of the house who at the nicer restaurants are already making 80K or so a year (in some cases more). You are doing nothing for the poor schlub in the kitchen sweating over a hot stove. The easy solution, which Danny Meyer is trying in New York with mixed success, is to go to no tipping which allows a more equitable distribution of wages, but customers get sticker shock when menu prices are raised 18% to 20% (an irrational psychological tic since there is no net difference with the final bill), plus people like to feel “empowered” by the feeling of rewarding convivial service even if the poor schlubs in the kitchen don’t get to participate and thus only the highest paid workers in the restaurant benefit.


#49

I’m not familiar with the intricacies of tipping as you are, and I did not know that when I tip it benefits solely the highest paid workers. Not sure what else I could reasonably do to distribute gratuity rest of the staff, especially those in the back (as you call them “poor schlubs”) given that most restaurants are not no-tip restaurants.

The “sticker shock” isn’t irrational per se, but I understand what you mean.

Dining out has now often become 20% tip (sometimes this is automatic, sometimes it ends up being this way) + 4% + ~9% tax - unfortunately at many places, this means a meal with a cocktail, appetizer, entree with a glass of wine, and maybe dessert usually ends up being 3 digits per person at many mid-tier places.

Bread and butter, at least historically, would often times come free with the meal. If the bread was really good, then some restaurants would see it fit to charge. Wine never really comes free with a meal. Paying for bread in the first place is different than paying for wine. Given how ubiquitously bread and butter are served gratis, a substantial markup on bread can be quizzical. Diners have largely come to expect large markups with wine and alcohol.


#50

I’m only batting an eye because afaik $10 is the most any restaurant in the city is charging for bread and butter. Republique charges $8 and they bake their own bread. Overpriced APL restaurant charges $6 for gjusta bread and french butter and Felix $8 for freshly baked focaccia. Maybe simone’s butter is that labor intensive and justifies the cost, who knows. $20 for a glass of wine is unfortunately the norm at many places.


#51

An early Yelp review mentions this added fee as a “kitchen appreciation” charge, also “unannounced”. Hope they get that fixed. Also how do people tip in these situations? The usual 18-20% on the pre-charge/pre-tax amount?
Agree that the $10 bread seems excessive but I’ll wait to see a pic. BTW the $5 bread at Superba is F%@# awesome.


#52

I just realized that I have tried the Republique baguette because that same baguette comes gratis at lunch with the shakshuka (but no butter). It’s a nice baguette as baguettes go, but it didn’t leave me wanting to pay $8 for more of it (unless the butter somehow seals the deal).


#53

it’s definitely not disclosed on the menu. but like @Omotesando i’ll give them a pass, easily fixable.

picture from the 'gram


#54

Yup, tips can only legally go to those who in the world of fine dining are already the highest paid workers in the house and as a customer there is not a thing you can do about it other than accepting a 4% kitchen appreciation fee, which is the only way to legally compensate the schlubs in the back, absent a no tip model.

I went recently in New York to a restaurant that had gone to no tip and I actually liked it – knowing up front what the meal was going to cost, no mental gymnastics at the end of the meal figuring out the tip. But it helped mentally that the menu had a lot of reasonably priced food options, so I wasn’t confronted upfront with seeing nothing but $45 bowls of pasta and $85 fish entrees, which is why a lot of restaurants who went no tip went back to a tipping model after customers freaked out at the menu prices.


#55

I hold the bread at Republique in higher regard than you, but the butter or pan drippings do seal the deal.
You get a significant amount of butter and you get more baguette should you finish the first. The butter is excellent quality to boot.
So at Republique you’re essentially paying for bread service, not just a serving.


#56

If the charge is not used for the stated purpose, the restaurant could face a consumer fraud lawsuit. That happened in SF, or at least the DA (who was to some extent grandstanding) threatened to sue and some restaurants settled.

Not stating any additional charge other than the expected sales tax on the menu is a big mistake.


#57

Actually, cost of stone mills have gone down dramatically. Even in the consumer appliance market, a stone mill now runs 250 for the mockmill 100 ( which I love and highly recommend if you’re into bread baking). Believe Marc vetri is grinding his own flours at his places in philly. But obviously, bread program is def much more than just a mill, but it’s certainly much more doable now.


#58

I heard they’re using Bub & Grandma’s.


#59

I just tip 4% less so that the total “tip” I’m paying is 20%. Is that a dick move? If the servers dont’ like it, they should speak up to restaurant management.


#60

I think that’s reasonable and fairly common.

I would not do that at a place where I’m a regular.