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Kibbee Nayee

John's Grill (1908-), Historic Venue for Steaks and Seafood at Union Square

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On 2/24/2017 at 10:45 AM, dracisk said:

John's Grill was established in 1908 according to their website. My husband and I wandered in there once. We may have just had drinks.

John's Grill is a pretty good restaurant. The bar is small, and so is the rest of the place, but scoring a seat and settling in is one of the better ways to enjoy a feeling of old San Francisco.

First, let's get some history out of the way. It was the backdrop of The Maltese Falcon, and its walls are covered by celebrity pictures of those who dined here over the past 110 years or so. Think of a place where the Postal Service rolled out its commemorative Humphrey Bogart stamp here, with Arnold Schwarzenegger joining a rendition of "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" at the ceremony.

I've eaten (and drank) at John's on every one of my annual visits over the years, and the food is quite good. This isn't fine-dining, but for those of us from the Washington DC area who enjoy the The Monocle on Capitol Hill, Martin's Tavern, Old Ebbitt Grill, or the Occidental Grill, it's somewhere in between all of these sorts of time-worn establishments. I've had an absolutely perfectly executed Negroni at the bar, and I've enjoyed some truly great Cioppino in the dining room. This is also a good restaurant for steaks and burgers, at a good price. And a club sandwich for lunch one day was worth ordering again, as was the perfect side of fries, hot out of the fryer.

I'll continue to frequent John's whenever I'm in town. The ongoing subway construction is an impediment, but if you're on foot, it's not much of a problem.

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In town again this year, I took a few friends to John's. It was quite a nice night of drinking and dining.

My highlight this year was the ribeye steak, seared on the outside and rare on the inside, and actually tasting like beef. At $38, which included the sides of baked potato and fresh vegetables, how can you go wrong? Two friends had the sea bass, which was also excellent.

I vow on my next stop to try the cioppino.

For me, John's is a must-visit dining and drinking destination whenever I'm in San Francisco.

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I would argue that no visit to San Francisco is complete without a visit to John's, and so it was again this year.The place was bustling, as usual, on a Wednesday evening, so I grabbed a seat at the bar. I ordered the John's Steak, because I can't resist the steaks here. Yes, I vowed I would order the cioppino next time I was here, and I certainly intend to order Sam Spade's lamb chops too -- the guy next to me at the bar ordered the lamb chops, and raved as he polished off six of the most beautiful lamb chops I've ever seen -- but that steak sure hit the spot.

John's Steak is a bone-in New York Strip, cooked to a perfect medium rare, and more on the rare side. It was a carnivore's delight.

I love this place and I highly recommend it.

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