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Sure, but it's not his type of food or I would have already done it.

He wanted to go to Gary Danko and the result of that trip is on the GD thread.

He wasn't a fan of Kin Khao.  Too spicy and the black rice pudding dessert weirded him out.

Which reminds me, I need to return for lunch soon.  I was all set to go today but I forgot to bring my camera this morning.  Drat.

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After enduring a nearly hour wait, we satiated ourselves with some Korean BBQ last night and we're making plans to return.

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Banchan.

Clockwise from bottom center: cabbage kimchi; sesame oil; shredded potatoes; quick cucumber pickle; mung bean sprouts; daikon radish kimchi; dish with sesame oil; seaweed salad; another type of kimchi I wasn't able to identify; squid and Asian pear kimchi; lettuce leaves; mountain yam with chile paste and sesame oil; fermented bean paste.

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Pork belly.

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Left: shrimp with vegetables.
Right: boneless short ribs.

Han II Kwan
1802 Balboa Street (19th Avenue)
Outer Richmond

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Michael Bauer says that Plaj is a "focused" restaurant of interest for folks who like Scandinavian food with a California sensibility.  He gave it 2 1/2 stars.  I hadn't checked to see if he had reviewed it prior to going.  I wonder if I'm being unrealistic in my expectations.  I've heard so much about San Francisco being a foodie wonderland over the years...and now that I live here, it's been one disappointment after another.

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Freshly baked bread, sweet butter, leek "dust", Maldon sea salt.

For $3.  Since when did restaurants start charging for bread and butter?

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Smoked fish croquettes, horseradish cream, smoked trout roe.

B remarked that there was too much sauce.  The croquettes were average.

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Whitefish roe, miniature potato pancakes, anchovies, sour cream, red onion, herbs.

The menu sounded better than the actual plate. Think I ordered wrong.

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Lamb shoulder, fava beans, green peas, potato, nettles, horseradish foam.

Didn't foam stop being a thing five years ago?

It was alright although there were (1) too many potatoes and (2) the sauce was on the edge of being too salty. Remember: if you can taste it, it's too much.

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Cardamom bun, almond cream.

Sounded good on paper and it tasted like nothing, literally.

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Chocolate cake, blueberry ice cream, creme anglaise.

What cardamom was supposed to be in the bun ended up in the blueberry ice cream.

Oh well, $158 (with tax and 20% tip) down the drain. We won't be back, for sure.

Plaj
333 Fulton Street (Gough Street)
Civic Center

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The other thing that I forgot to mention that really ticked us off was the fact that from the moment we sat down to when we left, FOH staff kept upselling and they were not subtle.

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Beef tartare with Dijon mustard, shallots, quail egg and toast points.

A very good rendition.

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Lamb and vegetable brochettes, with couscous and mint coulis.

If there was mint coulis, I didn't taste any.  Couscous was buttered and lovely; the brochettes were "all right".  Way too much sauce which needed a touch of salt.

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Eggs Benedict, side salad

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Cinnamon pain perdu, mixed berries, chantilly cream.

I'd go back just for the dessert alone.

Chez Maman
401 Gough Street (Hayes Street)
Hayes Valley

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On 1/25/2017 at 0:45 AM, DIShGo said:

I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly 25 years, and just this week tried my first "It's-It Ice Cream Sandwich. I am now kicking myself for waiting this long. These delectable desserts--ice cream sandwiched between two oatmeal cookies and dipped in dark chocolate--are readily available everywhere around here, and there is even an "It's-It" outlet in Suisun City, about a ten-minute drive from my house. If you are in the Bay Area, don't hesitate to pick up a box of "It's-It." If you love them, you can even have them shipped to you.

A few summers ago I had two cases of It's-It shipped to me here in Maryland. Stuffed my auxiliary freezer with them. Was very popular with my friends for the next few months.

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On 8/20/2017 at 4:57 PM, porcupine said:

A few summers ago I had two cases of It's-It shipped to me here in Maryland. Stuffed my auxiliary freezer with them. Was very popular with my friends for the next few months.

The green tea flavor (new as of this year) is dangerously good.

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We had brunch at one of our favorite dim sum palaces which unfortunately will soon be torn down and converted to a real estate development.

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New Asia Restaurant
772 Pacific Avenue (Stockton Street)
Chinatown

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Much better Friday night date night dinner at one of our local tapas places.

It's not Casa Mono nor does it approach the quality of Toro in NYC. And you can have better in San Francisco; Esperpento comes immediately to mind. Having said that, the food is ok and since B and I are cheap dates, Beso served its purpose. Also, remember what I said elsewhere about the quality of restaurants in the Castro. I suppose I'll have to give the place another shot. We liked it this visit unlike last time where someone in the kitchen was heavy-handed with the salt.

Apologies for the blurriness of some of the photos.

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Watermelon gazpacho with cucumber and tomato.

Not a bad rendition, although I prefer a traditional version made in a clay bowl. What fruit there was, was an underlying flavor that wasn't overwhelming.

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Seared marinated beef skewers, toasted bread, salsa verde.

Beef was a bit on the chewy side and not much marinade flavor; was otherwise nothing to write home about. Pickled onions saved it from being utterly boring.

For $10 BTW.

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Roasted wild mushrooms, rosemary Manchego cheese.

This was amazing and I'm going to try duplicating it for brunch tomorrow.

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Gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp) with toast points.

Shrimp was a tad overcooked; otherwise very good. The only way to beat Beso's is by making your own.

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Seared fresh chorizo, sunchoke purée, spinach, pickled red onion, garlic chips, red wine reduction.

We thought this was a plate that suffered from "kitchen sink syndrome" and it shows. Also, sunchokes don't exactly inspire. It's the middle of Indian summer in San Francisco. Why isn't the kitchen using produce that reflects the season?

 

Beso
4058 18th Street (Castro Street)

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19 minutes ago, TrelayneNYC said:

We thought this was a plate that suffered from "kitchen sink syndrome" and it shows. Also, sunchokes don't exactly inspire. It's the middle of Indian summer in San Francisco. Why isn't the kitchen using produce that reflects the season?

You know what? I speed-scrolled down your post - I still haven't read it as carefully as I will - and my first impression was that "these are pictures of muddled food." Without looking at any picture longer than 1/4-second, I could take a pretty good guess that the cuisine was problematic, having no clarity at all.

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4 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

You know what? I speed-scrolled down your post - I still haven't read it as carefully as I will - and my first impression was that "these are pictures of muddled food." Without looking at any picture longer than 1/4-second, I could take a pretty good guess that the cuisine was problematic, having no clarity at all.

They're supposed to be tapas.

Only one of those pictures is a traditional tapa. Guess which one correctly and you win a Snickers bar. ;)

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5 minutes ago, TrelayneNYC said:

They're supposed to be tapas.

Only one of those pictures is a traditional tapa. Guess which one correctly and you win a Snickers bar. ;)

I went from bottom-to-top, and at first I thought Chorizo, but then I saw the Gambas al Ajillo.

---

BTW, I didn't read your text when I wrote that; just looked at the pictures. I'll read this in depth tomorrow, but this restaurant, whatever it is, wherever it is, repels me.

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7 minutes ago, TrelayneNYC said:

Bingo!

I've seen this in DC served in a ceramic plate, rather than in the cast-iron bowl it was (or should have been) baked in. This happens more often than you might care to imagine.

Welp, at least you had plenty of liquid in which to douse your bread. 

That chorizo looks good, btw, and I'd *much* rather see a small portion of *just* the chorizo, maybe on top of some crema or something, if they feel the need to gussy it up.

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I thought Toro in NYC was much better.

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Jamon de la Quercia

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Shishito peppers, olive oil, Maldon sea salt

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Quail with almonds, green olives, spring peas, Meyer lemon

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Mushrooms, fiddlehead ferns, farm egg

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Cuttlefish and orzo risotto, with squid ink, goat cheese and ham

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Galician octopus, with charred onions and crispy potatoes

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Cauliflower and kohlrabi with pine nuts, raisins, anchovy and pimenton de la vera

This was a bit salty IIRC.

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Seafood stew with lobster, sea urchin and parsnip

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Smoked duck drumettes with an apricot-mustard glaze

The kitchen comped us this one. It was my least favorite of all of the above: dry and boring.

Out of all of those, only three four are tapas that I could see being served in Spain.

The other difference between Beso and Toro - at least in my admittedly limited experience - is that the ingredients make sense.

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B and I had our weekly date night Friday night - first at a kind of an "upscale diner", then at a performance of Hamlet at the American Conservatory Theater. I found out later that the SF Chronicle had rated it a 3 out of 5 which was in line with our assessment afterwards. Some great soliloquies but overall quite lacking in the passion department.

Oh, but you're here for the food pix.

Daily Grill
347 Geary (Powell Street)
Union Square

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Crab cake, beurre blanc.

For $17. Mostly lump meat crab, very little filler. Next time I'll make my own.

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Gazpacho.

A mediocre version - the green thing you see in there is avocado. I'm not picky about what we eat AS LONG AS IT'S MADE CORRECTLY.

If it's not made correctly, why is it on the menu?

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Meatloaf and creamed spinach.

Very good. We should have stuck with this instead but I was starving by the time we got to the restaurant. And speaking of which, now I have a craving for meatloaf so maybe that will be for dinner sometime this week.

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Worst strawberry shortcake ever. B tried to steer me to the key lime pie or banana cream pie instead but unfortunately my eyes had different ideas. I guess I ordered wrong.

Oh well, strike another restaurant off the list.

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We went to Prospect for dinner on Saturday.

Prospect
300 Spear Street (Folsom Street)
Embarcadero

http://www.prospectsf.com/

I want to say that we loved it. Well, it's probably more accurate to say that my partner likes it. It was just "ok" for me. We might return for lunch, but I think there are better in SF.

Thoughts and impressions:

* When you come by within literally 1 minute after your guests are seated and ask them if they want anything to drink (other than water), WE HAVEN'T HAD TIME TO LOOK AT THE MENU OR THE WINE LIST!!! And then, you compound that by vanishing into the ether and not coming by to take our orders for 10 more minutes.

* I had heard of restaurants not giving out bread and butter as you would normally expect them to do. We had to eventually ask for some. Always an adventure dining out in San Francisco.

* Would someone please tell FOH staff everywhere that reciting specials without telling your guests how much they cost is a turn-off? It makes you seem uninformed and disorganized.

* A girl sitting at the table next to us managed to break the glassware within 5 minutes of being seated. That's a first, at least for me.

* Prospect is another restaurant that has minimal sound absorption. True, there is a carpet on the floor which does absorb some noise, but when you couple that with plentiful wooden surfaces, square tables with no tablecloths, wooden benches with suede cushions, etc., the result is that it can be impossible to carry on a conversation without shouting. The room emptied out about two-thirds of the way through our dinner after which the difference in loudness was quite noticeable.

We paid $260 for the pleasure of dining there (includes a 20% tip). At least the food was ok and saved the evening.

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Seared sea scallops, smoked clams, celtuce purée, chowder broth.

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Foie gras, pear butter, Bartlett pear, black sesame brioche.

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Berkshire pork chop, cacio e pepe potatoes, broccoli di cicco.

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Halibut, brown butter cauliflower, chard, grapes.

I'm reminded of "the parade of brown food" which is a line from Ruth Reichl's review of Le Cirque back in the mid-1990s, and is equally applicable here.

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Lemon sour cream pie, caramel sauce.

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Almond frangipane cake, burrata ice cream, corn flakes, blackberries.

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Scenes from this weekend:

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Enchiladas con mole de pollo - sauce of chiles, chocolate, nuts, shredded chicken, tortillas, onion and queso fresco.

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Tacos de carnitas - two tacos of braised pork, orange, bay leaf, milk, cinnamon, beer, jalapeño, onion, cilantro and tomatillo salsa.

Nopalito
306 Broderick Street (Oak Street)

http://www.nopalitosf.com/

 

 

 

 

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We had brunch earlier today to make up for a disastrous dinner last night at a local Vietnamese place in the Castro (Jasmine Garden, (708 14th Street (Church Street)). The waitstaff didn't hear that I had ordered chicken pho even though I repeated my order a few times. As a result, I never received my entree. The steamed bass that B ordered was somehow mixed in with glass noodles and a thick cloying sauce. Strike another local place off our list which we won't be returning to anytime soon.

Brunch was much better, in spades.

Monsieur Benjamin
451 Gough Street (Ivy Street)

http://www.monsieurbenjamin.com/

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It's a beautiful glass enclosed space with an open kitchen, a marble counter, one communal table, several two- and four-tops and an outdoor seating area.

The room can get loud. At the time we were there, it was half-full and eventually became three quarters-full. Lots of wooden surfaces, glass surfaces, hard edges and square corners mean that there's no sound absorption. You can hear your partner if he or she is sitting next to you but you might have to speak louder than normal in order to make yourself heard by the staff.

That is a valid criticism that we have, so take it for what it's worth.

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Butter lettuce salad with fines herbes and radishes.

Very lightly dressed. B loved it, even with the minute amounts of tarragon that were present in the vinaigrette.

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Fried frogs' legs en aigre doux, with garlic and lemon.

Expertly fried, and greaseless. Great attention to detail.

It made me sit up and take notice - this is a place we should return to, for dinner.

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Oeufs en meurette (eggs poached in red wine), with duck confit, spinach, mushrooms, potatoes and sauce au poivre.

Well-made, although the sauce was a tad oversalted.

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Tarte au chocolat, mint sherbet, shortbread cookie.

Was perfect. Can't say much more than that.

Total bill came out to $114 ($57 per person). The restaurant adds a 20% surcharge which replaces the need to add a tip.

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