Our 13th Spot:
The Rotunda at Neiman Marcus
150 Stockton Street San Francisco, CA 94108
The 2nd Leg of the Tea House Tour has begun!!?! We are so excited to see 12 brand new Spots + share our thoughts with you! Thank you to the THOUSANDS of readers that has made this adventure worth sharing!! And to my GIRLFRIENDS (Mary, Roni, Tina, Gardenia, Nerresa, Vero, Sarah, Patricia, Melissa, Michelle, Raquel, Rebekah, Alex, Claudia, Amy V, Pi’ilani, Francesca, Vanessa, + Amy L): I am so honored that you wanted to parTEA with me!!
This Spot was not meant to be first on this Leg of the Tour… The actual first spot I wanted to take my girls to- we are on the waiting list for September!? Hehe. So, I moved up what was next in line. When I found out they served afternoon tea in Neiman Marcus, that just sounded like such a cool experience! A lot of us were really looking forward to this one. Boy, did we waste our excitement…
I try to comment on the ease or ridiculousness of making reservations for each Spot, to give you the full scope of our experience. Sometimes it’s necessary to say, other times not so much. Making reservations for this spot wasn’t terrible, but the response I got on the phone I could’ve done without. I usually make the call at least a month prior to our requested visit date. When I spoke to the “gentleman” for our reservation, he responded with a heavy sigh about “fitting us in.” Would that make yall comfortable?! I even asked: “Are you sure??” And he replied with a reluctant “yeah.” Ohh…kay…
Here are some unedited views:
The table setting is really plain. (That’s all I could really say about that.) Upon being seated, they bring you a few things. 1) a Chicken Consomme with a nothing piece of crouton (that looks like someone took a bite out of it, I might add). 2) a fresh Popover with Strawberry Butter. The soup reminded me of something you would pick up at the cafeteria of a hospital while waiting in the emergency room lobby. The crouton (which I strategically placed in my photo, because it really looked like a bite was gone!!) lacked flavor + texture. I do like popovers, and the idea of anything ‘freshly baked’ perks anyone up- am I right? But again, these just lacked so much flavor!? The strawberry butter was nice, but you really had to pack it on that popover for it to be something you’d wanna feed yourself. Oh and P.S. The dishes were FILTHY! One that was placed in front of my girlfriend should definitely have not passed the approval to be sent out into the dining room. The others weren’t as bad, but still annoying. I just turned my cup, so as not to see the nastiness on the bottom of it (brave, for the OCD in me).
I feel like everything sorta came out in a hurry, which made sense since the whole meal felt rushed. (If you guys are Seinfeld watchers, think of the end of the chocolate babka episode. Totally like that.) Before I could take a 2nd bite of that popover, here came our 5 teapots. And there was no space for aaaanything!! Our server kept asking us to move things out of the way or he did it himself (which is a big no-no), like he was playing Tetris with our place settings!? And please oh please n e v e r touch the mouth parts of my water glass!!?!
Tea was alright. Of the slim pickens on the menu, we had 4 flavors on our table. I can’t even really give you anything about them, because my girls didn’t really have much to say. We ordered the Gout Russe (Chinese tea and citrus fruits essential oils) which my friend said was “a very regular house tea, like Lipton“; the Nuit A Versailles (green sencha basis, bergamot essential oil, kiwi, yellow peach, orange + violet blossom) which my sister says “a little sweet with a taste of citrus“; the Jardin Bleu (blend of teas from India + China, flavored with rhubarb, wild strawberry + cornflower petals) which my friend says “average with hints of coconut + floral“; and of course I chose the Vanilla (Sri Lanka tea with vanilla aroma). “Aroma” is spot on, ’cause that’s all my tea really had going for it. It smelled like it was going to be wonderful, but all you got was a very unimpressive cup of tea.
The food portion was just so uneventful. I’m so glad I have my girls around when I go to these places, because they always make it fun for me! If they weren’t around to laugh with + see soon-to-be brides looking at wedding dresses across the street with (our window seat faced Vera Wang!), I do not know how I would get through this meal!? Here are the best photos I could get of these boring tea sandwiches on these boring white plates…
Egg Salad + Bacon – Okay, this sandwich was genius. Who doesn’t love bacon + eggs!!?! We agreed, we could have had just these. ‘Cause the others were nothing…
Roast Beef + Horseradish – These were okay. Flavors were there, but look at all that roast beef!? It wasn’t necessary. I think they just did that because they thought it made it look gourmet…
Salmon Mousse – This thing was so tiny! The mousse was way too heavy + creamy. And although pretty, I almost choked on the long chive! The pastry was dry + crackly.
Chicken Salad – I get what they were trying to do here (be cute), but it just wasn’t good enough for the price I was paying for this meal. In my best Chandler voice: “Could this bread BE anymore dry??!!” I think it cut the inside of my mouth, I think it did.
Prosciutto Wrap – (My gf added the grapes on the plate, ’cause this just was the saddest looking thing.) It had cheese, apples + nuts in there. Cool concept, but not enough filling. It made that thing just bites of salt.
Cucumber – Nobody liked this one. The cheese was not flavored, the cucumbers were soggy, and again with the dried bread!?
Raisin Scone – Very crumbly. It had nice flavor, but I had to slather a bunch of that preserves on there because it was so darn SALTY for some reason!? I’m hoping this was just a salty batch maybe!? And that no one has to go through that again. I did eat most of it however, because the texture with the crunch edges were my kind of thing.
Ughhh, I’m so glad I’m done with this review!! That was like pulling teeth for me. You know I will ALWAYS give you the stone cold truth about each Spot…I don’t know how to be any other way! It’s just hard when some of these places (excuse my language) suuuuck. I will never beat around the bush, so it is what it is for this Spot. It wasn’t an actual tea house, but they serve afternoon tea so we went. Probably wouldn’t go back to try lunch, because the service wasn’t that great either. It was just a snooty place, with people who were very matter-of-fact about your visit. “Here, here’s your cake. And your wine. See ya.”