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The Bashful Bull
1222 Noriega /19th Ave., SF
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Pretrial hearing at Eagle's Drift In Lounge


Why is the bull bashful? Because his restaurant is serving up plates of bullcrap, that's why.

With a name like The Bashful Bull, you can't go wrong, right? That's what we thought. A reader-eater (who shall remain nameless) suggested the place, although he'd never dined there. Lucky for him, or he'd have three unbashful judges kicking his door down. But anyway, the Court trekked all the way out to Noriega and 19th Ave. with high hopes. I ordered the chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes, veggies and a salad to start. With my family tree I should know a thing or two about chicken-fried steak. Yes, it was very cheap at 6 bucks. But when the salad came I puzzled over their powers of flavor extraction. Soaked in water for hours? Really cheap vegetables? Your guess is as good as mine.

When the main plates arrived I was surprised again. There was brown gravy (as opposed to cream gravy) on the chicken-fried steak, and it was smothered in mushrooms. Shocking. But I kept an open mind. The side vegetables apparently got the same treatment as the salad: complete flavor removal. The potatoes were lumpy, but I think they were real potatoes. The runny brown liquid on them was NOT gravy. I guess you could call it a brown sauce -- but then sauces have flavor, too. The brown liquid on the CF steak was not gravy either, but possibly a different brown liquid. I couldn't nail down the mysterious hint of flavor -- maybe tamarind. But it was crap, and I would guess that the mountain of mushrooms were from a can. The actual "steak" was okay, but seriously compromised by the nasty liquid. If there were chicken-fried steak police these people would be hauled in on charges and given the rubber hose treatment. Oh, and the "garlic bread" was a joke.

Cheap only gets you so far with the Füd Court, but the prices keep me from doling out a full cockroach rating. Maybe breakfast and lunch are their specialties, but that's no excuse to serve up Ferdinand's meadow muffins and call them dinner, no matter how cheap they are.

Bad bull! Bad bull!



As advertised, there was a bull's head stuck to the wall. We sat nearly directly under it. I guess it was impressive...but all it did for me, really, was serve up nightmares. Something about its right eye -- startling. Terrifying. Not bashful, but wrathful. Mean. Insidious. Several bad words.

The meal itself showed promise -- before it came. $5.95 for the entrees, and they include salad or soup, "garlic bread," vegetables, and potato. Cheap and plentiful -- things were looking good for the Bull. I chose meatloaf, with the soup ("chicken gumbo"), and fries instead of mashed (uncharacteristic and stupid of me, but like I said, that bull had me rattled). The soup arrived pretty quickly, so you'd think it would be hot -- or at least warm. Wrong! Quite cold. And I counted only three microscopic pieces of "chicken." And I don't know where the "gumbo" came in -- it was just thin broth and carrots and celery and too-done noodles. The meatloaf was...edible. On the dry side, with some suspect gravy. Judge Turner and I repeatedly marveled at the universal lack of flavor among the mixed vegetables. Garlic bread was pieces of probably Wonder Bread with maybe some garlic powder. The fries were passable. In all, the place was worse than mediocre, and certainly not worth the long N Judah ride.

I guess there's a Bashful Bull II -- maybe it's better. But I doubt it. (And it's all the way out on 46th and Terrible.) To be fair, the breakfasts and burgers seem to be more of the place's specialty. But about its dinner entrees, this Bull should be bashful, and ashamed. The Bashful Bull should slink away -- horns, meatloaf, blank broccoli, and all. Especially that evil right eye.



It would have been my recommendation to that bull that he keep his head down with the quality of food served at his restaurant. It's too late though -- someone has already lopped off his head and slapped it on the wall. It didn't do any good -- the meal was still bad.

The Bashful Bull seems to be more of a cheap breakfast/burger joint, a greasy diner. For whatever reason we chose to treat it like a regular old restaurant and we all ordered full dinners. My meal reminded me of being on the road. I had the same thoughts of 'Why can't I get a good meal?"... "Can't wait to get back home to a decent meal." I had spaghetti and it was trouble from the start. I chose the salad over the soup, and boy was that a bland salad. It did have potential. There were your extras like garbonzo beans and shaved carrots with a mess of ranch dressing. The one thing missing was the flavor. No flavor in any bit of that salad. Next I was given a large portion of spaghetti and meatballs. The sauce was odd, a little too thin and a little too weird tasting. Some spice made up the flavoring that I can't quite describe. It was different, not actually bad but not quite tasty. The meatballs were better suited for use in a game of Jacks -- rubbbbbery! -- with that same odd flavor. The garlic bread was just silly, sliced white bread with a bit of something toasted onto it. The best thing about the Bashful Bull were the prices. You can fill up for $5.95 plus the extras (drink, tax, and tip).

So, to conclude, if you're in the area you may want to stop in and get some breakfast or a burger, and let me know how it was, but please stay away from the dinner meals, PU.






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