Eating and Drinking in San Francisco

Smuggler’s Cove, 650 Gough St

That works! Thank you.

It looks like we will hit the Farmers Market @ the Ferry Plaza on Tuesday. In reading older threads it appears Slanted Door has significantly declined from our last trip in 2007. Any recommendations for lunch near the Ferry Plaza on Tuesday and pretty much anywhere remotely near Japantown on Wednesday? 1 spot with great dungeness crab and/or cioppino would be a bonus.

I just penciled in PABU for Tuesday. Saigon Sandwich looks good for Wednesday, but doesn’t scratch the dungeness/cioppino itch.

“It looks like we will hit the Farmers Market @ the Ferry Plaza on Tuesday. In reading older threads it appears Slanted Door has significantly declined from our last trip in 2007. Any recommendations for lunch near the Ferry Plaza on Tuesday and pretty much anywhere remotely near Japantown on Wednesday? 1 spot with great dungeness crab and/or cioppino would be a bonus.”

No local dungeness crab so far this year because State cancelled harvesting due to health hazards (caused by climate change).

Boxing Room is supposed to be New Orleans fare, not typically Southern, and like most out here, fails. Chez Maman is fine but I don’t know why anyone out of town would go there. Ditto for Arlequin unless it’s fine weather, as the backyard is special.
As for the Embarcadero certainly head to La Mar or Coqueta.

I’ve got a short (one night + red eye flight) 2 dinners trip later this week and have Commis and Atelier Crenn booked. Haven’t been to either. Any recent visits?

Was at Crenn in December and, while not my best meal there ever, it was an absolute delight. The wine list is struggling a bit, I think, but I managed to drink reasonably well without spending a fortune. It remains my favorite high-end restaurant in this country.

One heck of an endorsement and I’m really looking forward to Crenn. So many great options in the Bay Area and a few that I would love to get back to, but also places like these I’d like to try for the first time. I’m not so worried about the wine list as I’ll be dining solo; for whatever reason for me that means the food needs to star.

I hope you enjoy it. I don’t think it’s going to appeal to everyone, particularly the I-need-a-big-piece-of-meat crowd. But I do think Dominique is brilliant and she has a deft hand with texture and packing flavor into beautiful, seemingly simple packages that are actually deeply complex. I don’t like heavy meals, and realize that skews my preferences in this direction. But I also have a large appetite and I have never left there wanting a pizza. I was also there solo on my last visit, and it didn’t impede my enjoyment at all. Please report back!

A friend invited me to the Ritz Carlton restaurant. The meal was slightly inconsistent in its execution, but at its best, the dishes were the most interesting of the trip.

Sadly that ended up not being the focus of the meal, as some morons brought in their three year old who spent of the meal running round, and screaming at the top of his lungs. It got to the point when it became so disruptive, my friend asked them to control the child, and the wife threatened to hit him, and the husband screamed “it’s a public place, we can do what we want.” We ended moving to the lounge.

The staff was in a really awkward position; they tried everything they could short of throwing the family out (they were hotel guests) and the child finally quieted down.

Will be in the bay area for the day this Friday. Any particular recommendations for lunch in either San Francisco or Berkeley? Thinking more western cuisine rather than Thai (which I adore) or sushi. A nice and/or eclectic wine list is a big plus.

Much appreciated.

No nice wine list but I’d do lunch at Swan’s Oyster Depot for lunch on a weekday.

If you’re in Berkeley you’ve got the cafe at Chez Panisse. Sort of a pilgrimage spot and it fits your description well. Dopo is also open for Lunch. Tons of options in SF, of course. A16 (haven’t been there in a couple of years), RN74 is open for lunch, Swan, dim sum options, wander the Ferry Plaza Building…

Tons of lunch options in SF. Most places are open for lunch in fact. I was there two weeks ago and had great lunches at Aquitaine (newish French wine bistro focused on Southwestern French wine and cuisine – think Cassoulet), Barbacco (together with Perbacco next door, my favorite lunch spot in the City), Wayfare Tavern, and Piperade (truly fantastic Basque place with great wine list).

I personally dislike Swan Oyster Depot. Ever since Anthony Bourdain went there, it’s a line of tourists down the street, and the hype kind of diminishes the whole ethos of the place, which is supposed to be “nothing fancy.”

Checked out the menus of Barbacco and Piperade Jay, these look really interesting. The wine list for Piperade looks intriguing too, particularly since I love Txakolina and enjoyed the one bottle Irouleguy I’ve had (Illaria). …but of those items on Barbacco look fantastic.

Having eaten at Swan Oyster Depot a number of times before Bourdain dined there, I can confirm there were always lines to get in for most of the day. It’s just too tiny, and too many locals and tourists were already aware of it before Roland Passot took Bourdain there.

Seafod is really good @ SOD, but the tariff is steep…

I really enjoyed Crenn. No single mind-blowing dish, but a very thoughtful progression of courses that really highlight her technical and compositional skills. Pretty liberal and visible use of high-priced ingredients (caviar, abalone, truffle); I’m not sure whether this drives the cost or is intended to justify it. I’d certainly go back.

I almost always avoid high-priced wine pairings because I so rarely find value there (IIRC Crenn’s is $200-300). I ended up joining up with a friend for dinner, so we BYO’ed, but if the bottles on the table were reflective of the pairings ('94 LdH Tondonia, Egon Muller) then I might go that direction on another visit.

I liked Commis quite a bit too, and at ~$200 with (very well done) pairings found it a pretty solid deal for high-level dining. Definitely less technical than Crenn, but well executed.

If I look at top places in the U.S. there’s a pretty clear signature, almost by definition (i.e., to be differentiated as a top place you have to be doing something singular at a high level). If served a meal blind from Saison, Minibar or E, Willows, Alinea, some NY places, or even Keller’s restaurants, I think I could figure it out. Crenn has that, Commis doesn’t.

Barbacco if looking for a lower price point, Perbacco is a clear step or two up. They share a common kitchen.

Just back from a quick San Francisco trip:

State Bird was awesome as usual

Commonwealth - Outstanding, really blew my mind, my best meal there by far. Chef Fox was not in the kitchen. I don’t know who was in the kitchen although our server mentioned he worked at Atelier Crenn. Can’t wait to go back!

Mikkeller San Francisco - I did not know the place existed and its been open for two years. Beautiful design and awesome tap and bottle list,

they are opening a mikeller bar a few blocks from my office in DTLA. Supposed to be 7500+sq ft. Late 2016. Looking forward to it

Mikkeller is fun but SF has so many great local beer options.