1. toasted PBLC (peanut butter lemon curd - i prefer that over jelly/jam) with the ends of the bread loaf. how sad.
2. easy mac + tuna!
3. frozen potstickers
4. ice cream (if you're lucky, you might have the limited edition dreyer's girl scout samoa ice cream! only super cool people are able to get their hands on this baby)
5. ramen (the packaged kind)
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
1. toasted PBLC (peanut butter lemon curd - i prefer that over jelly/jam) with the ends of the bread loaf. how sad.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Santa – try the stew pork and the chicken is really good too. Tofu is so-so. Long wait. Wear sneakers so you can sprint to the head of the wait line from your car and keep an eye on competing sprinters (in other cars) in case they jump the gun!
Maruichi – good set lunch which comes with
Ringer Hut – their Nagasaki Champon noodle is pretty tasty and you can order the set lunch A, which includes a small dish of fried rice. A good size and nice place with plenty of space.
Mifune – in J-Town upstairs. Offer large variety of set lunch options and you can choose ramen or udon. Kathy was not a fan of this place.
Suzu – in J-Town downstairs. Small place and normally crowded.
** I've witnessed the Santa Ramen madness and it's pretty ridiculous. If no one's lined up before it's opened, that means everyone is waiting in their cars hawking the other parked cars. Intense! I would've also added Ryowa in both Berkeley and Mountain View. -kathy
52 Belden Place
Mediterranean in Financial (Belden Lane)
Went here for a work lunch, and the food was decent but like the rest of Belden Lane's restaurants, nothing special. Belden Lane is really just about convenience (i.e. during or after work) and the ambiance. You feel like you're in a little strip of Europe here since it's lined with outdoor seating. Unfortunately, the food does not match its hype.
Taverna is no exception. The only thing memorable about that meal was the dessert. My friend's friend WAS the pastry chef there, and her desserts were amazing! The fried custard was definitely the highlight - light and flavorful. Unfortunately, she doesn't work there anymore, so I don't know what the dessert menu is like now.
3319 Balboa St. (& 34th Ave)
Chinese in the Richmond
This is one of my favorite places in SF - not just because it's a few blocks away from where I live (please don't stalk me), but also despite it's ghettoness, it's damn good.
Their xiao long bao (soup dumplings) are "some of the best [jess] has ever had, including in asia." I would agree, but jess's opinion in Chinese food tends to be slightly more credible than mine. Regardless, their spicy beef noodle soup is decent, as is their pan fried rice cakes dish. I like their green beans, primarily because they're really garlicky.
The staff is nice and extremely accommodating. My apartment celebrated Chinese New Year here and brought our own bottle of wine (which we drank out of tea cups). Soon enough, people were randomly leaving their tables and coming back with brown paper bags. No corkage fee, and they also brought us extra plastic cups. Niiiice.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
40 Belden Place
Seafood in Financial
what a delightful restaurant! it's location, in cute little belden alley, takes you away from san francisco and makes it seem like you have actually travelled to another place just to have dinner. dining outdoors adds to the non-citylike atmosphere (though the tables are a bit close together).
the food was delicious. i had the "new zealand bass en croute with haricot vert, caramelized onions and truffle glaze" while my friend had the "ahi tuna au poivre with jerusalem artichokes, escarole and sauce beurre rouge." the sea bass was one of the best that i've had (my favorite has to be the sea bass in chicago), the fried and breaded outside was light and tasty (fried stuff, so good!) with the inside sea bass perfectly flaky and tender. the ahi tuna was, as ahi tuna almost always is, delicious. nearby, a pile of mussels were stacked high on another diner's plate - next time, i'm trying those.
the waiters, when present, were all very friendly; they answered all our silly questions and helped us with all our pronunciation difficulties. service however, was only average; it was sometimes difficult to get the waiters attention. moreover, near the end of our meal, it seemed like the waitress was trying to free up a table just so she could seat one of the many people waiting in line; when she asked us if we needed a dessert menu, she mistook our "yes why not?" for a "no thanks."
although the portions are a little on the small size and the service is only average, for the atmosphere and for the food, i would come here again. (i would also come early just to beat the crowd that begins to form later on at night.)
-s*** Edit: I've been here a couple of times for lunch during work and I think it's just average. I think the only things worth getting are the mussels with different types of sauces (and you can just get a side order of fries for dipping). - k
22 Peace Plaza
(Miyako Mall, Japantown)
Japanese in Japantown (If that's not unique, what is?)
There are many Japanese restaurants in San Francisco. This is one is better than most that I've tried and has some distinguishing features. The first distinguishing feature is the tank of live shrimp outside the entryway. The second is that the boss and all but one member of the waitstaff speak Japanese (as opposed to Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, English, or Spanish) . The third is that the set meals start off with two dishes of pickled vegetables and a cup of a savory custard. (Set meals are $18.50 for a two-item one and $23.50 for a three-item one ... I think.) In all the Japanese restaurants I've eaten around the world -- Japanese restaurants in California, Hawaii, Beijing, Taiwan, and British Columbia -- I've never had those two types of pickled vegetables nor the custard. The pickled vegetables were new, but I didn't particularly like them. I liked the custard. It was served steaming hot, had julienned fish cake and mushrooms, and some broth sitting under the thick but fluffy egg-custard surface layer. The set meals also come with miso soup, white rice, and a scoop of ice cream.
My friends, who eat Japanese food often, complimented the quality of Takara's sushi. Even with my brutish palate, I could tell that the sashimi was better than the average SF Japanese restaurant. My half-Japanese half-Korean commented that their green tea was good.
The restaurant's disposable chopsticks are made from bamboo, so they don't split awkwardly and asymmetrically like disposable chopsticks made from wood.
522 Jones St. (at Ofarrell) Guest starring Lil Cyn at the mic. This past Sunday I went to Dottie's True Blue Cafe. I went with my friend who helped design the posters, mugs, lamps, you name it. He highly recommended this place and he says he goes just about every day, so I thought heck why not. Besides, breakfast food is THE BEST. i do like breakfast foods! So we arrived at Dotties and it was a gorgeous day, which made the wait in line not that bad. We waited about 20 minutes and I think I got a neck tan in the process. our day wasn't so nice...we waited about an hour saturday morning. lucky for us (but not for those in line) it started pouring after we were seated. We wait about 30-40 min. Good thing I wasn't hungry (yeah right). When we got in my friend said everything was good, so I ordered the sweet potato tart, which came with two slices of homemade dill bread, a mountain of scrambled eggs, and a bowl of fruit. I also got the coffee and later we split a cinnamon roll. The tart was really good: sweat and savory at the same time. The bowl of fruit was also really good, surprising because sometimes those can just be gross. i tried the recommended frittata that consisted of a lot of ingredients, one of which was penne. it was unusual, but good. i also tried the southwestern scramble which had Andouille sausage, onions, cheese, salsa served with two tortillas - tasty, though my frittata was better. it was the same with the smoked chicken apple sausage, eggs, and other stuff special which came with grilled cornbread - good, but not spectacular. I also tried the frittata (asparagus, feta, tomatoes, and other stuff) and it was gooood. It was served with a side of potatoes and toasted zucchini bread mmm you could taste all the butter in it. Kevin agreed that mine was better than his (he had scrambled eggs with sausage, spinach, and more normal stuff). (random side note: Dottie's is a hot spot for celebs - Halle Berry, Cheryl Crow, Jake Gyllenhal...I forgot the rest) My friend said to order the cinnamon roll because it wasn't like other cinnamon rolls. It was much flakier and not too uber sweet. There was a faint hint of orange in the roll because they use orance juice in the brown sugar sauce part. My friend got an omlette with pesto, goat cheese, and something else, and it looked deeeelicious. I only ate half my meal so that I could eat the cinnamon roll, and I ate the rest of it for lunch today, and it was still good! Yay! i'd go back on a weekday and try the cinnamon roll =], but i wouldn't try going again on a weekend. If you love breakfast, you'll love Dottie's. I totally plan to go back. The service was great, service was average (maybe they just liked c better) the people friendly, and the ambience cozy. And, if you love old Hollywood, like I do - pay attention to the collages and posters of Betty Davis, Rita, Veronica Lake (whose hair I could never manage to copy), and other beauties from when Hollywood was Hollywood. I took away one star from the original post because the food wasn't FABULOUS. It was definitely good, but I don't know if it's worth the wait. They don't have a sign-up sheet or waitlist, so you just have to wait in line forever. Yay, two thumbs (tongues?) up! (one tongue!)
Guest starring Lil Cyn at the mic.
This past Sunday I went to Dottie's True Blue Cafe. I went with my friend who helped design the posters, mugs, lamps, you name it. He highly recommended this place and he says he goes just about every day, so I thought heck why not. Besides, breakfast food is THE BEST. i do like breakfast foods!
So we arrived at Dotties and it was a gorgeous day, which made the wait in line not that bad. We waited about 20 minutes and I think I got a neck tan in the process. our day wasn't so nice...we waited about an hour saturday morning. lucky for us (but not for those in line) it started pouring after we were seated. We wait about 30-40 min. Good thing I wasn't hungry (yeah right).
When we got in my friend said everything was good, so I ordered the sweet potato tart, which came with two slices of homemade dill bread, a mountain of scrambled eggs, and a bowl of fruit. I also got the coffee and later we split a cinnamon roll. The tart was really good: sweat and savory at the same time. The bowl of fruit was also really good, surprising because sometimes those can just be gross. i tried the recommended frittata that consisted of a lot of ingredients, one of which was penne. it was unusual, but good. i also tried the southwestern scramble which had Andouille sausage, onions, cheese, salsa served with two tortillas - tasty, though my frittata was better. it was the same with the smoked chicken apple sausage, eggs, and other stuff special which came with grilled cornbread - good, but not spectacular. I also tried the frittata (asparagus, feta, tomatoes, and other stuff) and it was gooood. It was served with a side of potatoes and toasted zucchini bread mmm you could taste all the butter in it. Kevin agreed that mine was better than his (he had scrambled eggs with sausage, spinach, and more normal stuff).
(random side note: Dottie's is a hot spot for celebs - Halle Berry, Cheryl Crow, Jake Gyllenhal...I forgot the rest)
My friend said to order the cinnamon roll because it wasn't like other cinnamon rolls. It was much flakier and not too uber sweet. There was a faint hint of orange in the roll because they use orance juice in the brown sugar sauce part. My friend got an omlette with pesto, goat cheese, and something else, and it looked deeeelicious. I only ate half my meal so that I could eat the cinnamon roll, and I ate the rest of it for lunch today, and it was still good! Yay! i'd go back on a weekday and try the cinnamon roll =], but i wouldn't try going again on a weekend.
If you love breakfast, you'll love Dottie's. I totally plan to go back. The service was great, service was average (maybe they just liked c better) the people friendly, and the ambience cozy. And, if you love old Hollywood, like I do - pay attention to the collages and posters of Betty Davis, Rita, Veronica Lake (whose hair I could never manage to copy), and other beauties from when Hollywood was Hollywood.
I took away one star from the original post because the food wasn't FABULOUS. It was definitely good, but I don't know if it's worth the wait. They don't have a sign-up sheet or waitlist, so you just have to wait in line forever.
Yay, two thumbs (tongues?) up! (one tongue!)- c - s - k
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
576 Haight St.
BBQ in the lower Haight
Sunset magazine has consistently called this restaurant the best BBQ place on the West Coast. They have a sake menu, too.
Everything is good here. I had my first sweet tea here, and I had grits with shrimp, gravy, and sliced green onions -- an item from their Sunday brunch menu that's "a South Carolina tradition." I've had grits before, but they were like a cross between oatmeal and concrete mix. Today's grits were smooth, rich, and creamy, and the shrimp (which were slightly overcooked) complemented the grits. Our party of four also shared two types of ribs, beef brisket, potato salad, corn bread muffins, and a beef brisket omelet.
I like the non-pretentious, bright atmosphere.
When I saw all our food spread out on our table, ready to be eaten, I exclaimed, "I love America."
I went here for dinner, and got the rib tip appetizer, the beef brisket, and the pork ribs. For sides, we got the mac n cheese and beans, which were ok. The meat, however, was HORRIBLE. It was dry and flavorless, and we basically had to douse everything in sauce, which was runny (I prefer it thick). After talking to Jesse, he suggested I go for lunch, since his experience wasn't like that at all. Perhaps I will one day and have this experience redeemed, but for the time being, I do not plan on ever going back.
I took off 1.5 stars because I thought it was really bad (I would've taken off more, but I thought that would be unfair to Jesse's review).
One rule of thumb for any and all BBQ restaurants: The meat will be more moist if you go during lunchtime and drier if you go during dinnertime. Memphis Minnie's is no exception, unfortunately.
- J - k -J
2018 Lombard St . (and Webster)
Spanish tapas in the Marina/Cow Hollow
This is a good place if you're looking for authenticity (well, what I think is authenticity at least). The staff is Spanish and very knowledgable, and most importantly, very friendly! Our waiter was fabulous and so friendly =)
The food itself was so-so. We had the gambas al ajillo (shrimp with garlic sauce), pinchos morunos (pork skewers), the patatas bravas con alioli (think fancy shmancy garlic fries), and the seafood+chicken paella as our main dish. These were all just good, but nothing special. The shrimp was really nothing special at all. The potatoes were good... the paella was a bit too seafoody. We had the apple crepes (a flambe), which were pretty unique - not your typical crepes.
Even though the food wasn't spectacular, the service was wonderful. What brings it down is that the tables are way too small. When you have tapas, you're obviously going to have muliple plates on your table, on top of your own personal plate and bread plate and all the other stuff on the table. There just was not enough room!
I've been here twice -- once for dessert, once for brunch. The atmosphere is very sterile -- the biggest detterent for me. The decor tries too hard to be ultra modern that it makes you feel cold and uncomfortable.
The food, however, lives up to its reputation. For brunch, the portions are very small, but the quality is very high. We had the french toast (very good), quiche (good but small), and scrambled eggs (you'd think that it's impossible to be impressed by scrambled eggs, but they were very good!). When I came here for dessert, I had the plum mochi cake that came with black sesame gelato. I'd have to say that it was one of the most innovative desserts I've ever had.
** Edit: I've been here multiple times since this review, and it's pretty much a toss-up. What I appreciate about this place is that it's innovative and takes risks... but sometimes to the detriment of the dish's cohesiveness (e.g. curry ice cream? gross). The non-dessert food has been lackluster since that first brunch, so in the future I would only go here to see what the pastry chefs come up with.
Moroccan in the Richmond
This restaurant has been on my list forever, and I FINALLY went there!
Ambience: very dim and intimate. It's actually bigger than it looks (2 rooms you can't see from the front room), but the seating arrangements aren't good for large parties. They have belly dancing on the weekends, but we went on a Friday. You definitely need reservations.
Service: good and attentive. They give you rose water for your hands, which I've never seen done before. Our waiter was very accommodating, yet at the same time seemed a bit arrogant (maybe because we're young?). (he did seem arrrogant. during my second visit, the hostess seemed a bit rude as well. it was true we were late for our reservations, but telling us that they would reseat the table at 7:30 and also telling us that we wouldn't have enough time to eat all the courses we wanted to order didn't make us very happy diners. instead, it made me feel rushed and even a bit stressed, not at all what i want from a night out)
Food: very good! This place is known for exotic cocktails -- I had a "fez fizz," which is basically a pomegranate mimosa, and Shinie had this lavender and honey martini -- the most interesting drink I've ever had. It's like drinking sweet flowers, which sounds gross, but was actually really good. Appetizers -- we had mediterranean spreads and the baked seafood triangles. Both were pretty good, but what stood out was the couscous that came with the triangles. Sooo good! Very flavorful. (they both were quite good. i liked the baked seafood triangles so much that i ordered it again the second time)
Entrees -- we had the lamb shank (pretty good), the rabbit (pretty good), and the basteeya (kind of like a chicken pot pie, but in phyllo). The flavors are quite varied per dish, which you don't see often in restaurants. The basteeya was kind of a disappointment -- it was extremely pretty though... but I was expecting more flavor. i also tried the azizza couscous, which is really good. you get to try a little bit of everything and its served with their very tasty couscous. the prawn tangines (i think that's what it was called) which were good as well but a bit on the salty side. the vegetables that they were served with seemed more like tomato sauce than anything else. it's true though, azziza is really good at making all their dishes tasty so that you encounter flavors that you wouldn't otherwise.
I was very satisfied with my visit here. If I went back, I'd try the couscous aziza, and I'd go on the weekend to see the bellydancing =) i don't think i'd go back anymore. it's true that the food was tasty, but i wouldn't want to go to a place with such pretentious service. maaaaybe if we were going to go see the bellydancing =]
- k - s
1550 Hyde St. (and Pacific)
Californian in Russian Hill
We had the game hen and rabbit -- game hen was a bit too salty and the accompanying risotto was funky. It was an interesting (in a good way) change to chicken though. The rabbit was good, and the accompanying pasta was very unique. Both dishes require quite a bit of work to eat, though, since both animals have a lot of small bones -- imagine trying to eat a chicken wing with fork and knife.
Service is good, atmosphere is very cute -- very popular place. Overall, it's pretty good and the food was pretty original. I wasn't blown away, but it's still good =)
337 3rd St. (and Folsom)
Italian in SOMA (specializing in homemade pasta)
The service is great, and the ambience is very cute. This is a good place to eat if you're in the Metreon area and don't feel like eating something commercial. The pasta dishes are typical, but the pasta itself is very good (you can taste the freshness). They're served in small portions which are enough, but it's also very oily. Average priced, but personally not worth it. Once is good enough for me.
3324 Steiner St. (and Lombard)
Went here for my birthday on a late Saturday night (around 9:30pm or so). Even though it was so late, there were still a lot of people there (we were the last to leave though). Sat at the patio in the back - very nice ambiance.
For two people, we shared 4 plates - the lobster broth (just ok - really just broth with like.. 3 pieces of shrimp in it... no lobster), the sea bass wrapped in potato (very good), the duck (not that good... it was very chewy and not that flavorful), and the truffle risotto (recommended by the waiter, but it was too cheesy). For dessert, we had the amaretto semifreddo, which was good - really just because I love love love anything hazelnut. =)
The service was very attentive - since we were there so late and ended up being the last ones out, towards the end they kept asking if we were done which was a little annoying, but understandable.
Overall, pretty good, but the sea bass is the only thing that really stuck out.
615 Balboa St. (between 7th & 8th Ave.)
Californian/American in the Richmond
Went here for my birthday =) The atmosphere is great - total mom & pop place (homey yet elegant) located in a residential neighborhood close to my apartment! It actually looked like it was an apartment converted into a restaurant (it did!) . Since it was a Tuesday night, it wasn't that busy (we were able to make reservations in the late afternoon the day of).
The waiter was friendly and helpful, but at times had a condescending tone. There were 7 us, and none of us really know much, if anything, about wine, so we asked for recommendations... the waiter seemed a bit annoyed with our indecision =P (he wasn't very helpful at all. he didn't seem like he should belong in such a cute restaurant)
The food was good, but not worth the money. The butter for the bread was very cutely plated - a regular yellow butter coated in coarse salt, a green pesto butter, and a purple taro butter (the butter was adorable). First time I've seen that. To our surprise, the appetizers are INDIVIDUAL - i.e. the scallop (not plural on the menu) really is just one scallop! Sure, it was big and tasted good, but $10 for ONE scallop? Silly. (i know! so silly!) The entrees were the steak (nothing special) (yeah, not special at all), ravioli, cheeseburger hehe, sole + braised short ribs (ok).
Overall, this restaurant is good, but the food isn't anything special.
- k - s
101 Spear (and Mission St. in the Rincon Center)
Chinese, Dim Sum in Financial
The first time I was here was actually for my 2nd cousin's wedding reception - they rented out the place and it was reallllly nice, since the restaurant basically pours into the floor of the Rincon Center, surrounded by waterfalls and a high ceiling. =) The food at the wedding was fabulous - not exactly americanized Chinese food, but rather a western twist on non-traditional Chinese.
The second time was for dim sum with my family, and it was a good thing we got reservations (probably the only dim sum place that you would need reservations for) and it was verrrry good. =) They had your traditional dishes, as well as some interesting spins on what would usually be main courses. Their xiao long bao was very authentic (I'm not an expert obviously, but my parents agreed!) and the best I've had other than in China. Very delicate though.
Definitely a classy Chinese place that's actually good. Expensive though. If you're ever tempted to go to Yank Sing 2 -- DON'T!! It sucks majorly.
1601 Van Ness Ave. (and California)
this is the first restaurant where i've liked the service more than i've liked the food. we (jess and i) started off the night with reservations for four, which we then cancelled, and then we walked in hoping to get a table for two, which by the end of the night became a table for four. throughout the night, the server was just so accomodating and pleasant. he answered all our questions about the menu very nicely and patiently. he then moved our already served entrees so we could sit with brian and jen. and when i thought my steak was too well done, another server very readily took it back and told me he'd bring me a new one. ever so often, a server would come to check on us, but never enough that it became too much. the steak itself (the ribeye) was good. (i've had better homecooked steaks). the salad was nothing out of the ordinary, the potatoes au gratin were good,the fries were even better (i thought the fries were fried perfectly - crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy inside), and the bread pudding was a nice way to end the dinner.
though ruth's chris steak is a bit overrated (maybe it's because i've had goooood steak) its service exceeds expectations =]
126 Clement St. (and 2nd Ave.) - s ** Edit: This is one of my favorite places for dessert -- their FRENCH TOAST is absolutely divine (this means something because I rarely give rave reviews). My french coworkers generally like this place and say it's very authentic - I wouldn't be able to tell, but I think their non-dessert food is just ok. (- k)
French in the Richmond
a very cute french restaurant located in the inner richmond district, it's a perfect date place. the food is good (though not exceptional), the decor is very cute and romantic, and the service is good too. the veal was tasty, the rack of lamb was very good but the quail and the rabbit were only okay. if you come on a tuesday, wednesday or thursday, you can get a 3 course meal for 27 dollars (i think). overall nice place to eat with someone special =]
(the salt and pepper on the table are really cute)
126 Clement St. (and 2nd Ave.)
** Edit: This is one of my favorite places for dessert -- their FRENCH TOAST is absolutely divine (this means something because I rarely give rave reviews). My french coworkers generally like this place and say it's very authentic - I wouldn't be able to tell, but I think their non-dessert food is just ok. (- k)
575 Mission St. (between 1st & 2nd St.)
Hawaiian Fusion in Financial
This is a very popular restaurant (a CHAIN! gasp!), and shinie and I went not knowing what to expect since it could've been overrated. To our delight, it was pretty good =) The service was really good -- everyone is really friendly and greets you with "aloha." The place is HUGE and spacious. I haven't been to a nice restaurant that wasn't small and intimate in a long time. It was a Thursday night and still pretty busy, and it's probably a popular place for people to go after work. Nonetheless, I still sat alone at the bar (how tragic) with a Hawaiian martini (think strong pina colada) as my only friend. tear =(
Three of us had a sampler (basically a 3-course prix fixe for $33), which is a really good deal since all of their regular dishes are $25+. Appetizers in the sampler include: 1 crab&something else potsticker (came with reallllllly good butter sauce), 1 short rib (eh), and 1 shrimp (shrimp is shrimp to me, but jess really liked it).
Entrees included the mahi mahi (I thought it was good... especially with the butter sauce... I'm drooling as my body prepares for a heart attack), the braised short ribs (cooked for 16 hours... it was too chewy though), and the butterfish (very Chinese, and kind of salty... nothing special).
For dessert, we had both the macadamia tart (I liked it) and the chocolate souffle (still hot in the middle mmm). The souffle was good and is their signature dessert... but it's VERY RICH. Jess ate the whole thing of hers, but I could only take a few bites because it was too much chocolate for me... but it's good quality =). They also brought out a cute little dessert plate for Val with "Happy Birthday Valerie" written on the plate. Very cute =)
Food-wise, this place is pretty good. Not great. I'd go back for their appetizers, but not anything else. This is a good place for groups and events since they are so accomodating.
- k (+ shinie's input)
** Edit: I've been here multiple times since the original review, and I've decided the food is just average, but very satisfying for non-foodies.
44 Belden Pl. (between Bush and Pine)
Spanish in Financial
Went here for Valentine's Day, and as expected, the prices were jacked up for the commercial holiday =P. The service was pretty good (our waitress was so nice =), but it was INCREDIBLY LOUD in there! We would've sat outside to escape the noise, except that it was freezing.
The food was ok - for appetizer, we had lamb skewers mediterrean style, which were ok. The entrees included rabbit paella and the monkfish. The rabbit paella was good - the portion was really small though, only enough to feed one person who has a small appetite. The monkish was ok, but nothing special.
Overall, this is a pretty convenient place to go to after work, and the atmosphere (outside) is great, since belden is like a little Euro-style alley way. The foods not great though. I'd go back for the rabbit paella, but I heard that the other paellas aren't very good.
5546 Geary Blvd. (between 19th and 20th Ave)
Pizza/Italian in the Richmond
This is a very well-known mom & pop restaurant for thin-crust pizza. The service is friendly, but it's a bit confusing when you walk in because there's a sign-up sheet, so we automatically thought we had to wait for someone to seat us. However, we didn't realize until later (after people just started to sit down) that it's self-seating and the sign-up sheet is for if there are no tables available. The place is also a lot smaller than it looks from the outside, so it can only accomodate maybe 3 large parties at a time.
The food was just ok - we had a pizza (Bruce's special), a calzone, and a veal+ravioli dish. The veal was a bit dry, and the ravioli was ok. The calzone was pretty good, mostly because we asked them to add jalepenos. The pizza we had was not very good, honestly. It was EXTREMELY garlicy, and the crust was so thin and actually soggy. I was not impressed at all.
I would definitely go back, just to see if the soggy crust was an accident - nobody else said that about their pizzas. Jalapenos seriously make a big difference - they make everything taste better! I'm so not a jalapeno fan, but it's definitely worth trying. =)
** Edit: If you're friends with Nick, you should go with him because he gets hooked up (knows the owners) haha
2227 Polk St. (and Vallejo)
Italian/Seafood in Russian Hill
i thought that the food here deserved more than four stars, but the friend i was with didn't like one dish, so it must not be a five star restuarant. it's a small little italian seafood restaurant that serves both small plates and regular entrees. (i've decided that i really like small plate restaurants because you get to try more more dishes.) because of its small size and really good food, i would have expected it to be more crowded than it was. most likely it wasn't as busy because of the weekdayness of our reservation. i actually went there on a saturday night, and it still wasn't that crowded. it wasn't empty; just not packed.
the service is okay (i thought the hostess was HORRIBLE! she didn't even show us to our table! she just said "you can sit at that table right there" and pointed. if our waitress wasn't so nice, i would've skimped out on the tip =P) as is the ambience, but the food is great. i would recommend every dish that we tried - oyster shooters with a cool hint of cucumber, braised octopus salad with potatoes, celery, and garlic-lemon vinaigrette, seared day boat scallops in a creamy sauce (the scallops were the best i have ever had!), swordfish rolls (these were just ok... a bit dry), and a smoked platter of salmon, sturgeon, and another fish. the only questionable dish was the squid-ink risotto which i really liked but my friend did not enjoy (this was pretty good - not too cheesey like most risottos, which was nice). (i liked this place so much i was almost tempted not to add that there was a questionable dish, but i guess i must warn other non squid-ink risotto fans.) we also had a main dish - sole - which was ok but nothing special.
come eat here (and bring me along too, i still want to try the crab cakes). This is also a good area to walk around before or afterwards (around Polk and such in Russian Hill), so you can work off your meal =)
- s - k
1793 Haight St. (at Shrader)
Mediterranean in the Haight
Went here for a friend's birthday on a Saturday night and it was PACKED. The host is kind of snotty - it takes forever to talk to him because (1) it's so crowded in the entryway that it takes forever to get through, and (2) he doesn't even give you a chance to ask for a table because he's too busy talking to staff or staring into space. =P
However, our waitress was friendly and accommodating. One person didn't get her drink until after asking for it twice, but other than that, the service was pretty decent. Our large party of 13 sat in a booth aka raised floor, cross-legged style. If only there was enough room to actually sit cross-legged.... =P They have a pretty interesting drink menu; the spiced wine (served HOT) is realllly good! It's like spiked apple cider. =) You can order it by the glass or liter.
The food itself was ok; I've had better middle eastern food. For cold appetizers, we got hummus, baba ganoush, and tabouleh, which were just ok spreads. Some of the pita were a bit burnt. Our hot appetizers were meat pie (not good) and falafel - really good! I've had falafel in berkeley before and thought it was disgusting, but this one I liked. For main dishes we got beef and veggie skewers. Beef was eh; veggie was good and coated in this garlic stuff mmm....
Overall, this is a very trendy and popular place (it's the Haight - what do you expect) with a loud but fun atmosphere (oh yeah, they also have belly dancing every 1-2 hrs). The food is just ok, but if anything, go for the spiced wine. =) For birthdays, they give you a little piece of baklava with a candle in it hehe. This place isn't great on the food side, but a good experience anyway.
941 Cole St (and Carl)
French/Californian bistro in Cole Valley
Cole Valley's a very Berkeley-esque area where people are out walking their dogs or brunching on weekends. Our group of 4 had to wait awhile but the neighborhood is comfortable enough to not be so bad. This place is supposed to have a cute patio (in the back), but we got a very cute window booth instead, which was actually perfect since it was raining for a little bit.
I enjoyed the food. It's no Rick & Ann's, but they have a lot of poached eggs, which you don't see very often on brunch menus. The dishes we tried: french toast tahiti (with caramelized bananas... interesting concept, but just ok), scrambled eggs grece (with feta and the like), poached eggs monaco (with proscuitto and tomato... i liked it), and poached eggs with salmon, capers, and stuff (don't remember what it was called).
All in all, it's a very cute place, cute ambience... very rick & ann's, but not as good. I'd go for the poached eggs, and next time the patio. =)
Italian in the Mission
really yummy italian food in a busy and small environment.. our reservation was at 9 'o 'clock, but even when we left, the place was very packed. [I thought it was a very cute, comfortable yet trendy place... somewhere people would eat at any day of the week]
for an appetizer, definitely get the grilled calamari with the tiny white beans - very tasty, and i don't even like beans. [We got the lettuce involtini, which was basically meat wrapped in lettuce with tomato sauce, which was good]
for entrees, the swordfish was just the right texture and just the right moistness and with a perfect balance of flavors. [the swordfish was so good! the butter sauce on the side was to die for, literally if you have too much =P ] the braised shortribs with polenta also made my tastebuds happy, but after awhile, too much braised meat just beomces a chore to finish (the polenta was a nice complement to the ribs though). [We also had the skatewing, which is a type of fish related to the sting-ray. it was ok, but definitely not as good as the swordfish! For dessert, we had this lemon budino with huckleberry sauce and marscapone cream. budino is, i guess, this kind of pudding cake - it was very light and interesting. huckleberry doesn't impress me, btw, since it sounds "ooooh" but just about every restaurant has some kind of huckleberry dessert!]
as a date place, this probably wouldn't be the best place to go. the tables are so close together you could eat off the table next to you and the restaurant is so busy it doesn't have that nice and quiet atmosphere. come here for the food, [particularly the swordfish!!] it's worth it.---
I actually went back for a second time, and it was not as good as the first AT ALL (took off one star).
- s - k
American in Financial/Embarcadero
I went here for an anniversary dinner, celebrating one wonderful year. ... Even after having a horrible day on top of the 28-day rain streak, dinner at Boulevard gave my day a 180. We were greeted with fabulous service - a waiter that would not only laugh at our silly antics, but he even joined in sometimes. =) On top of THAT, he knew his salt! Now THAT makes a fab waiter. =) If that doesn't beat a story about huns and dragons, I don't know what does.
The food was very traditional American cuisine, and very high quality. I'm not much for foie gras, but I was RAVING about Boulevard's. It didn't have that uncomfortable jelly-like consistency nor the gross liver taste a lot of restaurants tend to have. Our entrees included the duck, which was ok, and...wow, I don't remember what I had... but it was fish. The thing about this restaurant is that, again, the food is very traditional, so it isn't anything you haven't heard of. However, what makes it special is that it's high quality, and they make each dish the way it should always be (but oftentimes isn't elsewhere). It does lack uniqueness, but that isn't what the restaurant is going for anyway.
For dessert, we had a very special banana cream + white chocolate "pie," which wasn't exactly a pie since the crust was made out of flaky pastry dough. The white chocolate also gave it a little spunk, which was nice.
All in all, my experience at Boulevard was great. Good company always makes good food better, and if it wasn't for that and the service, I would've had a not-so-happy anniversary (as illustrated below). =P
2316 Polk St. (and Union)
French in Russian Hill
I am uncomfortably full and $85 poorer. Oh, but it was worth it. The restaurant was much smaller than I had imagined - very intimate with warm colors, like most date-ish places. The location is also great - prime Russian Hill area. Service was also very attentive, and our waiter humored my party's silliness and wasn't snotty.
The menu is very flexible - you can choose from a 3-, 4-, or 5-course menu that you arrange yourself, based on lists of appetizers, seafood/meat, and desserts. Don't be fooled - 3 courses is already A LOT! They brought us complimentary extras aside from the bread - high quality raw hamachi before our appetizers, a double shot of melon cream/smoothie to cleanse the palette after our entrees, and additional mini desserts after dessert! SO MUCH FOOD.
Appetizers: foie gras soup (very rich and creamy), foie gras & squab "lollipops" (REALLY GOOD), crab napolean with pineapple chips and apple gelee (the sweet and fishy combo didn't quite work... but it was refreshing in a strange way), goat cheese tartin with roasted vegetables (ok), scallop (yes, singular. i've never had it not fully cooked. was not a fan).
Entrees: sea bass (the corn was realllly good, pea-truffle gnocchi was ok... could really only taste the truffle... the skin of the fish was delightfully crispy, but the taste was a little too fishy for me), veal wrapped in some kind of mushroom (ok... the mushroom was kind of cheesy, which threw me off), lobster with ginger ravioli (ok... beautiful plating though, i must say... amazing colors), rabbit trio (one part looked like sushi and it was a bit dry. the good part was the leg - very moist, unlike most rabbit you'll find), quail&squab (very good. truffles did get a little tiresome, but the flavors were all there, and the surrounding potatoes gave nice texture).
Desserts: coconut tapioca with passionfruit sorbet & basil sauce (the basil totally threw me off. it tasted kind of foul by itself, but altogether it actually worked) and frozen lemon cream torte with fresh fruit (honestly, i like anything lemon). I must say that the best part was the assortment of mini desserts when we got our check. One of them was this bite of chocolate ganache with a hazelnut something... so rich and soooo goood. It was like eating a tiny ferrero rocher but ten times more rich.
I haven't had good food in awhile, so this meal was definitely a welcome change of pace. I must say that this is one of the best (and most expensive) restaurants I've been to. Lots of foie gras and truffles which can get old, but even though I tend to be attracted to creativity and uniqueness, nothing beats high quality classics. Very solid. =)
56 Gold St (and Sansome)
American in Financial with 30s/40s style
This is a very large restaurant, and situated in the outer skirts of the financial district, it's perfect for post-work socializing and stress relief (aka happy hour). The only sucky part about going right after work is that the live jazz doesn't stat until 8pm.
We had a very strange waiter that made awkward jokes, but regardless, he did his job well. This place is known for their steak tartare (raw beef mixed with a bunch of crap) which was pretty good (I'm just not a huge fan of raw beef). Do NOT get the gourgeres (cheese puffs). They were stale and not good. The potato pillows with caviar were pretty good - like sophisticated tater tots/hash browns. Couldn't really taste the caviar unless you ate is separately.
As for entrees, we got the truffle cheeseburger (very good, with a pretty large slice of truffle), kobe steak (good but small), crab spaghetti (nothing special), and the chicken hash (weird and unexpectedly good). Desserts, we got the bananas foster which is their signature dessert (I think all bananas fosters taste the same, including this one), and some other unmemorable dessert.
1 Ferry Building #3
French Vietnamese in SOMA/Embarcadero
Very trendy and always packed - they have lunch reservations for the weekdays! Located in the Ferry Building, this restaurant has a great view of the bay and the Golden Gate bridge, and is a fabulous place to eat for lunch (I don't think the prices are worth it for dinner). It has a very sleek (almost sterile) atmosphere - super mod and exuding the hip asian trend.
The food was actually pretty good. They put twists on traditional Asian foods, and I don't mean "twists" like P.F. Chang's. Their egg/spring rolls are fresh and good quality, as are most of their dishes. Serving amount is a bit on the small side, but it's definitely enough to keep you satisfied. The "shaking beef" was by far the winner - very moist and flavorful.
200 Jackson Street (at Front)
San Francisco, CA 94111
Greek in Jackson Square (more like the edge of Financial)
I visited this bustling place sometime last November or December for dinner. I went with my friend Frank, his roommate, and Frank's friend Jason who was in San Francisco for business. That meant, of course, that some corporation would be paying for our meal. Sweet.
The environs of the restaurant are great: The lighting and interior color scheme are set such that the evening can be romantic or corporate. In addition, the decor follows a cohesive and conservative theme that helps make the patron feel a little like a traveller. The four of us sat in a booth like the ones of the right side of the following picture (the restaurant is more dimly lit in real life than in the photo):
Because none of us would be personally footing the bill, each of us ordered with minimal restraint. We got a variety of dishes and two bottles of wine. One dish I remember was arnisia paidakia -- grilled lamb riblets with lemon and oregano accompanied by potatoes. The meat was succulent and seasoned perfectly. The horiatiki -- a tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, oregano, olive and feta salad -- was crisp, fresh, and sharp-tasting at all the right notes. We also got a fish dish, but that was forgettable (as you can see). The appetizers were good. Totally don't remember what I got though.
The highlight was the dessert: galaktoboureko -- semolina custard wrapped in filo with huckleberry compote and pear sorbet. This was the best dessert I've ever had in my life. It was refined but not snobby, rich but not corpulent, and sweet but not sickening. It was a successful balancing of tastes, textures, and temperatures. When dining at restaurants, I don't order dessert that often, so take my review of galaktoboureko with a grain of salt. I thought it was pretty good, but maybe my expectations were too high. It's definitely not the best I've had, but I'm probably also more picky than jesse is =P
2400 Harrison St. (and 20th St.)
Vegan in the Mission
Have you ever seen the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days? If so, imagine the scene where Kate Hudson pretends she's vegetarian and they go to a vegan hippie place -- yeah, it's something like that. Located in the Mission (right next to Mission Cliffs - rock climbing place!), this restaurant is crawling with hippie free spirits and indie kids, and it's great. Everything is organic here - even the cloth napkins. Communal seating creates a very friendly environment, and they have a weird board game you can play at the table (the directions took too much effort to read so I didn't attempt to). The names of the dishes are also positive reinforcements like "I am vivacious," "I am abundant," etc. Good for your self-esteem, depending on what you eat haha.
My aunt and the lady sitting next to her =)
The food is very healthy - everything is organic and most of their dishes are "live" meaning not really cooked. Although my cousin, who is vegetarian, likes it, I thought it was pretty mediocre. My plate was pretty good - a sampler called "I am abundant" including almond hummus, olive stuff, cold coconut soup (spicy!), and stsuff like that. My sister had a "pizza," which is basically an almond-like biscuit with (soy-based?) "cheese," veggies, and misc other things on it. My other sister had a weird enchilada-style wrap with some pretty bland (but probably healthy) rice. My uncle had a stuffed avacado, but I didn't try it. Everything didn't taste very good, though it was probably very good for you. The sampler was probably the best out of what I tried, but except for the soup, I feel like all of it was pretty much snack food.
I AM ABUNDANT:
2355 Chestnut St. (between Divisadero & Scott)
Italian/Pizza in the Marina
This restaurant was the perfect place to go right before seeing Bookeaters at the Palace of Fine Arts (they're really close to each other). Even as a Monday evening, this place was pretty crowded, but we only had to wait about 15 min. without a reservation. Maybe I shouldn't hate on the Marina so much, but I was expecting pretty snotty service. To my surprise, the staff was actually really chill and accommodating. My friend and I were running late for the show and they took care of everything right away. =)
The atmosphere is pretty typical for the Marina, but what was cool was the bar seating in front of the chefs. Watching them oven-roast corn and plate other dishes made me want to eat those haha. However, we got the pizza salsiccia (sausage & green onions) since they're known for their pizzas, and the pasta with squid & zucchini. Maybe I was expecting too much, but the pizza was just so-so. It was pretty light for a pizza, which I appreciated, but if I ever go back, I'd get one with sauce (e.g. the marinara or romana). Despite having only had one bite of the pasta because we were running late, it was good! I had it later as leftovers and I really liked it - very light with subtle but good flavors.
If you were to go on a more popular night out (e.g. Friday or Saturday), I'd imagine the wait would be really long, and I don't think it would be worth it. However, the food is pretty good, so check it out on another day. =)
4344 California St. (& 5th Ave.)
Burmese/Chinese in Inner Richmond
I've been to this place twice (once with Shinie and Kyle, and once for Laurene's bday) and I just noticed that I've never reviewed it! Although Burma Superstar is a really popular place, I think the food here is better (with almost no wait, compared to waiting an hour or more).
Get the "special noodles" - a server comes to your table with all the ingredients in front of you and mixes them together right there. The flavors are reallly good... writing this makes me want to go there for dinner. Everything else is pretty normal but good. The service is decent, and if it's your birthday, you'll get a special happy birthday song played throughout the entire restaurant (that sound like "it's a small world" kids but creepier).
I say skip Burma Superstar and go here instead. Or just go here. =)
** Edit: I've been here a gazillion times since this review, and it never fails. I've tried their salads, desserts, drinks... everything here is solid. The special noodles is still definitely the stand-out dish, and if anything, go here to try it.
648 Bush St. (between Powell & Stockton)
French in Union Square area
When you first enter this restaurant, the decor is nice and warm, but something's a little off. The chairs are printed and the fresh roses add to the feminine touch, but the black drapes and the red modern lanterns don't quite fit in... it's like the room is having an identity crisis. Regardless, the chairs were really comfy =)
Food: they welcomed us with a warm mini cheese grougiere (cheese puff) accompanied with a cherry squash soup with brown butter - the first sip is all butter. Talk about heart attack waiting to happen. They have an interesting variety of breads - sourdough, olive, and raisin (the olive was good if you like salty foods). They also gave us another amuse bouche, which was a shrimp mousse (custard-like goodness).
You have the option of the 3-, 4-, 6- or 9-course menu, and we all opted for the 4-course. First course, we shared the crab louis (nothing special), hamachi sashimi, and the veal sweetbreads (glands... they had really good flavor, though some bites were a bit too reminiscent of liver, which i hate). Second course, we had sea bass (good, but lacked really strong flavor), celery ravioli (good, strong flavor), and the scallops. The scallops were by far the best dish in the entire meal - they were seared perfectly, and accompanied with a buttery risotto pancake (incredibly unhealthy but soo goooood). Frenchies really like their butter.
For main course, we had the beef short ribs, stuffed quail with truffles, and the lamb. The lamb was good but could have been more moist, and the short ribs were... gooey. It was weird. The quail was good, but difficult to eat because of all the small bones (maybe I just need to take a class on how to cut it up). For dessert, we had the lemon chiffon (flavorless and very disappointing), the "cracker jax" which was a popcorn and chocolate cake (good), the "coffee bar" which was a sponge cake with dollops of coffee-esque creams and foams (I only liked one of the foams), and the huckleberry blinis. The blinis (like mini pancakes) were divine, I must say. Light, fluffy, but bite-sized and contained. Mmmmmmm
Overall, this dining experience was enjoyable (good food and good company are always good. hehe), but I don't think I will ever come back. It just wasn't worth the money ($105/person). La Folie was a LOT better, and $20 cheaper. If you want classy French food, you should go there instead.
6640 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599
the best restaurant in the country (note: yes, i know this isn't in SF, but whatever. it's worth a post!)
if you've never heard of french laundry, you must know that (1) it's the best restaurant in america according to just about any food resource, and (2) it's the only restaurant on the west coast (i.e. outside of new york in the US) to get 3 michelin stars. i must say that it completely lives up to the hype.
going along with the woodsy theme of wine country, french laundry basically feels like a classic and elegant house in the countryside (that just so happens to house millions of dollars worth of food). it takes quite a few months in advance to get a reservation, but if you're lucky and have connections (like if your friend's sister's coworker is friends with thomas keller's ex-gf!), you can score a reservation of your choice in a few days! =) there's an early and a late seating since the meals are so extensive and time-consuming (9+ courses). we basically started at 6pm and didn't leave till after 9/9:30pm.
the best part about going to the best restaurant in the country is that not only the food is good, but the service is impeccable and not snotty at all. despite being probably the youngest in the building, the staff treated us with respect and were really nice =) there are two menus - the chef's tasting menu, and then the vegetable menu (vegan except for some cream here or there i think... even the cheese course isn't real cheese though). even though i'm not vegetarian, the veggie menu looked really good. but being the carnivore i am, i opted for the chef's menu.
the food: it was good. uber rich. lots of butter. and GOOD. instead of going into detail about it here, you can see for yourself here. yes, i took pictures with absolutely no shame.
the money: prix fixe menu is $210 including service. for my menu, there was a $30 supplement for foie gras, and a $150 supplement for the wagyu, or kobe beef. i'm actually not sure if it was $150 for two, or just one.... and then the wine pairings... i'm not sure about that, either.. but i'm sure it was a good amount! yes, this place is bank, but if you think about it, it's more than just food... it's an experience (maybe even a once in a lifetime!).
1700 Post St. (at Buchanan)
Japanese in J-town (who would've thought), small plates style
Being someone who loves Japanese food, I've realized how limited my exposure to this cuisine has been. As a Sushi House lover, my meal at this place has made me realize that I am uber American, as are my taste buds. I had some good, traditional food in Japan, but even so, I still enjoy classic American Japanese food. This place, however, has opened my eyes and expanded my palate.
This place is tiny (seats about 8-10 people) and is run by only two (I think) Japanese people (maybe husband and wife?). There are no signs, and even if you found it, you wouldn't know what it was because the door is closed without any windows. Once you walk in, the dining area is blocked off by a hanging curtain, giving your meal the utmost privacy. It is bar-style seating, also giving you a view of the displayed raw seafood (fish, squid, octopus, etc). The hostess is a lovely older woman dressed in kimono, who speaks both English and Japanese. It is definitely a date place, but there was a party of 3 when I ate there. The menu was in both English and Japanese, but being used to American Japanese food, I had no idea what to order and let my dinner partner take care of everything.
My dinner partner had sake, which came in this really pretty clear teapot lined with gold trimming. The sake cup was like this matching mini goblet (I probably sound so uncultured right now).
The food (hopefully I didn't forget anything):
- seafood salad: given to start and before we ordered, this tiny dollop of seafood salad was very light and fresh. I'm not really sure what was in it, to be honest.
- misc sashimi (hamachi, squid, other fish): very good quality and fresh. There's nothing better than raw fish melting in your mouth mmm
- mountain yam: I had never had this before, and it wasn't like an American yam at all. It was more like daikon in texture and color, but it was gooey (as if doused in rubber cement or something). Thinly sliced, the pieces of yam were crispy (much like daikon) and a good accompaniment to the rest of the dishes. It didn't have much flavor itself, but I really liked the texture, and I could probably eat this as a snack any time.
- duck: very rich in flavor and moist
- boiled stuff - tofu, edamame pod?, some type of mushroom, squash, and some kind of melon (similar to melon used in chinese soups) in broth
- fried fish cake: I almost burned my tongue and actually took it out of my mouth because it was so hot. I felt so rude.
- tonkatsu (fried pork): unlike most tonkatsu, this was in a more cubic chunk, as opposed to flat and pancake-like. I thought this cut was to its detriment, as each bite had more pork than fried goodness. There was also a chunk of fat in my piece (which I was really surprised by, since Japanese food tends to be super lean), but I ate it anyway because I thought it would be rude not to. Thank God I have a high metabolism.
- miso soup with clams and green onions
The service was good - my ocha (green tea) cup was never empty, and they were very attentive and polite. I couldn't really get a good feel for the staff because my dinner partner talked to them in Japanese only, but regardless, service was good and food came at a good pace. They were also very flexible, as we stayed there for probably over 2 hours, and even when everybody else had gone, we still ordered one more dish.
Go here. =)
800 North Point (and Hyde)
Californian/French near Fisherman's Wharf
It was by the far the BEST meal of my entire life! The lamb was the best I have ever tasted... and it was the worst dish in the meal... that's how great it was! The seared foie grois was amazing, and the lobster and stuffed quail were absolute heaven! The selection of cheeses was a really cool experience, too!
Three courses per person is more than enough food. If I go here again with someone, the ideal combination would be two 3-course meals - 3 appetizers (including foie grois), the lobster, a game dish, and the cheese course. I'd skip the dessert (trio of creme brulee) just because I'm not that big on dessert and have had similar quality elsewhere. Plus, they give you chocolate cake to go.
I went here for my mom's birthday (as well as mine), and I actually thought it was overrated. Maybe it's because my standards have increased after having the best meal of my life, but I was actually not that impressed, especially since Gary Danko is supposed to be the best in SF!
I had the foie gras to start, and it was good and very rich... but just too much. I guess at a nice restaurant most people would be delighted to get a really large portion, but two large pieces of liver is just too much, even if I love the stuff. The lobster was really good, as was the duck (seared, and accompanied with duck hash -- REALLY GOOD. not quite like corn beef hash but with duck instead of corn beef... but rather like... a salty duck salad? i'm obviously bad at describing food, hence why i am not a food critic professionally). I had a pear souffle for dessert, which was light and delicious. The pear flavor was a bit too subtle (i.e. I couldn't taste it), but it was good nonetheless.
The service was amazing - they have a very large staff for a nice restaurant, and set everything onto the table simultaneously (top chef stephen style) which makes for fantastic presentation. They're very friendly and patient, especially considering that they did not act snotty at all to old asian parents (one of which was wearing a baseball cap) who have never really gone to a nice french restaurant.
Gary Danko was definitely classy, but I took away a star because I remember enjoying the food at La Folie more. Maybe I was also expecting too much, since it IS praised as the best in SF (which it is not, sorry).
Two glasses of amazing (and very expensive) German champagne!
Gazpacho soup, a gift from the kitchen
Seared Foie Gras with Caramelized Red Onions, Peaches and Toasted Hazelnuts
Sweet White Corn Soup with Corn Truffle Ravioli and Summer Truffles
Roast Maine Lobster with Chanterelles, Corn and Tarragon
Meat and Game
Herb Crusted Loin of Lamb with Summer Vegetable Tian, Mint-Sweet Pea Risotto and Salsa Verde
Cornbread Stuffed Quail with Tasso Ham, Sweet Corn and Black-Eyed Pea Succotash
A Selection of Farmhouse and Artisanal Cheeses Presented Tableside
Trio of Creme Brulee with Cookies
Happy Birthday Petit Fours
Chocolate Cheesecake to go
They have these portable hooks that they put at the edge of the table for you to hang your purse on - it was pretty neat and I had never seen that before! =) And the bathroom had a shoe buffer, which you also don't see often.
-m/l (guest food critic) - k