FiDi’s Newest Spot: Per Diem
In mid-December, the newest bar/restaurant to hit the Financial District, Per Diem, opened it’s doors. Opened by the same folks who brought us The Brick Yard in Cow Hollow, Per Diem feels like you’re stepping back into time to an old Southern bar. Lots of brick, crystal chandeliers and exposed beams make this a cozy place to meet friends for a drink after a busy day of work in the FiDi. It reminded me very much of another FiDi hotspot, Tyler Florence’s Wayfare Tavern.
But for me, appearances were deceiving. I visited Per Diem a week after it opened and I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I was going to be. The bar area is small and was packed when I was there. The bartenders were extrememly slow with the service and all they were really serving up were wine and beer. I don’t think I ever saw a cocktail list. My friend put down our name for a table and we hung out at the bar while we waited. Fortunately, we literally bumped into some other friends (that’s how packed it was) and chatted a bit before our table was ready. The hostess was very friendly and accomodating.
However, the menu wasn’t very impressive. They had a handful of appetizers, salads, sandwiches and pizzas on the menu. Nothing terribly unique — things like mussels, shrimp cocktail, french fries, a brisket sandwich, romaine salad and margherita pizza. My friend Walter and I ordered some shrimp cocktail, a margherita pizza and french fries to snack on. We also ordered a great bottle of Italian Nebbiola which was brought to us by a great sommelier. The food was ok and the wait staff seemed really inexperienced and quite clunky. They took away plates that hadn’t been used, tried to take plates we were still eating off of and glasses of wine with wine still in them. It really was amateur hour and it became quite irritating having to worry about who was going to take my food or wine while I was trying to have a conversation with my friend.
All in all, I thought Per Diem was okay. They really need to improve their menu and drink selection and step it up on their food. For a place that’s as nice as Per Diem, it should have delivered more. I’m hopeful that it’s just the “new restaurant adjustment period” and hope they get their act together soon.
43 Sutter St. (between Sansome St & Montgomery St)
San Francisco, CA 94104