This $8 Nectarine Dessert At Zuni Cafe Is A Little Disappointing

Customers at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco were surprised to find that their $8 dessert was nothing more than a nectarine rolling around on a plate.

Under a Chowhound post titled “Nectarine Dessert at Zuni Is Just That,” the poster praised Zuni’s “ethos of simplicity in flavors and cooking,” but thought that this was going too far. We agree. It’s no $55 mac and cheese, but it seems a bit ridiculous to charge $8 for a piece of fruit that isn’t a mangosteen.

UPDATE: Commenter Michael Belisle writes that someone from Zuni left a comment on a message board claiming the nectarine should have only been $4.50, which is less ludicrous, although still fairly pricey for a food whose only preparation was putting it on a plate. Thanks, Michael!
Nectarine Dessert At Zuni Is Just That [Chowhound via Serious Eats]


Edit Your Comment

  1. GregGates says:

    We need to go ahead and carpet bomb SF.

  2. MyPetFly says:

    It’s called “nouveau minimalist presentation.” Get over it.

    ; )

  3. nicemarmot617 says:

    Hilarious that the nectarine dessert is just a nectarine, but there’s no way they should be charging $8 for that unless it’s a joke.

  4. purplesun says:

    I hope they at least washed it first.

  5. CharlieInSeattle says:

    OMG that’s 3 dollars more than I paid for a great lunch at a Chinese hole in the wall in SF. I actually paid for 3 of us, came to a whopping $15 dollars.

  6. Tzepish says:

    There’s nothing “minimalist” about $8.

  7. davidc says:

    They could at least slice it up for you and remove the pit!

  8. MyPetFly says:

    @Tzepish: There’s nothing “minimalist” about $8.

    Ah, but you’re wrong. The fuzz has been lovingly shaved off.

  9. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    Never heard of a nectarine with fuzz. Are you confusing them with peaches?

  10. krispykrink says:

    Being from CA I’ll give you all a piece of advice. Don’t eat anywhere with the word “cafe” in it’s name. Well, unless you’re the type that uses crisp $100 bills to light your cigars.

  11. @Neecy: Only $8 nectarines have fuzz. It’s what the extra $7.41 was paid for (well, the extra $.41 — the other $7 was to take it off).

  12. MyPetFly says:


    Never heard of a nectarine with fuzz. Are you confusing them with peaches?

    Yeah, probably. I’m not a fan of either one…

  13. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    For 8 bucks I should get a full bag of nectarines, at the least. And only if they are out of season. In season at least two bags. Sheesh.

    — gc3160

  14. PoliticalScapegoat says:

    Did it at least taste good?

  15. varro says:

    But, but…’s organic and vegan!

    At least poach it – poached pears are nom nom nom.

  16. Haha, I’d say they would charge that extra 7 dollars for plating…but to throw it on the plate whole? Pleaseee

  17. newgalactic says:

    I don’t care about the nectarine, but more about how it was presented on the menu. Did it say anything other then “a nectarine”?

  18. morganlh85 says:

    @krispykrink: “Bistros” are even worse! lol

  19. kittenfoo says:

    maybe they shoulda chucked the plate in their purse or briefcase and taken it home as a way to even things out a little.

    although, on second inspection, that doesn’t look like a very expensive plate …

    silverware, maybe?

    (i’m kidding! i’m kidding! stealing is wrong, even if in very provocative dessert situations.)

  20. kaleberg says:

    We’ve been big fans of the Zuni Cafe cookbook, but our visit to the restaurant was rather disappointing. For example, their signature chicken dish requires a one hour wait, but they don’t tell you this until you are ready to order. We had been waiting for nearly an hour just to get our seats, so we were in no mood to wait an extra hour (or perhaps only half hour) for this dish. Having never tried their signature dish, we can only say that the rest of their menu was rather uninspiring, and the cooking sank to the occasion. Some years back, we imagine, Zuni Cafe was quite a restaurant, but nowwWe think they are just coasting on their reputation.

    This nectarine dessert story does little to counter our impression.

  21. rpm773 says:

    The wholesale market price on 48-50ct nectarines is running between $16 – $17 per case right now. Even after paying the 15% – 25% markup, that’s a pretty margin for the restaurant.

  22. Gman says:

    Many cafes and restaurants seem to have taken the phrase “The more you pay, the better it must taste” phrase litterally. Too bad so few rely on just the price to make the food taste good instead of the cooking doing the job.

    Steak places have taken this to the extreme.

  23. bohemian says:

    The price of the nectarine on a plate has gone up. A comment on Yelp this July priced it at $4.50, so they have drastically raised the price of the nectarine this month.

    I love good food but places like this frequently end up doing themselves in because they get so ego inflated they start doing stupid things like selling $8 nectarines on a plate. If a place has a bit too much name recognition I will actively avoid it.

  24. LesterGaze says:

    I, for one, welcome our new nect… err, nevermind.

  25. This would be a funny Kitchen Nightmares

  26. wtrwlkr says:

    You f**king donkey! That nectarine is RAW! Close the kitchen! F**k off, the lot of you!

  27. purplesun says:

    @SpiderJerusalem: Ah, great. Now I hear Gordon Ramsey in my head.

    “*bleeping* hell. This is just *bleep* *bleep* *bleeping* pretentious *bleeping* *bleep*.

  28. triggerh says:

    It’s California… Surprise surprise.

  29. Sarcastikate says:

    Wow…are you sure this isn’t a joke? If not, would it have put them out too much to cut it up fancily and put it on a pretty plate, or maybe toss a dollup of cool whip on it? Oh, I forgot…that would destroy the ethos. Previous poster was right; stay away from any food establishment containing the word “cafe”.

  30. @triggerh: I wish people who stereotyped CA would come out here and actually EXPERIENCE it. There’s more to CA than trends.

  31. Blackneto says:

    It looks like they’ve lost their right to the High Life.

  32. Parting says:

    Must me some genetically modified nectarine that gives you superhuman powers…

    Let’s say, don’t visit this place again. Especially as the fruit doesn’t look very fresh in the first place.

  33. JulesNoctambule says:

    Damn. And here I was, home from the grocery store and already congratulating myself on buying six fresh, ripe, perfect nectarines for three bucks at the farmer’s market when they’re that much per pound at the grocery!

    They’re fabulous, too; white nectarines that taste of honeysuckle and sunshine. I’m going to have one right now — and I’m going to slice it, arrange it in a vintage glass bowl and eat it with a tiny, silver fork. Take that, overpriced, trendy ‘cafes’!

  34. bohemian says:

    Considering you can find various tree fruit everywhere in CA a mere nectarine is hardly anything special. Even some specific hybrid.

  35. MiltyKiss says:

    @krispykrink: There’s tons of good places that I’ve been to that have the word ‘Cafe’ in it that was good and wasn’t expensive.

  36. Marshfield says:

    I, for one, ask for descriptions of all the available desserts before I decide what to get. If the description was “unadorned raw necatrine in a bowl” I might just pass and pick the Triple Chocolate Brownie Blast instead.

  37. @Blackneto: +1 for your comment

  38. chartrule says:

    $8.00 for a nectarine ?

  39. crazyasianman says:

    for that price do I get to shove it up the waiter’s cornhole?

  40. Mercurywaxing says:

    It’s the end of the meal and they can’t spit in anything you send back. I think it would be perfectly appropriate to respond to this with “are you kidding me? I’m not paying for that!”

    I’ve eaten at a ton of pretentious restaurants before all over NY. If any of them pulled this the chef would be wearing that peach.

  41. Jackasimov says:

    Send it back. The dish is not to your liking send it back. If they fuss, tell them it’s undercooked.

  42. usellubuy says:

    OUCH! I think you can spend a buck at most corner lights in CA and not only get a BAG OF ORANGES, but you might even get your windshield cleaned too! Oh wait, that windshield thing is in New York City…..but hey…..the oranges are still cheaper by the bag on the local corner in CA! Jiminey Cricket! Ya’all need to learn how to budget. I’m getting the feeling that this may be where Congress, the Senate and the President are eating. No wonder they are all out of touch with what the “rest of us” do or NEED! Anyone who would PAY $8.00 for this, deserves to be cheated, it’s obvious you have way too much money and not enough common sense! ROFL!

  43. I have to say that I just miss the days when a Consumerist story started out the Mac and Cheese story does:

    Hey Consumerist! Funny night for both me and my roommate. Not only did the girl I am seeing not put out, but my roommate has a problem with his date as well. They had decided to go to dinner at a restaurant she liked in the west village…

    (Well, technically that was before my time, but we can’t bother ourselves with silly details like that con me?

    @bohemian: Zuni says the $8 is an error, and the price really was supposed to be $4.50:

    Yikes! If the customer who posted this photo was charged $8.00 for the nectarine it was definitely an error. We would love the customer to contact us with their receipt and we would be more than happy to refund the entire amount for the fruit. Checking our menus, the Blossom Bluff Summer Grand nectarine was on our dessert menu from July 29-31st for $4.50.

  44. OldJohnRobinson says:

    So I see that, after clicking on the link for the $55 mac and cheese, that blaming the OP was still a standard practice on this blog in 2006. Nice to know.

  45. SableHemlock says:

    This is as bad as the dessert my family and I were served in Italy – two pineapple rings from a can on a plate. Dole International!

  46. y2julio says:

    @Michael Belisle: 4.50 is still WAYY too much.

  47. purplesun says:

    @OldJohnRobinson: I thought it was more interesting that, after going back and looking at and clicking around the $55 Mac and Cheese post, the restaurant in question has since gone out of business.

    I guess they couldn’t get enough people to pay for the mac and cheese after they ate it. ;p

  48. @OldJohnRobinson: So I see that, after clicking on the link for the $55 mac and cheese, that blaming the OP was still a standard practice on this blog in 2006. Nice to know.

    Well, it did say “truffles” on the sans prix menu. And most of those commenters have been banned, so it works out in the end.

  49. SecureLocation says:

    Nice way to shit on your customers

  50. Cortina says:

    @purplesun: Waverly Inn is still open, actually. Well, pre-opened : part of the twee game Grayden Carter et al are playing is that the Waverly has never officially opened, and is run more as a private club for their friends and for celebrities.

  51. purplesun says:

    @Cortina: Ahhh. So, technically, it’s closed, except that they have friends that keep the place open. Understandable.

    We have a lot of places in Austin like that. Of course, the general theory is that they’re run by the mafia.

    … Ok. I’m getting way off topic. Time for sleep. ;p

  52. Con Seannery says:

    @SpiderJerusalem: I’ve been there…not impressed. EXCEPT with Yosemite, love me some national park. Redwoods and Sequoias were bad either.

  53. @Michael Belisle: Whew! That’s much better!

  54. @usellubuy: ‘scuse me… but it’s Oranges, Socks, Flowers and one a drizzly day, an Umbrella. Git yer facts straight! ;)

  55. khiltd says:

    There are white nectarines the size of a baby’s head under .80/lb about a mile away in Chinatown. I’m sure this is some rare species that was hand pollinated and sprayed with rose water its entire life or something but I doubt it tastes any better than those.

    And fresh mangosteens fetch less than $8/lb.

  56. starbreiz says:

    If you read the comments on the original post, the nectarines at Zuni are really $4.50, not $8. That said, I’ve never been to Zuni in the City, but well, I’ve heard plenty about it, and it’s supposed to be fabulous.

  57. morganlh85 says:

    Oh, it’s ONLY $4.50. Our mistake! That’s a TOTALLY fair price for a plain piece of fruit on a plate!

    Good grief.

  58. mdoublej says:

    Not only would I be ticked about the price (even at $4.50), I would be terribly confused as to how to eat it. Do you just pick it up with your hand and eat it? Or would etiquette call for a knife and fork in a fancy place like that?

  59. skc15 says:

    Indeed…reminds me of that scene from Roald Dahl’s Going Solo where he learns from an eccentric he’s traveling with how to peel and eat an orange with a knife and fork.

    Regardless of the price, a single, unadorned nectarine on a plate is just insulting. Now, if for $4.50 they gave you a fantastic peach, a nice, clean bar towel, and let you eat it standing over the sink in the kitchen, that would be another story. At least that would be kinda avant-garde.

  60. crescentia says:

    Anybody that goes to a restaurant and pays over $30.00 for a small plate of food is insane. I don’t care who made it or how the hell it tastes, it’s just a waste of money.

  61. PunditGuy says:

    @crescentia: Take your protein pills and put your helmet on.

    Seriously, if that’s not how you enjoy spending your hard-earned cash, please don’t feel obligated. Some of us truly like a good (and sometimes pricey) dining experience, and we’re not insane.

    I’m not saying that a $8 raw nectarine on a plate qualifies as a good dining experience. That might be insane.

  62. moore850 says:

    They didn’t even slice it or anything… FAIL

  63. lowercase says:

    @crescentia: One should never bash other people’s hobbies, really. If all we did were things that were logical, we would eat bread & water, take a vitamin pill, go to work, exercise, and go directly to bed each and every day.

    Anything else could easily be broken down as insane from the right point of view, including sports, television, and internet commenting.

    If $100 or $500 meals are your interest/passion/hobby, then more power to you. If $500 meals are your daily form of nutrition intake, then I’m on board an insanity argument.

  64. relax_guy says:

    they should at least cut it into wedges for you.

  65. overbysara says:


  66. FangDoc says:

    Decades back, Dudley Moore and Peter Cook had a stage routine in which a chef’s two signature dishes were frog ala peach (a huge bullfrog stuffed with peach slices) and peach ala frog (a huge peach filled with tadpoles.)

    I would gladly pay $8 for — and eat — either of those before I’d pay $8 or even $4.50 for a naked whole nectarine on a plate.

    I have to wonder if they even bothered to wash it.

  67. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    @SpiderJerusalem: Yah you’re right. Sorry, there’s earthquakes, mudslides, and wildfires too. LOL Just teasing you. Actually I don’t think this is a Cali. thing. I have seen pretentious, uppity restaurants like this in NY, RI, Mass, SC, NC, and VA. So yeh Cali is not the issue here. Pretentious pricks and their overpriced desserts are!

  68. shufflemoomin says:

    Bet the guy thought, ‘give me a nectarine on a place. I’m sure you can’t f**k that up’, and then they go and whack an $8 price tag on. Ah, touché.

  69. zibby says:

    I want that thing in a hatfull of perfume for $8.

  70. HogwartsAlum says:

    Gordon Ramsay would have a field day with this.

  71. HogwartsAlum says:

    Ha ha ha, you beat me!

  72. pb5000 says:

    At least they’re not hiding the fact that they only want your money.

  73. Quilt says:

    So did these people refuse to pay or anything? If I was served a single nectarine on a place for $8, I’d just send it back and say I wasn’t going to pay for it.

    The most I’ve ever payed for fruit was the $2.50 I paid for an organic peach which was larger then my fist. It was worth every penny by the way.

  74. Mysterry says:

    Even then… $4.50 for a nectarine is EXPENSIVE!

  75. Mysterry says:

    @Quilt: Ah yes… fruits that are larger then your fist and juicy at that. You should try a dragon fruit. I found a store that sold them… they’re a bit expensive since they’re not locally grown in the US and has to be imported but they’re worth it! That and there are hundreds of types of dragon fruit… although the store i found only sold one type…

  76. YoniX says:

    I don’t get it, even for $4.50, does like some beautiful model bring it to you? do you get it with a song? A nectarine at a fruit stand even a GOOD fruit stand is like no more than 80 cents. Well, that was just my 2 cents.

  77. TimSPC says:

    It needs more truffles.

  78. Next time get the $5 banana. It’s more filling.

  79. Caffiend says:

    @Michael Belisle: And it even has Bluff in the name! Priceless. Or rather $8!

  80. Tzepish says:

    @Michael Belisle: “Yikes! We didn’t mean to charge an arm and leg – we meant to charge only a leg!”

  81. HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee @usellubuy: Don’t forget the tamales. Best damn tamales you’ll ever have.

  82. james says:


    Personally I wouldn’t pay $48 ($24/person) for chicken, but it does say an hour wait on the menu.


    Chicken For Two Roasted In The Brick Oven, Warm Bread Salad with red mustard greens, scallions currants, and pine nuts. approximately 1 hour


  83. jennieblue22 says:

    wow. just wow. and i have to remind myself why i don’t eat out much anymore? (except for cheap fast food…) i appreciate that a restaurant worker announced that this was a mistake, but even for the real price, couldn’t they have sliced it or something? anything but just put it on a plate and leave it like that?

  84. suburb says:

    @james: @kaleberg: .
    The $48/1 hour chicken is WELL worth the wait and the price.

  85. Marshfield says:

    The $48/1 hour chicken is WELL worth the wait and the price.
    Now you’ve got me curious — I’d like to try it but can’t imagine waiting an hour for my food once I ordered it.

  86. Meathamper says:

    It is San Francisco, so it must be the “abstract” food thing.