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Startup Sells "Prime" Reservations (Table8)

Two years, ago, the restaurant Next in Chicago did make one seat per night available in a charity auction. Many people paid $5,000 for a two-top.

http://chicago.grubstreet.com/2012/02...

Next's business model is completely different from any restaurant in SF (pre-pay for a ticket to dinner, tickets are transferable but not refundable, no money changes hands at the time of the meal). Also, demand at the time Next did this was so great that months of tables were being booked within minutes, after being released on facebook at an arbitrary time during the day. So it's probably not directly applicable to Table8 or a similar system, but there is precedent for this model.

2 days ago
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Startup Sells "Prime" Reservations (Table8)

The menus are not quite the same at Chez Panisse--Mondays ($65) are typically three courses, Tuesday through Thursday ($85) are four courses, and Friday/Saturday ($100) are four courses plus an aperitif.

Depending on how much value you give to the aperitif, or to an extra appetizer, you could argue that the more expensive menus are very slightly marked up per-course. But I think it's minor, and I think it's actually a pretty smart arrangement for a single-menu restaurant.

Apr 17, 2014
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Great China (Berkeley) still great

Has anybody been to Great China recently? Melanie Wong reported that the beer and wine license came through in January--was wondering if they have a program set up yet. Also wondering how difficult it is to score a table these days!

Mar 18, 2014
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Quintessential Bay Area in 4 Days

Even better:

http://sfist.com/2014/02/04/local_mag...

(not a direct link, but I love this headline)

Mar 18, 2014
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Sunday night dinner: Sons and Daughters vs AQ or Commonwealth [San Francisco]

I didn't have a great meal at AQ. There were a few execution and service errors. I realize that a lot of people on this board have had a different experience, so maybe I hit them on an off night.

Regarding Frances vs. State Bird, I think I prefer the atmosphere at Frances, but it's also much easier for me to go to Frances. I think that one factor contributing to your feeling that people on this bird find State Bird overhyped is that the only reliable way to actually dine at State Bird is 1) show up on Fillmore St. at a time inconvenient to most 9-to-5ers; or 2) make a reservation between 4 and 5 AM PST exactly 60 days before your preferred date. If you're just visiting SF and can plan your day around it, it's actually a little easier. But it's hard not to let the question change from "Is State Bird good?" to "Is it worth jumping through these hoops to go there?"

Mar 07, 2014
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Sunday night dinner: Sons and Daughters vs AQ or Commonwealth [San Francisco]

It's been a long day--what I was trying to express, likely in too few words, is that many recent openings in SF seem to compose dishes that highlight a single ingredient, with only a few supporting elements, with most of these elements prepared in somewhat traditional ways. This is fine by me; somewhwere like Frances is certainly in this set. High-quality ingredients, correctly cooked, are great.

In comparison, the dishes at State Bird seemed to have more going on and contain more separate elements, often in more complex and whimsical combinations (pecan pancakes with duck ham is one example I can remember). At this price level, I don't think you can do much better for cooking that is both creative and refined in its execution.

To BacoMan, I've been to Frances 6 or 7 times--it's right around the corner from me--and I have never had a dish that I have not found excellent. Black bass, chicken liver mousse, and baked clams stand out in my memory, but really, everything has been great.

Mar 07, 2014
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Sunday night dinner: Sons and Daughters vs AQ or Commonwealth [San Francisco]

I went to State Bird right before the NYT article in 2012, and went again last month. I loved it both times. Just about every dish I had was delicious, and seemed to break free from the typical ingredient-focused SF mold while at the same time not being too showoffy.

Michelin one-stars in SF seem kind of arbitrary to me--I'd say at this point, just take a look at the many places you've been recommended on Chowhound, pick a few menus you find interesting, and go with those, rather than worrying about star ratings. Personally, I much preferred State Bird to AQ, and Frances to both, but there are bound to be some who disagree.

Mar 06, 2014
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Sunday night dinner: Sons and Daughters vs AQ or Commonwealth [San Francisco]

Regarding Frances, I bike by every day on my way home from work. There are ten seats at the bar reserved for walk-ins. It is usually possible to get a walk-in seat M-W before 6 PM with no trouble. Any other night I might advise lining up a bit early--probably not more than 15-20 minutes; it's not quite State Bird these days.

We tried to stop in at 8:45 PM for dessert last night (Wednesday) and were told that no tables would be available before 10 PM. It's possible we just hit it at exactly the turnover time, but it's still very busy.

Mar 06, 2014
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

One dinner in SF

I live close to Tartine (4 blocks west) and work right by Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous. I walked to work today (about 45 minutes). It's good ice cream, but I personally would not walk that far for the sole purpose of getting this ice cream.

The only other place that might make a good destination for a snack crawl in the neighborhood is Chocolate Lab. Robert's suggested route on 22nd Street would definitely add a nice view, and the detour down Vermont would be fun, but I can't say this is one of my top views in the city either.

If you do end up going, instead of walking back to the Mission, you could put it near the end of your day and take the KT back downtown afterward.

Mar 04, 2014
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

State Bird Provisions Timing? [San Francisco]

Agreed on Frances! I bike by on my way home from work every day and I don't think you would have any trouble getting a seat at the bar on a Monday evening. I go once or twice a year, and despite the loss of its Michelin star, the food was just as good on my visit in December as it has ever been.

State Bird is very good as well, if you can get a reservation. The last time I went, I made a reservation on a whim two months out because I happened to be up at 4 AM PST. However, I don't think it's worth rescheduling your day or waiting in line for. If you happen to be traveling/dining alone (it sounds like you might be), I don't think that this would be the best way to experience this restaurant--better to go with a group and order a larger chunk of the menu over a few hours as everything makes its way around on carts.

Feb 24, 2014
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Is it just me or does this list sound very upmarket and possibly not really reflective of what's great to eat in SF ?

I've been eating sauerkraut and beef-barley soup since I was a kid in Central PA. I guess the Amish are the original trendsetters here.

Feb 04, 2014
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Great China (Berkeley) still great

I went last night to celebrate a birthday. We had a reservation for 9--we were in the restaurant from 7:30 - 9:30 or so on a Friday, and while it was pretty crowded the whole time, the wait didn't seem like it would be totally unmanageable if you showed up without a reservation.

Just a heads up, even though they still list several set-menu dinners on their website, they are no longer listed on the printed menu. I asked and they were able to accommodate the Great China Dinner for 8 at a cost of $20 per person, but it didn't seem like they were planning to do this regularly.

The food was all exactly as I remembered from many grad school visits--I'd forgotten how good the walnut prawns were. No wine yet, but they're working on the licensing.

Jan 11, 2014
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Bottled hard cider from Normandy?

There are several bottled ciders from Normandy available to drink at Upcider on Polk St. Upcider is a great bar and I love it for introducing me to many new ciders, but prices are typically in the range of 2x+ retail.

Healthy Spirits on Castro St. at 15th also has a small selection from time to time. I have bought both the pear and apple versions of La Pere Jules cider there. You might want to call ahead and see if they have any available this week.

Dec 10, 2013
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

What to order at Delfina [San Francisco]

I had nearly perfect shortribs there a year or two back, so I would go for a braised dish. If I remember correctly, the portion was fairly large as well.

Feb 13, 2013
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Savory Souffle in SF?

I had a chestnut and leek souffle at Cafe Jacqueline in December, and it was excellent. Just a warning, though--they are definitely a special occasion/date kind of a place. All of the souffles are meant to serve two, and meals typically take 2-3 hours. It's great if that's what you're looking for, but you might be disappointed if you're trying to work it into a busier schedule.

Feb 13, 2013
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Valentine Day- do you or don't you? And if you do-what?

Mac 'n' cheese, brussels sprouts, and champagne.

Jan 23, 2013
tripit in Not About Food

How do you feel about your food being re-seasoned at the table?

It might be an objective standard, but it doesn't seem to me like a very practical one for writing recipes. How would you determine how much salt to add to a steak? Is it 9 grams of salt per liter of solid steak or 9 grams per liter of liquid in the steak? If you season the steak before cooking, do you account for evaporation of the juices or contraction of the steak?

Jan 20, 2013
tripit in Not About Food

5 food industry folks in San Fran from Boston for 3 days - how we doing so far?

I was at Upcider earlier this month and they did not have a TV. They are really fantastic though--great selection of cider and beer, and the food is not bad either.

Jan 17, 2013
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Any place new and wonderful in the Castro? [San Francisco]

Super Duper Burger is also relatively new, and just about a block up Market from the Castro Theatre. It's more or less a slightly upscale In 'n' Out, although they also have chicken, veggie burgers, and salads. I'd put it in your "good enough" category, but it'd be my recommendation if you get a craving for a burger and fries in the neighborhood.

Jan 16, 2013
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Any place new and wonderful in the Castro? [San Francisco]

Thorough Bread is a great recommendation--I stop by once or twice a month and I can't remember ever getting anything bad. Nearby on Church St., Chile Pies is new and very good. It's an offshoot of Green Chile Kitchen, and has savory stews and soups in addition to pie by the slice.

Jan 15, 2013
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Any place new and wonderful in the Castro? [San Francisco]

The OP noted upthread that he will be working at the Castro Theater and has no more than 90 minutes to travel and eat each meal. Ragazza is fine, but not possible given that limitation.

Jan 15, 2013
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Where can I buy dry ice?

Last Halloween we picked some up at the Lucky supermarket in the Western Addition. That's not really on your way, but you could check their website to see if there is a location convenient to your plans for the day.

Dec 25, 2012
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Annual SF trip- in with the old, and what's new?

I haven't been to AQ, but I would say that Commonwealth is also comparable to State Bird Provisions in some ways--shareable and eclectic, although the dishes at Commonwealth are larger, and of course there aren't any carts.

I thought the food at State Bird was pretty good, and with the carts, the experience was more than the sum of its parts. It's not something I would line up for. If you do go, I would plan to arrive at 5 PM.

Dec 03, 2012
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Fruit Salad...that doesnt include "an arm and a leg"

I'm not sure what fruits are inexpensive in your area, or how much you're trying to spend per pound, but I just made a nice fruit salad of persimmons, grapefruit, and a big pomegranate for Thanksgiving. The thing I liked about it was that all the fruits could be cut up in advance--no worry of oxidation, like with apples and pears. I just added the zest of a lime and a little vanilla sugar before serving. The ripe persimmon, tart grapefruit, and crunchy pomegranate were a great combination of flavors and textures.

Nov 24, 2012
tripit in Home Cooking

My itinerary for a visit next month

It's hard to find a consensus on the best burger in SF, but you might find an excellent thick burger with straightforward toppings at either Marlowe/Park Tavern (same owner) or Spruce.

Oct 28, 2012
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Comments and Suggestions welcomed

I like your list. Of the places that I have visited, the only thing I might dispute is Poc Chuc. The food is OK, but if your goal for the afternoon is to explore the Mission, it's a block or two out of your way in a direction with mostly barren streets, and for me it's not enough of a destination restaurant to merit the detour.

If you are specifically looking for Mexican sit-down, you might try La Oaxaquena (tlayudas, mole, and tamales are excellent; burritos and tacos are subpar). If you just want a nice lunch, maybe Bar Tartine or Udupi Palace. If you want Mexican food but don't care too much about the ambience, try El Farolito, Taqueria San Jose, or any of the taquerias near the 24th and Mission BART stop. If your mother is a sweets and coffee person, you might even consider making a little bit of a hike down 24th St to visit Knead Patisserie (admittedly more of a walk than Poc Chuc, but I think 24th St is more scenic) at stop at Torta Gorda for lunch.

Don't get me wrong--the food at Poc Chuc is fine, and it's a cuisine that you can't find everywhere. I just think you could do equally well at many other restaurants in the Mission.

Sep 09, 2012
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Week in SF, dining plan

State Bird is very good. It does sound like the best fit if you're looking for an eclectic, modern American food experience. It is also very popular. Right now they are pretty much booked up for the next 60 days.

http://statebirdsf.com/reservations/

You can do a walk-in, but you might be waiting a while unless you show up at an odd hour. I went a few months ago at 7 PM on a Wednesday and waited an hour for a table for two (was catching up with a friend and it was a nice night, so I didn't mind standing outside). This was before they were featured in the NYT and named best new restaurant by Bon Appetit, so I would guess that they are only more popular now.

Bar Tartine is also excellent. The food and format weren't quite as interesting as State Bird, but I found all of the dishes there to be well prepared. I'd probably count it among my top 5 meals in San Francisco, actually. It's a quick ride on BART from downtown and then a three block walk.

Sep 08, 2012
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Trip Report

I love Bi-Rite's ice cream and I live in the neighborhood, but I really don't think it's worth waiting in line for 25 minutes. After standing in line for half an hour, I would probably think any ice cream was overrated. Sometimes I want to yell out as I'm biking down 18th and see the line extending around the corner--PEOPLE, IT'S JUST ICE CREAM! I also can't quite remember exactly when it got so popular. It seems like 2-3 years ago I could just walk over on a whim anytime.

So no hard feelings, lel, and glad that the rest of your trip went well.

Aug 21, 2012
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Sunday Brunch SF

After taking a look at bbulkow's list, I just wanted to put in a good word for Sweet Maple. They have an extensive menu that reminds me more of an East Coast diner than a San Francisco brunch spot. We got mimosas, pizza, and french toast, and all were executed well--not the best in SF by any means, but impressive given the lengthy menu. Although it was crowded when we were there, it seems to be a popular choice for larger groups and families. I believe they have beer and wine only.

Starbelly doesn't have a full bar, but does have a beer and fortified wine cocktail menu that is more thoughtful than those you typically see. We went there this afternoon for an impromptu reunion with some friends. I was very happy that I was able to call at 7 PM last night and make a brunch reservation for six people at noon--wasn't in the mood to deal with a line this morning!

Outerlands has really, really excellent toast, but also had a 90-minute wait when we got there at 10 AM a few months ago. We got young coconuts from the coffee shop next door and took them down to the beach. It was a longer brunch outing than we expected, but an enjoyable one.

Aug 19, 2012
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area

Non Touristy

I always encounter many locals when I eat at places such as Broken Record, Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant, Radio Africa & Kitchen, Burma Superstar, Frances, and In-N-Out.

Jun 11, 2012
tripit in San Francisco Bay Area