In the hazy border land where the eastern end of The Loin drifts in to Union Square and tourists often make that “wrong” turn up Post Street has sat Postrio. This 20 year-old restaurant has finally just shut its doors. And while food critics are abounding in platitudes, I personally think that it way outstayed its useful existence by say… a decade.
A sharp-witted friend of mine who lives in San Francisco has what he calls, “The X Policy” when it comes to eating out. Essentially, if a place gives him too much attitude or the food is completely off, he crosses it off his list of go-to places. His reasoning behind this is that due to the countless restaurants we are spoiled with in this town, there really is no reason to put up with any crap due to there being so many others to try. I agree with this to a large degree, but will sometimes try to go back and give a place another chance. Such was not the case with Postrio.
It was five years ago that my mother was visiting from her village in the outskirts of California. I wanted to take her to some place new and Postrio seemed like a good fit because hey, it’s mom and you gotta treat mom well when she’s visiting the big city. We showed up, dressed in casual/work clothes, the hostess looked us up and down and told us that maybe there would be a seating in two hours. I poked my head past her and saw an empty dining room (it was 6PM on a Thursday) and asked why she couldn’t seat us now to which she just responded that all the seats were reserved. I said nothing, gave her my, “this is the pinnacle of your pointless life” stare, walked out with my mom, and have never returned. As a side note, we walked up to Canteen where the waiter told us that they were full, but asked if we could wait because he thought he had a cancellation. He sat us in 10 minutes and we had a great meal, which has always been the case at Canteen, which, despite the shoebox size is a well run and delicious operation.
My big problem with Postrio is that it always appeared to be a place whose marketing people said it was classy, so guys in striped shirts who pound Red Bull n’Vodka assumed: “Damn, that’s one classy place. Let me fire up the Mustang GT and go pick up Ashley for a night out!” To me, from my snubbed viewpoint at the window, it looked like a glorified part of the lobby to the hotel in which is existed. This is in sharp contrast to a place like Fleur de Lys which I would gladly wear my best suit and polish my shoes for. I find the allusion in this article to American Psycho couldn’t be more apt for Postrio. The place was all attitude and while the article was far too positive, I loved this comment:
I expect every restaurant to get this treatment when they spiral into mediocrity, then go out of business.
While Bauer’s article also nods towards some of the restaurant’s failings as of late, it is generally complementary as well. Of course, leave it up to the comments to posit more succinct descriptions:
Postrio: Over-rated, pompous, over-priced.
Whether it ends up being a wine bar or the very fitting vacuous space along Post Street that it is, we’ll see what happens in the coming months. Whatever the case, it won’t be missed by me. Now, who’s up for Chutney?!!