Eating and Drinking in San Francisco

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CWun
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#51 Post by CWun »

Joe Chanley wrote:in SF for the night unexpectedly.....where would you recommend for sushi (either last minute reservation or easy enough for walk-in party of 2)? was thinking ichi or ozumo. akiko's looks booked....
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#52 Post by Joe Chanley »

Ended up at ichi and was a little underwhelmed. Wok charred asparagus and ahi poke good, all rolls meh. Too heavy on rice and too light on fish. Uni was on point though.

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#53 Post by dteng »

CWun wrote:
Joe Chanley wrote:in SF for the night unexpectedly.....where would you recommend for sushi (either last minute reservation or easy enough for walk-in party of 2)? was thinking ichi or ozumo. akiko's looks booked....
Kiss?
don't get fresh, young man!
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#54 Post by alan weinberg »

Slanted Door was good but a half step down from past meals--grapefruit jicama salad lovely even if the grapefruit was a bit sour, filet in shaking beef not great, carmelized shrimp delicious. Hasn't really innovated in years, same menu, but place was packed and has been since 1995, so . . .

Disappointed in Saison. Won't say more.

But the revelation was Quince--warm and friendly ambience and service while remaining crisp and professional, outstanding progression of courses that delighted eyes, nose, palate, and brain--definitely hitting on all cylinders and a hugely positive memory. Loved it. Chapeau!

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#55 Post by Barry L i p t o n »

I had dinner at Khin Khao last time in town; best Thai meal ever (including those on my three trips to Thailand). The flavored that you normally only get in Thailand combined with the protein quality you find here. It has a well deserved Michelin star.

I've long been a fan of Quince. Been to Saison twice, once in the old location. Disappointed the second time so in interested in hearing more, Alan. My issue was the repetitiveness of Unami - never thought I could get too much Unami, but I did.

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#56 Post by Jay T. »

alan weinberg wrote: But the revelation was Quince--warm and friendly ambience and service while remaining crisp and professional, outstanding progression of courses that delighted eyes, nose, palate, and brain--definitely hitting on all cylinders and a hugely positive memory. Loved it. Chapeau!
I like the subtle recommendation Alan! Chapeau! is another one of the few fantastic SF restaurants that has been around for awhile (around 20 years I think), in various iterations and locations. It's out in the Inner Richmond (away from tourists and top rent areas) and definitely not on the yuppy "foody" circuit (they don't even have a website!), but it is much loved by San Franciscans. I think it's a really special place. Not innovative like Acquerello, but the long-time chef is a gem of a guy, and it's one of the few higher-end places left in San Francisco that has fantastic service AND really good food. It's my favorite non-experimental traditional-style French restaurant in the city (La Folie is still my favorite French restaurant in SF, but its a whole different thing at a whole different price level). One of my best friends (who grew up in San Francisco) goes to Chapeau! for his birthday every year. I've been 4-5 times, and every time I've loved it as a break from the industrial design, seasonal/farm-to-table, chef-driven places that (for the most part, justifiably in my opinion) get all the attention.

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#57 Post by Joe Chanley »

Barry L i p t o n wrote:I had dinner at Khin Khao last time in town; best Thai meal ever (including those on my three trips to Thailand). The flavored that you normally only get in Thailand combined with the protein quality you find here. It has a well deserved Michelin star.
Dined here on Tuesday night and really enjoyed it. We actually did the $55 prix fixe and enjoyed the variety and quantity of food, both of which were spot on.

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#58 Post by dteng »

Joe Chanley wrote:
Barry L i p t o n wrote:I had dinner at Khin Khao last time in town; best Thai meal ever (including those on my three trips to Thailand). The flavored that you normally only get in Thailand combined with the protein quality you find here. It has a well deserved Michelin star.
Dined here on Tuesday night and really enjoyed it. We actually did the $55 prix fixe and enjoyed the variety and quantity of food, both of which were spot on.
I love the fact that Flannery Beef is one of the listed purveyors!!
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#59 Post by todd waldmann »

We are potentially headed to San Francisco for a weekend in the fall. Does anyone have any tips/tricks for getting a reservation at State Bird?
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#60 Post by Glenn L e v i n e »

Midnite on the intrawebz 30 days prior to anticipated dining is how we did it.
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#61 Post by P. Willenberg »

todd waldmann wrote:We are potentially headed to San Francisco for a weekend in the fall. Does anyone have any tips/tricks for getting a reservation at State Bird?
I stood in line for 30 minutes and sat at the bar.
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#62 Post by todd waldmann »

P. Willenberg wrote:
todd waldmann wrote:We are potentially headed to San Francisco for a weekend in the fall. Does anyone have any tips/tricks for getting a reservation at State Bird?
I stood in line for 30 minutes and sat at the bar.
Worthwhile?
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#63 Post by Leonard Maran »

More than worthwhile for me.

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#64 Post by Leonard Maran »

todd waldmann wrote:We are potentially headed to San Francisco for a weekend in the fall. Does anyone have any tips/tricks for getting a reservation at State Bird?
I live here in town and after an exciting birthday dinner early on, I could never score a reservation for my friends and I again. Sshh, but I recently learned after all this time that not only do you book two months ahead to the day but you do it at Midnight. I also enjoyed The Progress, their sister restaurant next door and it's far easier to get a reservation.

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#65 Post by P. Willenberg »

re: State Bird.

I felt it was worthwhile. I found it a pretty good value compared to other higher end dining in SF. It's best with a group so you can try multiple things, or befriend your barmates. They are constantly changing the menu, so there are some misses in there. If that kind of thing bothers you, be warned, but if you're up for adventure and willing to overlook a bit of polish, it's pushing boundaries in interesting ways.
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#66 Post by Jim Friedman »

We ate at State Bird last year and thought it was great. Worth a detour.

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#67 Post by Glenn L e v i n e »

If you could be 20 again and walk into State Bird after a bong session I would think that America's ultimate dining experience.
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#68 Post by P. Willenberg »

Glenn L e v i n e wrote:If you could be 20 again and walk into State Bird after a bong session I would think that America's ultimate dining experience.
yes. I think of it like the Le Pigeon of SF.
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#69 Post by Robert Dentice »

Glenn L e v i n e wrote:If you could be 20 again and walk into State Bird after a bong session I would think that America's ultimate dining experience.
Who says you have to be 20! Sounds like a great idea for an offline. Besides there is so much weed everyone in San Francisco no one would notice.

I can't even count how many redeyes I have taken so I could eat at State Bird!
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#70 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum »

And you don't need a group. I've ordered a huge number of dishes there just for myself. I'd be embarrassed if it weren't so damn good. The bill for food never seems to get crazy, so it's a great value in my opinion.

Like Paul said, not every dish is as good as every other dish, but the only thing that is a consistent fail to me is their octopus. It is always tough and rubbery. I always tell them it's tough, and they thank me, and then when I come back next time I order it again thinking maybe they fixed it. And it's tough again. But that is ONLY food complaint I have with State Bird. Love it!
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#71 Post by todd waldmann »

Thanks for all the input everyone. If we do end up in San Francisco, we'll go to State Bird (with or without reservations) and Acquerello (one of my favorites. Of the three nights we would be likely to be there, they only had availability at 5:45 each night and at 9:00 on one night and it is 2 1/2 months away!). Will probably have sushi on the third night. I'd want to make sure we have lunch at Kin Khao.
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#72 Post by alan weinberg »

Barry L i p t o n wrote:I had dinner at Khin Khao last time in town; best Thai meal ever (including those on my three trips to Thailand). The flavored that you normally only get in Thailand combined with the protein quality you find here. It has a well deserved Michelin star.

I've long been a fan of Quince. Been to Saison twice, once in the old location. Disappointed the second time so in interested in hearing more, Alan. My issue was the repetitiveness of Unami - never thought I could get too much Unami, but I did.
going back to Quince in Sept. Will try and do a K Khao lunch. Thanks.

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#73 Post by c fu »

Shalimar on Jones is dope for Pakistani food. Always pretty busy, order at the counter. Really legit. The goat curry is awesome.
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#74 Post by todd waldmann »

I called American Express Concierge to see about getting a reservation at State Bird.....

Me: "Can you arrange for a reservation at State Bird? It would be for 61 days from now."

Amex: "Oh yeah. No problem. We book with them at 4am Pacific time when they open up online reservations. If there aren't any tables then, we call when they open at 10am since they hold some tables back for phone reservations."

Me: "How likely is it you'll have a table for me?"

Amex: "Very very likely. This shouldn't be any problem. We are very familiar with State Bird and make reservations there all the time. We'll let you know via email when we have your table reserved."

Fast forward 24 hours. My phone rings.

"Hi this is American Express Concierge services. Just letting you know that we weren't able to get you a table at State Bird Provisions. Is there another restaurant you would like us to recommend instead?"

Gee. Thanks. If I hadn't gotten the response that it was essentially a given that I'd be getting my table, I would have been online at 4am myself and at least tried. [swearing.gif]

And I am fine just showing up on the day we want to eat there and putting our name on the list. It's just the principle of the thing......
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#75 Post by Robert Dentice »

Todd - if you are looking for 60 days out. Email statebird and see if they can help. They are about as helpful and accommodating as they can be given the demand.

info@statebirdsf.com
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#76 Post by todd waldmann »

That's Robert. I'll give it a try.
“Burgundy is, well, Burgundy. A minefield of potential disappointments beloved by elitists and pseudo-intellectuals who like to discuss ad nauseam growers and terroirs—not quality.” RMP

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#77 Post by todd waldmann »

Well, THAT worked out well. After sending them an email, the response I got was that they were booked that evening but that I was welcome to check the website and/or call to check for cancellations. I was also invited to walk in that night.
“Burgundy is, well, Burgundy. A minefield of potential disappointments beloved by elitists and pseudo-intellectuals who like to discuss ad nauseam growers and terroirs—not quality.” RMP

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#78 Post by R Roberts »

Has anyone tried Ichido? I'm considering arranging a birthday dinner there, so hearing first hand experiences would be appreciated.
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#79 Post by Linda Baehr »

If you don't mind non-fancy, Mission Chinese is yummy.
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#80 Post by dteng »

Has anyone tried Monsieur Benjamin Bistro?
I never heard of it and have had a few people mentioned it.
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#81 Post by Robert Dentice »

dteng wrote:Has anyone tried Monsieur Benjamin Bistro?
I never heard of it and have had a few people mentioned it.
It is part of the Cory Lee empire. The Chef, Jason Berthold was the opening Chef at RN74 and prior to that the CdG at the French Laundry.

Very good if you are looking for a French inspired bistro.
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#82 Post by D. Wirsig »

So, anyone been to the Tartine Manufactory yet ?
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#83 Post by Alan Rath »

Last Sunday we got in line about 4:45 and grabbed seats at the bar at Rich Table. Great food, actually kept it under $100 (before tip) for two of us eating lightly, with a couple glasses of wine. They do an "off the menu" burger that is damn good, custom meat blend, cooked perfectly. I'd advise getting in line a little earlier to guaranty a seat.
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#84 Post by ERPark »

Alan Rath wrote:Last Sunday we got in line about 4:45 and grabbed seats at the bar at Rich Table. Great food, actually kept it under $100 (before tip) for two of us eating lightly, with a couple glasses of wine. They do an "off the menu" burger that is damn good, custom meat blend, cooked perfectly. I'd advise getting in line a little earlier to guaranty a seat.
In case anyone wanted to BYOB, here's my experience last year with Rich Table:

http://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/vie ... 22&t=23343
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#85 Post by Mike Wenzel »

dteng wrote:Has anyone tried Monsieur Benjamin Bistro?
I never heard of it and have had a few people mentioned it.
I've been. Did not like it at all. Other 2 people I was with thought it was ok.

I only tried once, so your mileage may vary. Lots of heavy french dishes if that's what your in the mood for.

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#86 Post by Joe Chanley »

went to boulevard (uninspiring but decent) and Akiko (excellent, super fresh) last week.

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#87 Post by CWun »

Alan Rath wrote:Last Sunday we got in line about 4:45 and grabbed seats at the bar at Rich Table. Great food, actually kept it under $100 (before tip) for two of us eating lightly, with a couple glasses of wine. They do an "off the menu" burger that is damn good, custom meat blend, cooked perfectly. I'd advise getting in line a little earlier to guaranty a seat.
Rich Table is my go-to restaurant in the city these days if I need to recommend a restaurant to someone visiting. Near work, suitable for pre-theater/symphony, can dress casual, or dress up. Fun cocktails. I find their small bites and pasta/app dishes better than their mains, but can't go wrong.

Eating early at the bar is a way to avoid the reservation dance, otherwise be prepared to make a res weeks ahead.
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#88 Post by M. Meer »

Any new bar recommendations? Staying near the Embarcadero. Thanks [cheers.gif]
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#89 Post by P. Willenberg »

M. Meer wrote:Any new bar recommendations? Staying near the Embarcadero. Thanks [cheers.gif]
wine? beer? Sake? Cocktails?
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#90 Post by Andrew Hall »

M. Meer wrote:Any new bar recommendations? Staying near the Embarcadero. Thanks [cheers.gif]
Pagan Idol (very close)
Whitechapel (not as close, but worth the Uber is you love gin)
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#91 Post by Robert Dentice »

P. Willenberg wrote:
M. Meer wrote:Any new bar recommendations? Staying near the Embarcadero. Thanks [cheers.gif]
wine? beer? Sake? Cocktails?
True Normand is close to the Embarcadero

http://www.trounormandsf.com/

If you like beer Mikkeller SF is amazing:

http://www.mikkellerbar.com/
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#92 Post by M. Meer »

P. Willenberg wrote:
wine? beer? Sake? Cocktails?
Yes :).
Appreciative of all the recs. We might hit up just about everything before the weekend is over, hehe
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#93 Post by M. Meer »

Whitechapel & Pagan Idol were hits.
Ended up also walking into the Progress, which has some great snacks & cocktails.
Our main event, Benu, was quite an indulgence, with several standout dishes. We're very happy with how the weekend turned out. Thanks again!
With Porter & Mackie; prime rib and kale
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#94 Post by Andrew Hall »

M. Meer wrote:Whitechapel & Pagan Idol were hits.
Nice! Glad you enjoyed them.
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#95 Post by todd waldmann »

Acquerello was great as usual- highlights were a carrot sformato with hazelnuts and prosciutto, nettle pasta with guinea hen ragu, and a very rich pasta with truffles, foie gras and marsala. Service was impeccable and we really enjoyed a '64 Pio Cesare Barolo off the list. This was our third time eating at Acquerello and has been consistently excellent.

Lunches at Z & Y Chinese restaurant and Kin Khao were both great (I want to go back to Kin Khao for dinner, as the lunch menu is a bit limited and there is more that needs to be tried). Dinner Friday was at Akiko's which was exactly what I want for sushi- simple, really fresh fish, unadorned. The '99 Nigl Riesling Privat and the '91 Hirtzberger Riesling Hochrain were both drinking really well, especially the Nigl, which is absolutely singing right now.

Saturday was the night we had orginally planned to eat at State Bird. With a decision to go to the opera instead at the last minute, we had an early dinner at Rich Table. It was incredibly enjoyable and the dishes were really inventive without seeming forced. The vibe and the food reminded me a great deal of Le Pigeon, our favorite Portland haunt.

All in all, it was a great weekend and a fun way to celebrate a landmark birthday. Now we just need to figure out when we're going back again....
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#96 Post by Leonard Maran »

Wow, my recent birthday dinner at Rich Table was a disaster.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS, VEGETABLE CREAM CHEESE, was good but too salty, and no match as compared to a similar dish at Ristorante Avanti in Santa Cruz.
We shared a pasta dish: CHITARRA, SEA URCHIN, SHISO, TEMPURA, APPLE. I had quizzed the waiter as to whether the house made pasta could be prepared al dente, and got a response in the affirmative. I had to tell my friend to stop eating. Stouffers Mac & Cheese is more al dente than this mush; I almost never send a dish back but I could not eat this. Service fell down here though another rendition did reappear and was slightly more toothsome, and I think a crispy piece was added., but it wasn't a satisfying dish anyway.Better~my brother Joe (Rest in Peace) used to ask for his "hard", or duro, and back then, what sounds extreme was actually a sensible request.
BLACK COD, CRISPY POTATO, FINGER LIME, TARTAR SAUCE, was outstanding in every way, Bravo.
I enjoyed the DOUGLAS FIR PIEROGIS, CHICORY, BROWN BUTTER though, I suspect for many it would be too heavy and rich.It was also young and loud. Dinner at State Bird Provisions~prose cannot convey
the experience here, though here is some of what we loved, with a 2007 Estate Dehlinger Pinot Noir: Hog Island Oyster with Spicy Kohlrabi Kraut and Sesame, Guinea Hen Dumpling with Aromatic Broth, Duck Liver Mousse with Almond Biscuit, California State Bird with Provisions (Wolfe Ranch Quail), Butternut Squash Mochi with Brussel Sprouts, Savory Oats & Black Truffle.
I had not Been to Delfina in quite a while and this visit was a revelation, in every conceivable way. Festive, absolutely brilliant fare. We started with Wood Oven Roasted Bone Marrow with Nebbiolo-Shallot Marmelata. I've had bone marrow recently but none such as this. Elegantly presented with micro greens, this was decadent but
also so generous that it made perfect sense to share. Best ever, we followed that up with Chitarra Integrale, with Romenesco, Anchovy, and Pecorino. A toothsome, perfectly al dente whole wheat pasta which was earthy and complex. Again, this was served in two wide warm bowls and was as much as we could eat; way complex. Our shared entree was an abundant platter: Berkshire Pork Saltimbocca with Prosciutto di Parma, and Anson Mills Polenta. Saltimbocca, in run of the mill Italian restaurants, can be a bore. This was served open faced (sage, natch) with a beautiful jus which I cannot describe. Soulful cooking of the highest order. I brought a bottle of 2001 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon which complemented, our dinner beautifully. A garnet color, the first sip had a finish that just didn't quit. A perfect bottle, never heavy, rather, ephemeral with soft tannins and lovely fruit and acidity.

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#97 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum »

We also had a less than impressive meal at Rich Table. One dish way overdone (so much so that it was recognized at burned by the server and taken off the menu), the uni pasta so heavy on the raw garlic it was painful in the mouth (and we like garlic!), the sauce on the pasta Fra Diavolo way too sweet, a dish of well cooked halibut also overwhelmed by a sticky-sweet sauce. Overall, a real disappointment. Will not be going back.

State Bird was great as always. Well, maybe not quite as great as some visits there have been, but still great. So many good dishes, a fun vibe, friendly service - it's a treat to dine there.
Sort of ITB - my husband imports a small amount of sake and I help out

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#98 Post by todd waldmann »

Sorry your experience at Rich Table was disappointing, Sarah. We had delicious food there, though our meal was limited to the sardine chips, a hamachi/foie gras small plate and a beef/sunchoke pasta dish (which was slightly oversalted to my palate, but still very tasty. It sounds like the operative word at the moment would be "inconsistency". Are you still in San Francisco? If so, maybe you'll share your other experiences here....
“Burgundy is, well, Burgundy. A minefield of potential disappointments beloved by elitists and pseudo-intellectuals who like to discuss ad nauseam growers and terroirs—not quality.” RMP

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#99 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum »

Just a quick business trip, two nights only, so Rich Table and state bird were it.
Sort of ITB - my husband imports a small amount of sake and I help out

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#100 Post by dteng »

Wacky.
Was at Rich Table few weeks ago and had a great meal at the dinner bar.
Dan

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