There are times when a mama's best laid plans go awry. Such was my recent experience with arranging a lunch for my running club. One week was cancelled for a business trip, the next thanks to the flu, and on the third attempt, my babysitter cancelled the night before. With every reschedule we lost RSVPs, so I decided to take M. with me to meet the ladies that could still make it to lunch at Bluestem Brasserie on Market Street.
Until then my experience at Bluestem was positive but totally business focused--pre-baby I'd attended a baby shower lunch for a colleague there (they can accommodate large groups, which is why I chose it for our club lunch), and had lunch there with a recruiter. The space reads SF corporate--lots of warm wood and steel accents in an airy environment, and the diners fit the bill as well.
I knew there was room for a stroller, and when we arrived the lobby was full of folks waiting for colleagues to arrive for lunch dates, so we had to do a little navigating to get inside. Luckily there's nothing like someone else's cute child to bring out the smiles in a bunch of overworked grownups, and the host graciously parked our Britax next to several oversized computer bags and took us to our table mid-dining room.
Bluestem's lunch menu is upscale California casual. Duck confit salads sit alongside their burger, which comes with picked green tomatoes, house made aioli and french fries that my dining companions loved. I somehow resisted the fries and opted for the pulled pork sandwich and greens--the sandwich came topped with a tangy slaw, the salad with a light dressing. It was the perfect lunch to have if you're going back to the office and don't want to fall asleep at your desk. Or if you need to be alert to chase a toddler around for the rest of the afternoon.
Our waitress told us how glad she was to see a little one in the restaurant, and one of the managers came over to meet Mia. Before lunch was over one of the hosts engaged in an extensive hide-and-seek match with her too, so I think she had as much fun as the rest of us did. Another diner dropped by to comment on how well behaved she was, which made me a proud mama.
VERDICT: Bluestem is an upscale alternative to many of the other lunch and dinner spots on Market Street, and their welcoming attitude toward kids makes it a good option for if you need to have a nice meal with a baby at your side!