Bracero - very disappointing

Finally had the time to try out Bracero - and came away very disappointed on many levels

Food: The first three courses (albacore two ways, baja hiramasa crudo and the octopus) were good, everything else OK to disaster. Corn Masa with “perfect egg” had completely overcooked egg, lousy steak tartare etc, both tacos were completely unremarkable (cauliflower and lamb neck - especially the last one was disappointing with being so flavorless and something we often normally enjoy in tasting menus - here one of the worst interpretations in a long time), verde est vida salad just boring (and normally local produce gives other chefs so much possibilities with similar dishes), Cooks Pig Ranch New York Pork Chop - just horrible - uneven cooked meat (some very overcooked) , very unbalanced dish with way too much neat compared to horrible cooked vegetables and moles sauce, and as dessert a cake with some pineapple and joghurt sorbet which was just amateurish - the component didn’t work together, weren’t well made).

Service: Just bad - our server was completely uninterested in anything, e.g. if we like any dishes, water was hardly ever refilled, in a high end restaurant which focuses on small plates it is common everywhere to change plates and silverware after each dish (you don’t want to mix completely different flavors) a concept completely new to Bracero.
Overall the ambience was disappointing and not inviting - very loud (even compared to favorite places in LA) and a crowd which is more a bar crowd than people interested in good food. And it is bad service that you allow other tables which were booked for four people suddenly have more people sitting there so that some of them started sitting at our table - fortunately a bus boy was even annoyed that our server didn’t care about anything that he helpef us move tables

Overall we came with high hopes to have an additional restaurant on our frequent rotation list but after this visit it will be while until we come back - service (even this bad) we can to a certain degree accept if the food is good an unique but beside a few dishes it was surprisingly underwhelming in terms of execution, creativity and flavors. None of the flavor combinations (mix of Baja/Mexican and Asian and Mediterrean/French) had were completely new to us from other chefs (each chef might have different emphasis on the different influences in each dish). It seems that there is a lot of hype about the chef which seems not more than just hype and little substance. Is it ground breaking as other claim on CH - definitely not and far away from the quality (and consistency)and creativity of restaurants like Georges and Juniper & Ivy. And yes, the service is ground breaking in a negative way for a high end restaurant.


I feel somehow less alone now in the universe.

Well, at least in San Diego.

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Sorry to hear about this Honk.

Did you say something to the manager about the horrific service issues?
When I’m dropping coin at a place, if service is not up to par, I am not shy about going straight to the top of the food chain.
Were people really sitting at your table?
Not asking first?
I’ve had others join the table next to us and would be very kind in asking if they mind if they could utilize our chairs at their table but never seen them just plop on down to my table…where is Ms. Emily Post and what happened to decorum?

I would of unloaded a HUGE can of whoop ass…and it wouldn’t be pretty.

We’ve had this discussion before, and it warrants bringing it here to a better venue.

I realize you’re the ass-whoopin type. But we, as diners, shouldn’t HAVE to be. If I get ripped off at a restaurant (bad service, poor food) not only do I want to leave as quickly as possible, I also don’t wish to further engage. Every minute I spend, every bit of my energy dedicated to that loss only increases my loss.

I don’t want to be their cop, and I’m not obligated to do so.

Herr Honkman, I’m sorry you had a bad experience.

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One woman was sitting suddenly directly next to my wife, so close that it was hard to eat without constant contact. And yes, we were thinking about talking to the manager but it was obviously that he wouldn’t care much about feedback as we weren’t even finished with our dessert that he came to our table asked how everything was and without giving us time to respond said “Great !” and dropped the bill as a clear sign that he wanted to turn the table. In addition, we had throughout the evening by Twitter a short exchange (first positive because of the first courses) which immediately stopped from Bracero once we weren’t happy anymore (other restaurants react very different). It is clear that they don’t care much about customers.

I know wehad the discussion before but my understanding of a discussion board is very different - I like to read the positive and negative experiences of every restaurant as it helps me to better make selections where to visit next. It doesn’t help to only read positive reports of a restaurant if it is in reality not a good restaurant just because people don’t want to write anything negative - I think this is a disservice to this community to not warn about testaurants like Bracero. In addition, good restaurants read boards and learn/improve the performance based on positive and negative feedback

“Food: The first three courses (albacore two ways, baja hiramasa crudo and the octopus) were good…”

Glad you found something to like.

Sorry it appears I was unclear- not picking on you at all, HerrHonk. I was responding to Plumeria.

‘One woman was sitting suddenly directly next to my wife, so close that it was hard to eat without constant contact’…Wow!
This was at your table?
I would call the GM and let him know what you have told us…this is not right and I’m sure Javier et al would want to know.

When I say I would unleash a big can of whoop ass on the restaurant crew, I would do it discretely to management, away from my table and others but if food and service is so incompetent, I’m not one to let that kind of stuff carry on…
Every situation is different and I have done a Fakey and left without fanfare and let mgmt. know afterwards what happened…

I used to wait tables back in the day and I know how the game is played.
I will always give the server, chef, busboy, bartender, the benefit of the doubt…but I know when I’m getting hosed by the staff, I be damn, if I gonna let those tools, play me.

Sorry I misunderstood

As I said they know through our twitter account about it but aren’t interested in any further information (other restaurants in similar situations have contacted us before as we like to not make a big fuss about a unfortunate event during the night but give all parties time to discuss it in private through email or phone calls later)

Ooooooooo I hope this was isolated. We are going next Sunday night.

The service issues are definitely not isolated as it was apparent how uninterested they treat their customers around us - and the food experience might depend on what you expect. (And I hate it that we have two different SD boards but on CH fooodiechick mentioned that they had the same problems on their visit)

I think you’ll have an enjoyable meal, Dagney. No, Bracero isn’t J&I or Café Chloe. The service is Mexican style.

Be sure to get a table on the second floor, and focus on the right side of the menu.

This is a great San Diego restaurant, in spite of the raging review by our compatriot.

Sorry to disagree but that service has nothing to do with “being Mexican style” but just is very unfriendly and unprofessional. And I think the left side of the menu has at least some good dishes. And no, San Diego has some great restaurants but Bracero is not one of them

Suffice to say, different people have had different experiences. Our last two dinners at Urban Solace were frightfully awful, but others have thoroughly enjoyed it.

We are headed to Bracero next week. A review will follow.

Re: Urban Solace - Food or service or both ?

The service. The food was always solid, but the service during our last two visits was subpar. (I wrote about it on CH). It was…unpolished.

I definitely had the opposite experience at Bracero and plan to go back soon. The waiter was very attentive, helpful, and spent a good deal of time with us, informing on dishes, ingredients, the presentation, and getting feedback on what we liked and should try next. The noise was medium to low (Sunday 6 pm), and the food was all executed very well. I did see Javier running around, so maybe that had everybody on their A game.