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“Well worth the visit”
Review of Comal

Comal
Ranked #14 of 747 Restaurants in Berkeley
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Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Reviewed September 13, 2012

The kitchen was either so busy that all they could do was get the food out as quickly as possible or the server had no sense of timing.We hadn't finished one course and the next was served. So perhaps next visit we'll delay our second course order until we have finished the first. The chilie rellano was without par and absolutely fabulous entree, the Mexico City Taco's ...meh, nothing special. I think they have changed their reservation system and are accepting any size parties at 5:30pm, by the time you read this they may change again. The Bar is great, Margaritas well prepared. Don't quite see what Michael Bauer was so excited about but it is good Mexican Food but I'd be just as happy at Juan's Place for a quarter of the price.

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Thank Tom S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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184 - 188 of 197 reviews

Reviewed August 21, 2012

SF Chronicle swears this is the best Mexican restaurant in the world and Yelp says it is about 4 stars. Sorry guys. Not true
The restaurant is beautiful, very well done and has this great sound system.
Probably a great place for a drink and a plate or two of appetizers with a friend but that's about it.
We went with another couple so we orders a good sampling of appetizers and entrees. Chips, guacamole and salsa mediocre. Chili relleno was good, beef and pork meat balls ok but the adobo sauce was excellent, tacos luke warm at best when they finally showed up.
Quesadillas looked like a bad attempt at a Mexican melted cheese sandwich but without any flavor. Enchilades were just ok. AVOID the tacos! The major rip off of the evening.
I go to Zuni Cafe in the city for chicken at that price and nobody beats the T-bone steak at Trattoria Corso just up the block.
Wait staff was fine when they were there. I'd have to call the service spotty.
All in all I'm sure I'd rush back

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1  Thank oldjgw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2012

I saw others before post review on the interior of the restaurant which was spot on. It is a nice pleasant industrial warehouse style atmosphere made warm with wood, colorful spots and lighting.

Great use of this space. Great idea to have 3 bars including one outside, but protected from rain (with a roof on it). Fabuous fire pit outside with tree trunk stools; lovely touch.

Nice staff with a bit much of hype of "restaurant ego" meaning they were proud of this place and that is good but I don't think too much of it is a good thing. I call that "restitude" It "edged" on that a bit.

We sat at the front bar and were waited on by Jose. Nice bartender.

We had the house drink comal Swizzle ; one had Tequila in it, the other had Mezcal in it. These were nice drinks nothing exceptional.

The meatballs (albondigas) were in a dark red chile sauce which had way too much salt in it. They seemed like qood quality meat was used but salt was the most overpowering taste. 3 meatballs cost $12; very pricey.

The watermelon, padron peppers and goat feta cheese salad with cilantro was not put together well. It should have had bite-sized pieces of watermelon, instead they were huge 3 inch pieces and entire strands of cilantro so you had to cut it up yourself and it didn't work well. This salad was not really a salad. It was just decoratively put on the plate but there was "no there, there". It lacked a dressing which would have made it come together. Instead it was just like the ingredients didn't belong together but were stacked on the same plate. $12 for that salad was just ridiculous.

The 2 duck enchiladas on the plate had the same dark red chili sauce as the meatballs which once again was way too salty. All I could taste was the salt with a slight taste of the red sauce. I think duck needs a lighter sauce than this and way, way less salt.

The tortillas were fresh and delicious and somewhat thick which is always good I think They were very good. We had to ask for them.

When you wake up the next morning and your mouth tastes salt and is totally dry you know you have been served way too much salt.

This place needs work. It was very "hyped' and it is a hipster place, which is cool. It is pricey and needs to match up to that in quality. They need to work on their food as it is lacking definition and correct seasoning. The menu looks teriffic and it looks like their ingredients are fresh and they use a lot of organic ingredients, but they need to make sure the food really tastes good and is full of flavors; not just salt and doesn't just look good.

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Thank mdbrod4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2012

Context: group of four trying to get in on a Saturday at 5:30 without reservation.
Plan: two of us arrived about 5:10 when the indoor bar is open and we could  put our names in for a table. We were told we'd get seated around 6. This was almost exactly right and we enjoyed a tequila heavy cocktail menu while we waited.
Atmosphere: the place is huge. There is an indoor bar to the right when you walk in, an indoor dining room Brocken onto little parts with some half dividing walls and then a huge back patio, partially enclosed and partially open. The back patio also has a bar but it doesn't open until 5:30.  It's simple decor with wood accents, stone floors in the back, high ceilings and really amazing acoustics, meaning despite the crowds and chaos we could all hear each other perfectly. Bathrooms are all unisex and open on a central sink area. There are lots of them though and we never had to wait.
Service: they were rushed and busy even when we arrived and they just got busier. Our waiter though did not seem harried and even paused to chat in Spanish with one of our group.  While we didn't feel like it was order, eat, leave, we did feel a sense of urgency to move along a someone else could have the table.  Water is gratis, even sparkling, and refilled regularly by an unsmiling busboy.
Drinks: we started with three different cocktails, two with tequila base and one with mescal. They were all fine, but not fantastic. I have no desire to have any more. The bar is efficient but it was difficult to get water and impossible to get the water refilled at the bar. They do measure and they make many of their own mixes and bitters.  They have several beers on tap but only one dark, all of them are local. I tried the black ale and it was too bitter. I like porter style but they didn't offer any. I guess with mex food you want something lager or hoppy like. They did have negro models on the bottle, but not what I was looking for. I also had a glass of wine, which was really not worth drinking. They said all their wines are light stylE to go with the food, but still I would have liked a bit more flavor.
Food:  we were told that for a party of four we probably needed 6-8 dishes. We ended up with six, I believe and it was just enough. They have a la carte items for the most part and then three whole meals that are meant for two to three and come with beans and rice I think, these are chicken, steak. We didn't have that and maybe we should have.. . Instead we started with a pardone pepper salad with  compressed watermelon and a light dressing. We each got one piece of the watermelon and it tasted like watermelon. Not sure what compressed ,eans? There were three total peppers in the salad and the portion was minuscule. I would rate it average. We also had the three salsa and guac app, which was very disappointing. I did not find any of the items flavorful. The chops appear to be home,add and we whipped through those in five minutes. They generously offered us more. The salsa include a "spicy" red which was medium, blended and more like hot sauce out of the bottle. The other red was mild and the other was green, but had no flavor, really disappointing.  
We also had the jicama and cucumber. Don't bother. Small portion and the jicama was stringy.
We then moved to the "heavier" dishes. We ordered the ground pork tacos which had a touch of sweet flavor and were the most tasty of the bunch but weren't particularly good (tacolicous is much better). The duck (or was it rabbit?) quesadilla was heavy on cheese, duck? What duck? And then we ordered the enchilada with ole. The mole was great, the enchilada not so much. I wanted to pour the mole on everything just for some flavor.  We did try one dessert, the chocolate budino. Which, while good, seemed like a rich chocolate pudding.
Overall, the place, given the hype, was a disappointment. Nothing made me particularly want to return. I don't know if we ordered the wrong things? Maybe our expectations were just too high.

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1  Thank mary v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 26, 2012

The ambience of this new restaurant is lovely, very stylish. We had jacksatan drinks to start. They were quite spicy but delicious. The first course of guacamole and salsas with chips was very tasty. The appetizers we had were fair. The shrimp and vegetable tamale were just average. The meat balls which were interesting. The quesadillas both vegetarian and chicken had very little filling in them. On the chicken quesadilla, the corn tortilla was to thick. The flan for dessert was delicious. The service was good. Enthusiastic staff and very helpful. I hope they can make a few changes to the meals. The place is reasonably priced and a fun atmosphere. Good luck!

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Thank nricks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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