Mountain View's Bierhaus, formerly SteakOut, has had more identity crises than a character in a made-for-TV movie about multiple personality disorder. Now the restaurant amplifies the meaty menu with German twists. Among the potato pancakes and bratwurst, seek out the best-in-class spätzle tossed with mustard greens and chunks of smoky ham.
With proximity to the 101 and 280 freeways, the Dogpatch neighborhood is an easy spot to grab a bite before spending an hour in gridlock. For a satisfying dinner in the area, locals propose a quick stop at Gilberth's Rotisserie & Grill, fried chicken at Hard Knox, mushroom lasagna at Marcella's, or a meal at Chocolate Lab (which is changing its name to theLab as of February 17 to highlight savory offerings).
A conversation about the best Korean in the East Bay surfaces several enticing suggestions from Chowhound users. "Refined" Bowl'd prepares high-quality renditions of classic dishes like kimchi jjigae, FuseBox offers "ambitious and precise" cooking but limited banchan, and Jong Ga House impresses newbies to Korean cuisine with warm service and an abundant banchan spread (pictured).
What is it about a chicken wing that's so satisfying? From spicy to sticky-sweet, the Bay Area offers a bevy of options for wing-lovers, including Korean wings at Namu in SF and Pacifica's Rice N Roll, and classic Buffalo-style at the Phoenix Irish Bar, Kezar Pub, and Hog & Rocks.
When you're visiting friends who live abroad, which gifts best convey the bounty of the Bay Area's culinary delights? Locals recommend Blue Bottle coffee, sourdough bread, June Taylor jam, dried persimmons, and California wines that may be hard to find elsewhere.
The lines at popular brunch spots in the Mission are nearly as epic as the bills can be. Hi Lo BBQ, where Sunday brunch has been served for just a month, hasn't been discovered by the masses just yet, but diners are likely to descend on winning dishes like lemon-ricotta pancakes with pear compote and charred whole shrimp on a pillow of creamy grits.
Last year, the Heirloom Café in the Mission earned a rave review in the Financial Times for its wine list, but does the food match the quality of the drink? One Chowhound says to expect "comfort food in an elegant yet homey setting," with dishes that include an off-the-menu burger with triple-crème Époisses cheese mixed into the meat.
An update on a 2009 report on Pakistani grub at a San Jose restaurant: Five years later, Gulzaar Halaal Restaurant & Bakery is "still going strong" with tender kebabs and gorgeously spiced, crispy samosas that are head and shoulders above the unfortunate examples of clumped mystery meat that are all too common.
Meat's where it's at when you're talking about the Chinese barbecue joint Ming Kee, which recently reopened on Ocean Avenue. The roast goose, available weekends only, is a special treat; note also that the soy sauce chicken comes in two varieties, with the heritage breed of chicken at a premium price.
The Barrel Room, near Union Square in SF, recently opened a Rockridge outpost. According to an early report on Chowhound, the broader food menu at the Oakland wine bar is suitable for a night out, featuring hearty bistro fare like porc au pruneaux and brandade of wild cod on toast.