Upscale Dennys

Out to breakfast Sunday in the City with our friends Harry and Michael.  We were on our way to a party and apparently needed to have a big meal before we got there so we wouldn’t be too hungry when they put out lunch.  Or something like that.  Or maybe Harry just likes fancy hotels and food.

So we went to the Taj Campton Place Hotel, on Sutter near Union Square across the street from the Hyatt.  It was raining and I’m lazy, so I pulled right up in front and gave the car to the valet.  More about this later.

The Campton Place is a small, luxury, boutique hotel, catering to the people who don’t like bit chains like Hyatt and Hilton.  Personal service, and lots of it, is their hallmark.

The dining room is hushed and understated, except for the large chandelier which is either a genuine Dale Chihuly or something very Chihuly-esque.

Chihuly or Chihuly-lite, it's pretty impressive in either case.


The food is, as one would expect, impressive.  I went for the classic breakfast–eggs, potatoes, sausage.  It comes with  a glass of the best fresh-squeezed OJ ever.  The basket of toast is just right.  The little plate with softened butter and three dishes of very good jams was a delight.

The four of us shared a malted walnut waffle.  I’m not usually a waffle guy, but this was exceptional.  Michael had house made hash, Gail and Harry enjoyed the salmon benedict.  The food is every bit as good as you would expect.

At the next table, under the chandelier, I saw a kid with the greatest looking pancakes I’ve ever seen:

What can I say but "WOW"


That’s the good stuff–great looking room, great food.  The bad stuff–service was absurdly slow.  We had to ask twice for coffee, three times for Gail’s champagne.  The waffle took forever to come out of the kitchen.

The prices are the usual big-city insane.  My eggs and potatoes were $23.75, but that included the OJ and the iced tea. You don’t go to this place if you just want a quick, cheap meal–that’s what Denny’s is for.  This is all about gracious dining, excellent food, and perhaps on a better day, fine service.

Now here’s the best part.  After we finished, we took a little walk to do some shopping and then returned to ransom the car.  They never really parked the car, just moved it 10 feet forward into the red zone on Stockton Street in front of the hotel–the cops are properly greased and the hotel gets to leave the car where it would cost you or me a $100 ticket.  I was fully prepared to  have to pungle up an absurd amount to cover the parking, and was utterly stunned to be charged SIX measly dollars.  You lose some, you win some.


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