San Francisco one nice dinner

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Ethan Abraham
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San Francisco one nice dinner

#1 Post by Ethan Abraham » October 9th, 2015, 5:35 pm

Looking for one nice dinner for our upcoming trip.

We are staying in Outer Sunset so prefer something in Mission/Haight/etc as opposed to SoMa/FInancial District/etc.

Pricey is fine but no prepaid type of place (ie not Saison) - need a 24 hour or less cancellation policy in case our plans change.

Just looking at Eater, etc, a few options that came up were Rich Table, Foreign Cinema, or SPQR.

Thanks in advance.

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#2 Post by dteng » October 9th, 2015, 6:00 pm

Rich Table is great.
Perbacco also excellent but downtown.
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#3 Post by ERPark » October 9th, 2015, 6:22 pm

Agreed that Rich Table is a fine choice. Unless things have changed in the past several months, they will waive corkage on a bottle for every bottle you purchase off their list. Here's my short review of them:

http://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/vie ... 22&t=23343
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#4 Post by John Flanagan » October 9th, 2015, 7:58 pm

I had a fantastic, custom dinner at Rich Table for a friend's birthday. Foreign Cinema is also great. Pasta tasting at SPQR is wonderful. Pick based on what you like from the online menus; you can't go wrong with these three choices.

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#5 Post by Ethan Abraham » October 10th, 2015, 1:34 pm

Thanks, Rich Table sounds like the choice. If any other good choices let me know, didn't mean to limit it to the ones from eater.

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#6 Post by Glenn L e v i n e » October 10th, 2015, 1:39 pm

First don't miss Outerlands as it is actually in your neighborhood. If you're willing to schlep to Rich Table consider La Ciccia.
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#7 Post by Ed Kurtzman » October 10th, 2015, 8:25 pm

Another vote for Foreign Cinema or Glenn's recommendation of La Ciccia. Both are amazing restaurants, and I've been to F.C. with Glenn. I've never tried Rich, SPQR nor Outerlands.

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#8 Post by Ethan Abraham » October 11th, 2015, 1:17 pm

Glenn L e v i n e wrote:First don't miss Outerlands as it is actually in your neighborhood. If you're willing to schlep to Rich Table consider La Ciccia.
Oh, don't worry, already have two reservations for Outerlands (it's 2 blocks from where we're staying). I was actually thinking of going to La Ciccia for an early dinner with our daughter one night as it seemed like a more family-friendly place, would that be accurate?

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#9 Post by George Hejna » October 11th, 2015, 2:38 pm

Really enjoyed Benu. Quince was bad. Meadowood was absolutely amazing definitely worth the hike.

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#10 Post by Leonard Maran » October 15th, 2015, 6:51 pm

I'd need to hear more than "Quince was bad".

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#11 Post by Jay T. » October 15th, 2015, 10:33 pm

You might try Aziza. It's in the Richmond (closer to the Outer Sunset than any other place anyone is going to recommend for a nice dinner) and it's a pretty special place. It's Moroccan meets California. It has a Michelin star. Cozy.

If you want the Mission, I'd choose Bar Tartine over Foreign Cinema (or Range, Delfina, Flour & Water, etc.). It has an Eastern European (specifically Hungarian) influence.

La Ciccia is actually probably closer and easier for you to get to/park. Very homey (not elegant at all) but I love it. Sardinian.

If I remember correctly, you're from New York. If it were me, I'd want to eat somewhere that has food I couldn't find in New York. While I like Rich Table, I think it will remind you of literally dozens of places that have opened in New York in the past 5 years. Same goes for Foreign Cinema in a slightly older paradigm. I don't think you will find it particularly special. SPQR is fantastic pasta, but again, probably not something you couldn't find at home.

Oh, and for that other guy, Quince is in close competition with Saison for best restaurant in city. And it's my favorite fancy place in the city, hands down. Meadowood is literally 75 miles away, so I'm not sure it's a great recommendation for someone wanting something convenient to the Outer Sunset.
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#12 Post by David Kaufman » October 16th, 2015, 8:01 pm

+1 for La Cicca

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#13 Post by Robert Pollard-Smith » November 28th, 2015, 8:44 am

Perbacco last night-- the four of us were rocked. Great food, service and sommelier. Came up with a recommendation below the range I had given her, and it could not have been more perfect.

Two courses each, and we were so stuffed that we could only split their amazing burnt caramel gelato.
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#14 Post by james l moleberg » November 29th, 2015, 7:10 am

Chapeau! Great restaurant. Very interesting wine list. Close to where you are staying. You won't be disappointed. Probably most underrated restaurant in SF.

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#15 Post by Jay T. » November 29th, 2015, 8:35 am

I like the Chapeau recommendation. Great restaurant. Totally ignored by the trendsetters/twitter crowd.
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#16 Post by George Hejna » December 1st, 2015, 8:02 am

Leonard Maran wrote:I'd need to hear more than "Quince was bad".
The food was just OK. One dish under temp another over salted. Not a huge deal and probably could be overlooked. The kicker came when my dining companion who was diabetic asked for something for dessert that was slightly less sweet. The server did not know he was diabetic and the first answer was no we don't substitute dessert on the tasting menu. My friend is pretty modest, I am not and I intervened saying that he is diabetic and it would be a better option for him if there was less sugar in his dessert. The answer was still no. They did offer the cheese plate supplement for IIRC $35, I asked if maybe we could just get a slice or 2 of cheese instead of the regular dessert and again the answer was no, he will have to eat what was on the menu. My friend ended up having just a cup of coffee and the server asked if he would like sugar with it? pileon A letter was written to quince afterwards expressing disappointment with the restaurant's refusal to work with a diner with an obvious health issue. There was no response.

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#17 Post by Glenn L e v i n e » December 1st, 2015, 8:48 am

No reply to me is the kiss of death for a commercial entity. I'd rather be told why my expectations were unreasonable.
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#18 Post by Bruce Leiser_owitz » December 1st, 2015, 8:54 am

George Hejna wrote:
Leonard Maran wrote:I'd need to hear more than "Quince was bad".
The food was just OK. One dish under temp another over salted. Not a huge deal and probably could be overlooked. The kicker came when my dining companion who was diabetic asked for something for dessert that was slightly less sweet. The server did not know he was diabetic and the first answer was no we don't substitute dessert on the tasting menu. My friend is pretty modest, I am not and I intervened saying that he is diabetic and it would be a better option for him if there was less sugar in his dessert. The answer was still no. They did offer the cheese plate supplement for IIRC $35, I asked if maybe we could just get a slice or 2 of cheese instead of the regular dessert and again the answer was no, he will have to eat what was on the menu. My friend ended up having just a cup of coffee and the server asked if he would like sugar with it? pileon A letter was written to quince afterwards expressing disappointment with the restaurant's refusal to work with a diner with an obvious health issue. There was no response.

George
Sounds like a problem both with the server and the restaurant's attitude.

Having said that, if I had someone in my party who had an issue like diabetes, and if we were going to a restaurant with a set tasting menu, I would probably address the issue with the restaurant BEFORE going there. Most restaurants are willing to work with you on issues like food allergies or health issues. If they aren't, then I would avoid the restaurant in the first place.

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#19 Post by George Hejna » December 1st, 2015, 9:27 am

Bruce - I agree. I would add that I have dined with my friend many times all over the country. He never makes demands on the kitchen and is excellent at managing his disease so he doesn't have to change set menus. There were no other changes to the menu that were requested. The dinner was obviously very rich and he was fine with that. If I wasn't there he probably would just have not eaten the dessert and said nothing. He really just wanted a piece of cheese. The fact was there was no effort made what so ever to try to attempt even a minor change. That was what was frustrating. I would expect at least some effort from a Michelin 2 star.

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#20 Post by Alan Rath » December 1st, 2015, 11:38 am

Glenn L e v i n e wrote:No reply to me is the kiss of death for a commercial entity. I'd rather be told why my expectations were unreasonable.
Agree. But it should never have come to needing a reply. For what you're paying to eat at Quince these days, it's hard to imagine they couldn't manage a substitution for dessert, even on short notice. Jeez, any of us doing dinner in our homes for guests would have accommodated this without blinking an eye.
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#21 Post by Merrill Lindquist » December 1st, 2015, 7:59 pm

I can't believe anyone likes Meadowood. As a longtime member, I get 10% off the check, free corkage for unlimited bottles, and I still choose not to dine there. Please share what you like about it. It is, admittedly, perhaps the most beautiful dining room in our Valley. But....
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#22 Post by Evan Pontoriero » December 1st, 2015, 8:03 pm

I'll third Chapeau. I love when chef comes out and mingles/pours wine. Combo of haute and brasserie. Very filling 3 course.
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#23 Post by ybarselah » December 1st, 2015, 8:54 pm

Atelier Crenn. Cannot imagine going to SF and not eating there for a nice meal.

Love rich table, but it's super casual.
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#24 Post by David Walker » December 2nd, 2015, 5:56 am

Robert Pollard-Smith wrote:Perbacco last night-- the four of us were rocked. Great food, service and sommelier. Came up with a recommendation below the range I had given her, and it could not have been more perfect.

Two courses each, and we were so stuffed that we could only split their amazing burnt caramel gelato.
Nice to see Perbacco still hitting on all cylinders. I was last there several years ago and thought it was incredible.

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#25 Post by George Hejna » December 2nd, 2015, 6:31 am

Merrill Lindquist wrote:I can't believe anyone likes Meadowood. As a longtime member, I get 10% off the check, free corkage for unlimited bottles, and I still choose not to dine there. Please share what you like about it. It is, admittedly, perhaps the most beautiful dining room in our Valley. But....
Ate there for the first time in August. Probably one of the best meals I have had in the United States. Each course was perfectly presented, the intensity of the flavors was outstanding but always in balance. The use of seasonal/fresh ingredients from their garden, the inventiveness of the dishes without being over the top, the service, the wine list (although it is expensive) the ability to bring our own wines, the room, the atmosphere, the view...... Amazing place.

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#26 Post by Bruce Leiser_owitz » December 2nd, 2015, 8:56 am

George Hejna wrote:Bruce - I agree. I would add that I have dined with my friend many times all over the country. He never makes demands on the kitchen and is excellent at managing his disease so he doesn't have to change set menus. There were no other changes to the menu that were requested. The dinner was obviously very rich and he was fine with that. If I wasn't there he probably would just have not eaten the dessert and said nothing. He really just wanted a piece of cheese. The fact was there was no effort made what so ever to try to attempt even a minor change. That was what was frustrating. I would expect at least some effort from a Michelin 2 star.

George
George--This is why I tend to be leery of set tasting menus at some restaurants. Some restaurants are very reasonable/understanding/flexible, and will work with you if you have dietary issues (or just can't stand certain kinds of food). Other places treat their tasting menus as something engraved in stone and brought down from a mountain top by the chef in consultation with his/her favorite deity; they refuse to accept even the most obvious/reasonable accommodations to diners' needs. It sounds as if Quince is more in the latter category, from your experience.

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#27 Post by John Davis » December 2nd, 2015, 9:14 am

ybarselah wrote:Atelier Crenn. Cannot imagine going to SF and not eating there for a nice meal.

.
Same here.... Love that place.

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#28 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 2nd, 2015, 9:36 am

ybarselah wrote:Atelier Crenn. Cannot imagine going to SF and not eating there for a nice meal.

Love rich table, but it's super casual.
My favorite high-end restaurant in the country. I will be in San Francisco next week for business, not entertaining clients, and am going one night by myself, as none of my SF friends like to eat at that level.
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#29 Post by Evan Pontoriero » December 3rd, 2015, 12:04 pm

Had a fantastic dinner at AQ about 6 months ago. Service was OOC. Well oiled and smooth. Creative and delicious. A bit on the pricey side though. I'm missing Baker and Banker. Don't forget La Folie. Best meal last year for me.
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#30 Post by Sean Moore » December 4th, 2015, 10:56 am


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#31 Post by Jay T. » December 4th, 2015, 10:21 pm

Merrill Lindquist wrote:I can't believe anyone likes Meadowood. As a longtime member, I get 10% off the check, free corkage for unlimited bottles, and I still choose not to dine there. Please share what you like about it. It is, admittedly, perhaps the most beautiful dining room in our Valley. But....
You're joking, right? I mean, I can believe that someone doesn't like Meadowood. But I can't believe that there is anyone out there who has ever been to Meadowood who can't at least understand how others could like it, even if she does not. Start with your recognition that its beautiful. Next step: acknowledge that techniques are being employed there that require a tremendous amount of skill (both cooking and presentation). Take another step: one or more dishes served every night is unlike anything you can get anywhere else. Finally: consider that both professional reviewers and the vast majority of people who have dined there have concluded that it is one of the finest restaurants in the world.

If you've taken those steps with me, might you reconsider your disbelief and perhaps just explain why you don't like it?
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#32 Post by Fred Daniels » December 5th, 2015, 11:19 pm

Both of the issues mentioned here, about Quince and Meadowood, seem in line with a growing trend of resistance to high end establishments. As prices escalated (I figure real "middle class goods" inflation at about 7% annuallyfor the last 15-20 years) the day gets closer that we'll stop and say "What exactly am I getting for my $1000 dinner for two?". Every chef wants to be Thomas Keller, and every wine buyer a Raj Parr. Nobody serves anymore, and the customer is no longer king. Culinary Academies have turned the restaurant business into a game of sucking the most money out of customers (how to position items on the menu, offer "special" amuse bouche at $5-10 a pop, use cheap ingredients and doll them up, then charge extra for "truffles" or Foie Gras), winemakers have pushed the prices up so high that at a restaurant Opus One is $495, and waiters don't even have to bring you your food anymore (they have runners). You add surcharges, tax and sometimes mandatory tips, and the hangovers are now caused by the bill rather than ingesting alcohol.

This is out of control, and nobody is calling them on it.

So no, when you go to Quince or any other restaurant of that caliber, you are but a supplicant there to receive for a few brief moments a glimpse of their artistry which, as you know, is always in the control of the artist. Asking to change the tasting menu is like adding a few dabs of red on that Matisse in the Modern. It also mucks with their pricing model. It is simply not allowed. Unless one pays enough extra money.

*OK this is a rant. There are plenty of good restaurants that offer value for money. I'd say Boulevard (and it's wonderful wine list pricing, check it out) in SF is at the forefront of a new trend. But for now it is too easy to fall into the money pit when looking at fine dining. This was not always the case, and I'm sad to see the service oriented restaurants of yesteryear fall away in history.
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