It’s fitting that I’m not posting my Food Friday entry nearly 11am (PST) as that is brunch time and that’s the meal I last had at this week’s choice: Assembly (located right in the middle of downtown Santa Cruz). It’s no surprise that Assembly is popping up on the blog, especially since I’ve been there four times in the past couple weeks… seriously, I’ve been a lot. But this is a caveat to this recommendation, the food is delicious but the service is…well… an experience.
Assembly is the newest addition to a list of delicious spots started by The Penny Ice Creamery and followed by The Picnic Basket. And my love for the Penny is unrivaled. All of the these spots all follow in the farm-to-table movement, supporting l local farms and serving what is in season. And let’s be real, they are all a little pricey. But all serve Penny ice cream! (Anytime I have a friend come to visit me in Santa Cruz, I try really hard to make sure they get to taste a yummy Penny creation!)
I’ve been to Assembly several times for dinner, once for lunch, and once for brunch. Each time the food has been delicious and they always have options for me (I only eat fish when it comes to meat). I know they will also make accommodations for dairy and gluten intolerant diners. (Although they seem to be limited in those options, but still good to know that you can ask). My favorite experience at Assembly was at lunch. A friend from over the hill (Santa Cruz speak for anyone who has to drive over Highway 17 to come into town) joined me, we sat on the patio, and the service was quick and friendly. I enjoyed a chickpea bowl (a meal I’ve had twice, once with the egg and once without… both delicious!). Brunch was good, but the mimosas are expensive and I really just want hashbrowns at breakfast. I suppose they are too lowbrow for farm-to-table folks. 😉 And the food I’ve had at dinner has always been delicious (if they have salmon on the menu, order it! So good!).
But as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the service at Assembly does not equate its delicious food. Unfortunately, I’ve often had the experience of mediocre service in Santa Cruz. We Central Coast citizens need to demand better service! Especially when we are paying the prices at places such as Assembly. Don’t get me wrong, I think the quality of the food merits its cost, but I expect when paying a bit more to have prompt and friendly service. Thus far, I have never experienced any rudeness or lack of friendliness (although I know some have) but it does seem that quick and attentive service is not a priority. Assembly has only been around for a few months, so I am hopeful that it will improve. I think having an additional server on staff each night would help a great deal as they always seem stretched a bit thin. But if you order a glass of wine or beer, it makes the wait that much more pleasant.
Have you been to Assembly yet? What are your thoughts?