Thursday, January 12, 2006

Luna Park

One of the less spectular meals I had this break was at Luna Park, and that is euphemizing things. I guess it could be considered either the worst, or pretty close to that (worst was probably Le Soleil). It's a popular place on 18th and Valencia, always with a crowd outside the door. It is beyond me why this place has any customers, because with all the good choices nearby, why would anyone come here? The place is teeming with masochists I guess.

We were a party of seven and were seated in one of the booths next to the corridor leading to the back dining area. The booth was quite dingy, something you would find in a shady bar in the Midwest. I was not very fond of the decor (janky chic??). Our server was a girl in her twenties who was quite inattentive. She came to get our orders and bring our dishes, but we never saw much more of her.

Grilled Artichoke with Lemon Aioli

For an appetizer we got Warm Goat Cheese Fondue with Grilled Bread and Sliced Apples (unpictured) and the grilled artichoke. I didn't get to taste the cheese fondue. The artichoke was simply bad. It was so salty and sour--I assume it was marinated for a week in some really poor tasting vinegar? It totally overpowered the taste of the artichoke that I couldn't even taste it. The lemon aioli was totally useless since the artichoke was so overseasoned. What a waste of artichoke!

Braised Beef Cheeks with Porcini Mushrooms and Pearl Onions served on Creamy Polenta

I ended up choosing beef cheeks over mahi mahi. Our server described it as "simmered for 4 hours" and "so tender it melts in your mouth". Who can resist such a description? Ok well, imagine my surprise when it arrived like this--a clay pot of...goop? I couldn't see what I was eating the entire night because it was so dark, and even the food didn't reveal to me as what I was eating either!

My first bite was only the sauce, which was extremely salty. It had hardly any beef flavor, and I tasted more celery, carrots, and peppers than mushrooms or onions. Anyway, under the thick mess was the beef, which I suspect was not even beef cheek but more like beef brisket. It was soft and tender, but certainly not melt in my mouth. It was not even that beefy! It just tasted like a salty but flavorless pot roast. The polenta was simply mush--pretty tasteless and bland, and the texture was in competition with the beef "stew."

Fontina Stuffed Ravioli with Mushrooms, Spinach and Truffle Oil

I got to sample a bite of this, and it was drowning in salt. I also didn't taste any truffle oil. I didn't even opt for dessert since the apps and entrees were so bad.

The only thing that saved this meal was the company i was with. Luna Park is abyssmal! Apparently, the former chef left so it used to be good at some point. But why do people still frequent this place? Way overrated and undeserving of a second chance.

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Anonymous j-anne said...

We should definitely go somewhere else the next time we're in the Mission. Delfina is still on our lists, and Ti Couz never disappoints.

1/14/2006 3:23 PM  
Anonymous H.H. said...

luna park...more like luna SUCKS. j'aime bien ti couz, et je voudrais un crepe maintenant, s'il vous plait. Vas-y!

With warm regards,

1/14/2006 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Lauren said...

I have had many great meals there, never having the same as what you've ordered, so I will give you the benefit of the doubt that those plates sucked. However, you must try the goat cheese fondue (or maybe just make it yourself!) It is such a selicious tangy flavor and the texture is just perfect. The booths are dark, which I typically like, but they went a bit overboard with the lack of lighting. I do suggest no parties of two, did you see how jam packed the only tables for two were at the entrance?!

1/16/2006 1:34 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

I went to the Luna Park in LA, and I was bummed that it was one of the worst meals that I ever had there.... Over-salted, tiny portions that were overpriced. The menu was amazing, but of the app's, main, and dessert, we were still waiting for the good stuff to come out... I couldn't bear to give it another chance :(

1/31/2006 4:41 PM  

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