Absonot's Profile

Title Last Reply

Bernal Heights pop up plans to go permanent [San Francisco]

Hillside Supper Club is SUCH a welcome addition to the neighborhood!

I was aware of it as a pop up, although I never visited it. But I followed its progress and was definitely excited to see that it was going to be a permanent restaurant.

I've dined there twice since the place opened, and have been impressed both times. Service is really genuine, and while the menu isn't large, it offers a solid array of options. Wine list is not long, but covers all the bases and is very well-priced.

If it's on the menu, get the celery root soup! The asian pear lends just enough sweetness...and they julienne them, which results in such a lovely experience. There you are, spooning up some luscious, earthy soup and suddenly you get a lovely ribbon or two of sweetness. It's wonderful. The best rendition of celery root soup I've ever had, that's for sure.

Their meatballs are good, but not my cup of tea. I like a meaty, hearty, gut-buster of a ball, but theirs are more airy and lovely. My dining companions loved them, so if you don't need a big wallop of flavor and density in a meatball, these are for you. They're delicate...which isn't bad, but isn't what i personally want.

I won't go in to all the dishes we had, but none of the dining companions I had at either meal felt anything but delighted by the food. One said that this place is a lot better than Rich Table, which they'd been to a few weeks before.

Long story short, I'm not sure it's a destination restaurant. But if you live in Bernal or outer Mission, come check this place out! It's only one block from C. Chavez, and it's right on the 67. It's right next to darling Precita Park and is truly a solid local place doing food with a specific point of view.

Mar 02, 2013
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

Thoughts on Mission Bowling Club [San Francisco]

I loved the burger, but hated the environment. I'd go back, but I'd definitely eat outside. Otherwise, you have to suffer through the constant noise of balls hitting pins, people cheering, etc. I know it's a bowling alley, but it was surprisingly loud in the dining area.

Jan 11, 2013
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

St. Vincent [San Francisco]

I had sort of a similar experience...went here Thursday and had a good meal, but there's something keeping me from raving about it that I haven't been able to figure out.

I didn't find the portions to be larger than expected (I guess we had different expectations!) and my ham steak was good...if just warm enough. Temperature was a consistent issue in both courses.

My dining partner and I both started with the pear celery soup, which was almost cold. I got the disconcerting impression it had been microwaved, since it had warm spots and cool spots. I am NOT implying they did that, just trying to describe how odd the temperature was. Not enjoyable. Plus, the pear flavor was a bit more sour than I anticipated, which was amplified by the sharp cheddar cheese shredded on top…although I did like how they shaved wider strips of cheese over the soup instead of the classic cheese grater shreds - that was interesting. Something I’ll remember next time I make a soup.

I’ll readily agree with many others that their wine list is wonderful, and the beer list impressive. I also have to say we had a really great server who answered my multiples questions (the menu has a lot of unusual ingredients + somewhat vague descriptions) with charm and ease. He was also very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the wine.

So while I will be back, I won’t be rushing back. It’s conveniently located near my home and the service is really great and the menu is really interesting. I had a hard time making my choices, and I think I just made a bad choice with soup. Although ideally, you shouldn’t be ABLE to make a wrong choice.

Nov 09, 2012
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

La Lengua Chronicles - My Project for 2012 [San Francisco]

Pastores also happens to have the most insanely delicious chicken enchiladas, so consider ordering those when you go!

Mar 20, 2012
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

Lunch spot in downtown San Mateo

Any particular cuisine, price point or ambiance you're looking for?

Jan 11, 2012
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

Drinks before Benu? [San Francisco]

Other bars within 2-3 blocks:

Pied Piper (Palace Hotel, Market @ New Montgomery). This is an historic bar in SF, features
a mural by Maxfield Parrish. You may be joining a lot of tourists here, but it makes for positive energy. We had a drink here before our Benu dinner, and I can tell you the walk to the restaurant takes about 5 minutes (in heels).

House of Shields (across the street from the Palace on New Montgomery). Also historic (opened in 1908), was recently restored and has a breathtaking interior featuring wood carvings, paneling and an intricate chandelier. Likely to be a bit more loud than these other options, but the drinks are good.

Bar at the St. Regis Hotel (3rd @ Minna). Probably obviously the most posh/quiet option, and the most consistent the vibe you'll get at Benu (although not identical). If you're more likely to want wine than a cocktail, this may offer the best selection.

Enjoy your evening!

-----
Pied Piper Bar
Market New Montgomery, San Francisco, CA 94102

Benu
22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Oct 12, 2011
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

Melody Cafe, Modern Middle Eastern in Bernal Heights

We stopped by there Friday night right before they were closing. The guy there could not have been nicer about having to turn us away, and the menu looks small but solid.

He recommended the breakfast especially, maybe as an enticement for us to come back the next morning, who knows.

Every time I've passed this place it's been empty, so I'm glad it gets some love on this board. We will have to make a point to go soon (and report back).

Oct 11, 2011
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

Wedding Caterer Under $80-100/pp

TOTALLY agree that Ann Walker is the best. I found her for our wedding in '09 through chowhound, and my guests still talk about how great the (affordable) food was.

Jul 27, 2011
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

Brunch at Baker and Banker

Haven’t made it here for dinner yet, but I can tell you the brunch here is pretty amazing. And it’s popular – we weren’t seated for our 12:30 reservations until about 12:50. Luckily it was a lovely day and waiting outside was no issue.

In a flash of brilliance, my three friends and I started by splitting a cinnamon bun and a sticky bun four ways. Both of these pastries are huge, so it was a great way to get a satisfying taste of each without blowing our appetite. Both are amazing, neither too sweet. The cinnamon bun was my favorite – an elegant, fluffy yet slightly chewy bun with a perfect amount of cinnamon icing glaze. Truly wonderful, and I noticed they sell them in the bakery next door.

Entrees: I ordered the house smoked trout, which was served on a potato latke with horseradish cream and pickled beets. It was a dainty, very pretty plate. It wasn’t exactly filling, but I didn’t feel deprived either.

My companions ordered the brisket hash, Tabasco Eggs Benedict, and the burger. I only tried the burger but I was told that the hash was delicious (tip: ask for a side of toast, as it’s a bit stewy). My friend loved the biscuits on the Tabasco Benedict , which were fluffy and flaky, but he was hoping for more Tabasco flavor in the Hollandaise.

The 4505 burger was cooked a perfect medium rare and was very good, although my husband found it a bit too salty. I loved the bite I had, but I’m more of a salt lover. So take that for what’s it is worth.

After having dined at both The Meetinghouse and Quince when it was here, I must say the current décor is my least favorite. It’s very dark and seems too casual for the food. But maybe at night it’s a different vibe. We definitely want to come back for dinner. If I lived in the neighborhood I’d be very happy to have this option for brunch.

Jul 25, 2011
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

Masa's or Fleur de Lys?

I'm planning a birthday dinner and have narrowed it down to Masa's and Fleur de Lys. Does anyone have recent experiences at either of these places that could offer insight on which would be best for our needs?

There will be 4 of us - we definitely want a "special" experience and will probably opt for a tasting menu. We want a comfortable yet exciting/innovative experience and, obviously, wonderful food. Not interested in stuffy, just want a place where we can feel pampered by the service and intrigued by the food.

We've all been to Fleur de Lys, and are considering it because it seems like a solid bet: great food, comfortable yet special surroundings, intuitive service. None of us have been to Masa's, but know from its past reputation that it is supposed to be an incredible place --- but how is it right now?

Coi, Saison, Benu, La Folie, and the Ritz have all been discounted for various reasons - these really are the two I've narrowed it down to.

So does anyone have strong feeling of support or scorn for either of these places?Any insight is much appreciated.

Thank you!

-----
La Folie
2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

Masa's Restaurant
648 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

Saison
2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

Benu
22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Jul 16, 2011
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

Cotogna review [San Francisco]

Just enjoyed a great late afternoon early diinner there. Walked in around quarter to 5 - the bar is open, but they don't start the menu until 5:30. We sat, enjoyed a glass of wine, and watched the staff prep for the Saturday night dinner.

The copper bar where we sat was comfortable, and afforded a great perspective on the space. I'm sure it's loud when at full capacity, but the simple (yet tasteful) furniture sat glowing in the late afternoon sun, and the brick walls made the place feel warm, cozy, and special.

Once dinner service began, we enjoyed: sausage and padrone pepper pizza, summer succotash, tortellini al a amatriciana. The pizza was great - the crust had great flavor, and while I would have preferred a more crispy crust, it was definitely impressive. What impressed me most was the restraint of toppings. It was an excellent balance of heat, sauce, savory meat, and spicy green arugula. It was a great example of how less is more.

The succotash was the real star. Grilled corn, wax beans, and cherry tomatoes. It was simple, breathtaking,and evocative of so many great summer meals. I loved this side. PLEASE order this if it's on the menu.

The tortellini reminded me why I always made sure I order a pasta course when I go to Quince. These folks know how to do pasta. The tortellini is stuffed with the typical amatriciana ingredients, and the sauce itself? Pretty much just butter. But that's a good thing. It was an elegant, hedonistic, and super satisfying dish. My husband and I split it, which I think was good. A person tackling this dish alone may feel overwhelmed (albeit happily so).

Long story short, this place is great and I will come back again - probably later in service when the energy level is higher. Its quality and creativity is special.

Jul 16, 2011
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

Where to buy Austrian schnaps in Bay Area?

I just read about Austrian schnaps in Saveur and I'm dying to try some - made by Hans Reisetbauer or Golles specifically. Anyone have any suggestions where I might find them?

Mar 01, 2011
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

Menu with the best burrata?

Beretta has a caponata with burrata appetizer, it's pretty good.

Jan 03, 2011
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

Le Garage has "jumped the shark" [Sausalito]

You are absolutely right -- getting last minute reservations at any of those restaurants is incredibly difficult. They're very popular, and booked often months in advance. And some restaurants are not so popular...and have tables available last minute. This is nothing new.

But the mere fact that a restaurant is listed on Open Table is not evidence of its imminent demise. That's the only point I was trying to make.

Nov 22, 2010
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

Le Garage has "jumped the shark" [Sausalito]

So all restaurants on Open Table are only there because their customer base is declining? Like French Laundry, Quince, Benu, Coi, etc.?

Restaurants use the service for many reasons and it has its pros and cons. But if you assume a restaurant is bad because it's on Open Table, you're going to miss out on a lot of really great restaurants.

-----
The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Benu
22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Nov 22, 2010
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Le Garage has "jumped the shark" [Sausalito]

Why would being on Open Table be a sign of imminent demise?

Nov 21, 2010
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

Recs for a higher-end Sunday lunch in SF

My three recommendations would be Absinthe, Nopa and Zuni.

All three do a brunch/lunch hybrid menu on Sundays, so I'm not sure how varied the lunch options would be. But Nopa and Zuni are both known for their burgers. And Absinthe has a new chef who is doing a "Sunday roast" that varies each week.

I believe all three are open straight through the day, although at Nopa, I think you can only get bar food from 2:30-6.

All three have a great cocktail program too, fyi.

-----
Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Nopa
560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Absinthe Brasserie & Bar
398 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Nov 08, 2010
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

where to buy Pizza-flavored Goldfish in SF?

My husband loves them, but the company appears to be phasing them out, as they are getting harder and harder to find.

Does anyone know a good source? Preferably in the city, but I'd be willing to go as far south as San Mateo.

...and I'm not talking about the FlavorBlasted(R) Pizza flavor (apparently these are "disgusting"). He just wants the regular pizza flavor. Any leads are welcome!

Oct 27, 2010
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

3 nights in SF, where to eat?

Sep 12, 2010
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

3 nights in SF, where to eat?

You'll do yourself a favor by being a bit more specific about what you're looking for in terms of cuisine, atmosphere and location...it's helpful to know what you're looking for.

But I can tell you that for me, right now Commonwealth is a place I can't wait to get back to. It's one heck of a restaurant with great service, an interesting menu with impeccable execution. I haven't had a better dinner in a loooong time. SF casual dress code, but you can still spend a bunch if you indulge.

Also, if you will be here over a weekend, I'd recommend the brunch (Sat & Sun 11-2:30) at Nopa.

-----
Nopa
560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Sep 12, 2010
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

Nopa Brunch Report [San Francisco]

No, it's only on weekends. Also, I double checked the dates they WON'T be doing brunch, and it's 9/18 and 9/19, not the 11th and 12th (oops).

Sep 05, 2010
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

Nopa Brunch Report [San Francisco]

Wow. Today Nopa debuted their brunch service, and they hit it out of the park.

We got there a half hour after they opened, and the place was already almost full (although the bar area was pretty much empty). There's no question they'll be doing a great business every weekend here on out.*

The menu is a great mix of sweet and savory, classic and innovative. And yes, the burger's on there! There's also a breakfast cocktail menu, of course.

We started with a smoked trout/farmer's cheese/pickled onion/bagel plate and the tomato salad. Both were outstanding. The smoke trout was mild, and the flesh was moist. The tomato salad (if I had to guess I'd say they were Early Girls) finally provided me with the first truly delicious tomato I've had all year. And the feta they use is so creamy and perfect.

For mains, I got butter basted eggs with white corn polenta cakes and a zucchini/corn succotash. I've never had butter basted eggs before, but our server explained the technique and i was sold. It creates eggs that are very uniformly cooked, and the white is velvety but not gooey. Really special, and a treat for anyone who likes a runny yolk without any chance of snotty egg white (sorry, but that's the only way I can describe it).

My husband ordered the merguez sausage with lentils and 2 poached eggs. The lentils were cooked perfectly, the sausage was juicier than any merguez I've ever had.

The portions are huge, so go hungry. You'll leave happy. Add this to the top of your brunch list.

*I remember reading somewhere that they are closed next weekend (9/11&12) for a private event.

-----
Nopa
560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Sep 04, 2010
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

Nopa Customer Service

It's a sad fact: for a business owner, currying the favor of people who have influence is always a smarter choice than treating customers equally. Building that network is more valuable than satisfying customers who may or may not be tourists who never eat there again.

I'm not excusing it -- there is no denying that seating a walk in celebrity over an every day person who's been playing by the rules and waiting for their turn is clearly rude. But I'm not shocked. Disappointed, perhaps.

I wonder if snubbed customers received a comped dish or bottle of wine to compensate for being skipped over? That gesture could go a very long way.

Jul 30, 2010
Absonot in Not About Food

Herbed Avocado Spread

Tried this tonight on tofu burgers - excellent!

Jul 26, 2010
Absonot in Recipes

Report: Super Duper Burgers (Market & Castro in SF)

I enjoyed the chicken sandwich there a lot. It was perfectly cooked and even juicy, with a nice chipotle sauce. The staff is really nice and the layout is very efficient...although we did not like the fries. May have just been a bad batch. Also, the burgers seem to be on the small side.

Jun 23, 2010
Absonot in San Francisco Bay Area

MiniBar: How Many Calls Before You Were Able To Get A Reservation?

I'm hoping to go here in October, but 30 days before the dates I have open are a Sunday and a Monday (Labor Day) -- when the restaurant is closed. Should I try to call that Saturday then...which is 32 days before? Or will I need to wait until that Tuesday?

Jun 16, 2010
Absonot in Washington DC & Baltimore

Driving from DC to Boiling Springs - what route offers best food?

Sounds wonderful. I've never been to this part of the country and am looking forward to checking it out. Thanks again!

Jun 11, 2010
Absonot in Pennsylvania

Driving from DC to Boiling Springs - what route offers best food?

TACOS!!! Your post made my day, thanks so much.

Jun 11, 2010
Absonot in Pennsylvania

Breakfast near Dulles?

Taking the red eye from SF and will be coming into Dulles around 8am, then driving north toward Leesburg. Are there any good places for breakfast around there?

We're not looking for anything fancy, just trying to avoid a chain.

Thanks in advance!

Jun 09, 2010
Absonot in Washington DC & Baltimore

Driving from DC to Boiling Springs - what route offers best food?

According to Google maps, I can drive from Dulles airport to Boiling Springs via 15/Gettysburg, or 67 & 81, through Hagerstown. Which route offers the best lunch options? If both are equal, then which is the prettiest drive?

I realize 15 is probably much faster, but we aren't in a big hurry and happy to see the scenery.

Any type of food is fine, although we live in SF and would love the chance to try local stuff we can't get back home. Big plus if it has great beer.

Thanks in advance!

Jun 09, 2010
Absonot in Pennsylvania