j

jflesh's Profile

Title Last Reply

Butcher recommendation for dry-aged, prime grade rib roast in Houston?

I'm visiting my parents and family in Houston soon and will be preparing Christmas dinner. I'm hoping to call a butcher and reserve a dry-aged, prime grade, prime rib for the holiday.

Can anyone recommend a butcher?

We'll be staying in Southwest Houston, near Dairy Ashford / Westheimer, so a butcher on that side of town would be ideal, but I'm not averse to driving a ways for good meat. I see a recommendation here already for Pete’s Fine Meats on Richmond, which isn't too far from my old high school (Robert E Lee)... so that could be fun to see (it's been 20 years).

I'm also OK to drive inside the loop if needed.

Thanks for you help.

Judd.

about 21 hours ago
jflesh in Houston

Lunch to go in Sunnyvale / Mt View area?

Hi -

I'm working in Sunnyvale many days -- near Maude & 237 -- and I'm interested in
recommendations for places to grab good food to go. Places I'm already
frequenting on a weekly basis include:

Country Deli in Mountain View: fine selection of consistently good sandwiches and salads
Gourmet Express in Milpitas: excellent garlicky chicken shawerma plates; solid hummus
and tabouleh
La Bamba in Mountain View (Old Middlefield location): great burritos, and just $6!

Any additional suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I could use the variety at this point!

Thanks,
J.

Apr 08, 2009
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Gyu-tataki in SF?

A quick update to my old post: Takara in the Japantown mall does a decent gyu-tataki. Good enough so that I tend to get it everytime I go. The meat has been consistently fresh, blood rare (just a light sear along the edges), and is served with a tastey ponzu sauce.
J.

Nov 15, 2007
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Andrew Jaeger's House of Seafood: Going Downhill?

Thanks for the additional investigation guys. Would appear that not much
has changed on the administrative side, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed
that my last visit just happened during an off-period.

Though hopefully we'll get some comments from recent visitors to
corroborate this...

Mar 14, 2007
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Andrew Jaeger's House of Seafood: Going Downhill?

Good point. And they had switched to crab in late December...

Too bad they cut corners on the steak though. This is probably the
primary reason I was compelled to gripe: a $27 "NY Strip" should be
more than a couple of gnarled 3 oz slices of flank steak.

Really hope my next visit recalls the earlier experiences
(where a steak was a juicy steak... and while a lobster or crab side would
be great, you've got a point that this might not be possible year 'round)

J.

Mar 13, 2007
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Andrew Jaeger's House of Seafood: Going Downhill?

Yep, was there on a Wednesday again. Mysteriously I've only visitted on Wednesdays, though only for the first visit was this intentional. Was told about
the change by our server when I asked about the possibility of the "old" special.

The special offering last Wednesday was gumbo + "salad with Italian dressing [the server's words] + catfish (prep undisclosed). Opted for a standard menu item instead, along with an order of the gumbo. But it appears to me that the policy on specials has changed _as_well_as_ the standard menu (now rotating options as well?). Kinda bummed. The lobster and steak for $20 was a great deal.

Am hoping these theories about bacchanalian staff indulgences are true, and that
I simply got the B-team last week... and all will be back to normal once hangovers subside.

J.

Mar 13, 2007
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Andrew Jaeger's House of Seafood: Going Downhill?

I visitted Andrew Jaeger's a few times toward the end of 2006 and had
consistently excellent meals. Especially enjoyed their Wednesday night
special, which would usually include a NY Stip Steak, Lobster and/or Crab,
a bisque soup, and a salad. All at an incredible price of just $20.
In every case, the food was excellent. And the value unbeatable.

(Posted a gushing review at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/33914... )

I visitted again last week, and was a bit saddened that the experience wasn't
up to par. First, they've jetissoned the Wednesday lobster/crab special, and now
have a $17 gumbo + salad + catfish. Hmm... fine I suppose, but not lobster.

The menu was also different and quite a bit more limitted than before.

I ordered the gumbo appetizer, and it arrived at the table almost immediately. And cold!
Then tried the NY Strip entry for the entree, and this showed up as two tiny
pounded-thin pieces of meat, served on rice, with a forgettable sauce. And for $27.
The flavor of the meat was okay, but it wasn't exactly what I was expecting when
I ordered "NY Strip". Looked more like discarded pieces of flank steak.

And I'd formerly had good waitresses there (usually Southern). The waitress last week
was a barely competent Eastern European woman who got mixed up with the drink order, then forgot to ask how we wanted our meat cooked. Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh, but
I'd had such positive experiences there in the past, the difference is glaring.

So, I'm curious: did I simply experience an off night, or have others observed a decline?
The restaurant was always suspiciously empty (and shouldn't have been). But now I worry
they're cutting corners to save money and may be on the way out.

Any thoughts?

J.

Mar 12, 2007
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Recommendation for small group dining in Palo Alto?

Big kudos for the Evvia recommendations. Was down on the peninsula again tonight
and finally got around to trying this place. Nothing short of spectacular.

We had reservations for 2 at 8 PM, and although the place appeared packed to the brim,
we were offered up seating within less than a few minutes. Noise level was medium to high, but conversation was still effortless, and we were both impressed with the ample space between the tables. So often popular restaurants try to maximize dining space by cramming the tables together -- leaving elbows prone to bump against neighboring tables -- but here the layout was just right. A crowded space, sure, but enough room between tables to allow ample breathing room and completely unselfconscious conversation.

Bread was brought to the table promptly, with olive oil for dipping, and a small trough of
fine grained salt. Both the bread and oil were top-notch.

We started with the taramosalata -- I'd never had this before, but loved the flavor. Creamy and smooth, with hints of onion and garlic, and a perfect salinity. The flavor of the roe was pretty subtle, but the effect was wonderful. This was accompanied by a delicious pita to
serve as the carrier (and the pita was thick and just a bit fluffier than I expected, almost like
thin slices of herbed foccacia. Really good).

Also had the fried calamari with anchovy aioli. These came to the table warm and crisp, and the calamari rings were super-tender. Aioli was salty and flavorful, but not too heavy (I'd worried that aioli on fried food might be overkill, but the food never felt greasy or weighted-down).

Followed up with the romaine and feta salad. Can't say I was floored by this one -- kinda felt like a Greekified "creamy" Caesar -- but it was still quite good, and the romaine was
very crisp and fresh. Dining companion had the 'salata epohis', and seemed more impressed (I only sampled one of the blood oranges there, which was tastey -- seemed to have an even deeper red than usual, so I couldn't resist a small taste).

Both dining companion and I opted for the half-rack of lamb chops as an entree -- yeah, we argued a bit about the sacrifice of variety, but couldn't reach a reasonable compromise. And this was fine once the plates arrived. Absolutely stellar.

Mine came to the table perfectly rare (as requested), with an impossible tenderness.
Dining companion ordered 'medium' (not my thing, but that's what he got), and proclaimed that his order may have been "some of the best lamb he'd ever had" (a strong statement for a lamb afficionado). Can't say I had much room to argue. I was thinking pretty much the same thing. Was stuffed at this point, but almost regretted not opting for
the full-rack. The meat was incredible, with the slightest border of fat around the edge for extra moisture. Both fat and meat were so soft they probably could've been cut with the fork's edge. And the two chops (half-rack) were plump and ample. And a pretty good deal too (just $18). Two fingerling roasted potatoes were served as the side, and were also quite good. We set aside a tiny bit of the taramosalata to smear on the potatoes, which was
a tastey combination.

Finished off with a Greek coffee (opted for "sketo", i.e. unsweetened) and the baklava w/
espresso ice cream. Greek coffee was essentially an espresso, although the bottom half of
the cup seemed to be mostly fine coffee grounds. Not sure if that was intentional. Okay otherwise though. Dessert was good too, though not amazing. I've enjoyed baklava more elsewhere, but am generally not a huge dessert fan...

The quality of service is also worth noting. Was VERY impressed with the pacing. We had appetizers, salad, entrees, and dessert, and never once were we rushed through a course,
nor did we ever wait for an unexpectedly long time between courses. The waiter politely asked during the appetizer phase how we'd like the meal to be paced, and that was honored without fault throughout the meal, despite what appeared to be a bustling and potentially confusing dining room. Truly remarkable.

Overall, we both agreed that this was a phenomenal dining experience in almost every respect. Am looking forward to trying the affiliated Kokkari in SF (which happens to be a lot closer to home), but will definitely be returning to Evvia.

Thanks again for the outstanding recommendation.

J.

Mar 07, 2007
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

New: Kyoto-style Japanese food at Naminami in Mountain View

Ahh, sesame tofu makes sense and explains the "tofu-like" property I
noted (!). It was delicious indeed. Am guessing the subtle fishiness I
picked up when sampling the fallen dab on the plate probably came
from keeping close company with the shrimp.

And, yeah, the salted bonito stomachs were from the "sake tasting" menu. And much like your comment about the crab butter, I also thought these guys would have been more enjoyable if paired with some kind of mild-flavored carrier to dilute the salt. As a bar snack, it was about one step away from a big bowl of kosher salt.

May inquire with the waiter next time to see if all of the "sake tasting" items are this salty...

J.

Feb 01, 2007
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

New: Kyoto-style Japanese food at Naminami in Mountain View

Enjoyed a visit to NamiNami in Mountain View last night. The menu is very exciting, and features a plethora of dishes I've never seen offered elsewhere. And while the dishes were generally good, my associate and I weren't blown away by all of them. Am struggling to recall every dish that we sampled, but will give it a shot.

- We started with something similar in spirit to shrimp tempura, with the shrimp wrapped in
a flat crepe-shape of tempura-like breading and deep fried. Inside the wrap and
adjacent to the shrimp was a gooey gray substance that added extra
moisture and had just a hint of fishiness and subtle salinity.
Anyone know what this gooey stuff might have been? The texture was like a very
soft tofu, but gray, and almost more like pudding. These were served
with a tiny bowl of fine grain salt. Both of us thought it was quite good, though the
battering was just a bit spongier than optimal.

- Salted bonito stomachs came out next. These are red little soft stomachs that arrive
in a bowl and are VERY VERY salty. The flavor reminded me a bit of eating anchovies
straight out of the tin, but with less oily fish flavor and WAY more salt. Could only
manage to consume a couple of these before the saltiness became too overwhelming.
FYI I enjoy the saltiness of anchovies straight outta the tin, but couldn't handle the
saltiness of the bonito stomachs. At least 70% of the serving was left uneaten.
About half my carafe of sake was consumed in a matter of seconds.

- Monkfish foie gras and daikon. This was awesome, and my favorite for the evening.
These arrive as a pair of thick pale daikon rings with a generous plug of monk fish liver
in the middle. And the presentation is very cool. From a distance the plate
looked like it featured two surreal eggs, sunny side up (with the darker foie gras as the
yolks). Highly recommended.

- Kobe beef on magnolia leaf. This was disappointing yet one of the more expensive
items on the tab. The meat wasn't especially flavorful or tender,
and was gray all the way through. A few pieces had substantial gnarled chunks of
fat along the edges. The sauce wasn't much more complex than a light soy
with small mushrooms floating throughout, but the sauce
was probably the best part of the dish. Wouldn't order this again at any price point.

- Oyster in broth with miso and mixed vegetables. This was fine, and came
bubbling away in a fire-heated bowl. Contained 4 very fresh and tender oysters.
But the broth was bland and undersalted, and almost totally lacking in flavor. Wish'd I
would have had one of those bonito stomachs handy to toss in to jazz it up, but
those had been taken off the table.

- Stewed beef tongue. Another big winner. Incredibly soft and tender, and certainly
something I'd order again. Dining companion is more savvy in the world of beef tongue --
apparently his wife prepares this regularly. He thought it was good, but wasn't as blown
away as I was. I'd never eaten tongue before, and didn't expect it to be so moist and
tender. Damn good by my standards.

- Duck with mango and sweet mustard. This was a generous plate of duck served as cold,
thin slices, alternated with small pieces of mango. A small swirl of mustard -- and
what may have been the puree of a red fruit or berry -- was off to side on the plate as
sauce. Quality of the duck meat was top notch. Consistently tender, no skin, and no
big lumps of fat. Essentially all meat. But even then the tenderness was amazing.
Dining companion proclaimed this as his favorite, and likened the texture to pate,
which wasn't far off. Super tender. I also enjoyed it, but the side sauce was just a bit
too sweet. With the mango and a fairly sweet duck meat, the addition of an almost
confectionary mustard / fruit puree seemed excessive. Something spicy or salty would
have satisfied me more. And given some of the other items on the menu, this one seemed
tame and by-the-numbers.

Generally found the watiers to be very good and friendly, though the kitchen may
still be working out some kinks. Our soup was the second to last item to arrive, and we sat
for a good 25 minutes waiting for this after we completed our previous entree. And I overheard a few other tables asking the waiters "when the next dish might arrive". Yet the
restaurant was only half full. Still, they're new, so this kind of issue is almost expected, and
totally excusable.

Both of us left very full, and the bill was around $100, plus tip.

Am looking forward to returning and trying some additional items on the menu. All the items we sampled were above average (excepting the kobe, ironically), but the hit rate
for deep satisfaction still hovered around 60%. The novelty factor is huge though, and despite some of my gripes, the meal was definitely memorable.

J.

Jan 31, 2007
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

New: Kyoto-style Japanese food at Naminami in Mountain View

Chose this place to meet a couple of South Bay friends for a meal next Tuesday, and figured I'd get reservations just to be on the safe side... but I can't find a phone number. Looking on Google, Yelp, etc, yields no contact info, and 411 directory
assistance couldn't help either. So I think we'll just wing it. For a Tuesday dinner at
such a new restaurant, I can't imagine a reservation would be essential, but if anyone
knows otherwise, I'd definitely be interested in contact info for the restaurant.
J.

Jan 26, 2007
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Anzu DAT or Bushi-Tei DAT?

Many thanks for the feedback! Looks like Bushi-Tei and Anzu
won't be included in our DAT samplings
this go 'round then, though I still may try them for
non-DAT offerings at some point.

We're planning Foreign Cinema DAT this evening, and
-- somewhat against my will -- Rubicon DAT next week (though
I've been hearing negative-leaning mixed reviews there).

J.

Jan 18, 2007
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Recommendation for small group dining in Palo Alto?

Many thanks for the Tamarine recommendation. This worked out perfectly. We were able to trickle in and convene at the bar, and then move over to a nice large corner booth for the dinner. Dinner was praised all 'round. Crowd leaned toward the upscale, but I didn't find the environment unpleasantly
trendy or stuffy. Seemed to be a nice mix of young couples, professional types, and even a handful of families. Noise level was comfortable too.

A number of items were sampled, so hopefully I'll be able to recall most of them.

For appetizers, we had:
- Calamari. Very tastey, surprisingly tender, with a
crisp coating.

* Tuna tartar. This was _fantastic_.
Incredibly fresh and flavorful
chunks of ahi, with just a small amount of heat, served
in fresh coconut halves. One of the high points for all.

- Cinammon Prawns. I wasn't crazy about these,
though others at the table enjoyed them. The cinammon
made me feel as if I was eating the flavor of a graham
cracker with the texture of shrimp. Shrimp was fresh
and cooked well though, so this could simply be a
personal anti-cinammon bias here.

And then for the entrees, we enjoyed:

* Clay Pot Cod. Also stellar, per 512window's comment.
Delicious pepper and garlic flavors with firm fresh
chunks of fish.
- Lunar Duck. Good, but it was a little on the sweet
side for my taste, though I suppose I should've anticipated
that given the "pomegranite-citrus sauce".
* Hoisin Lamb Chops. Another stand out, and we ended up
getting a second round of these after our initial order.
Great meat. Kinda thought that our request for "rare"
came out more "medium rare", but the result was so
delicious no one complained.
- Tamarine Prawns. Only got to try a piece of one of these,
but it was very good. Enjoyed this more than the
cinnamon prawns.
* Grilled Eggplant. Also delicious, with a great smokiness.
Pieces were soft and served whole, but the flavor recalled
good baba ghanoush (which is my primary vehicle for
eggplant consumption...)
- Shaking Beef. Nice and tender, but this was just a bit
bland. Am more fond of the shaking beef at Lotus Garden
here in San Francisco.
- Long Beans. No complaints, but not a memorable item.

Our waiter -- a doppelganger of Jeff Probst -- was very attentive, and did a fine job of suggesting various rice sides to accompany each of the dishes. Service was overall excellent.

Can't recall what everyone had for dessert, but I wasn't
especially impressed with whatever I got. Seem to recall
little fried hard pastry balls filled with a rich chocolate.
Better experience with their Vietnamese coffee: am convinced it contained at least 500mg of caffeine. Think I blinked maybe
twice as I drove back to San Francisco.

Although a couple of items were so-so, absolutely nothing disappointed, and the bulk of the meal was stellar. Think the walkout total was $480, which wasn't bad for six people, and
that includes bar tabs, wine, food, and a purportedly generous gratuity.

We'd definitely return to this place.

And thanks to all for the great recommendations!

J.

Jan 16, 2007
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Anzu DAT or Bushi-Tei DAT?

Has anyone tried either the Dine-About-Town at Anzu or
Bushi-Tei?

Any comments on the restaurants generally? I've heard good
things about Anzu, though a lot of the praise targetted the
sushi chef, who's apparently left for non-culinary activity
in Las Vegas. Am also seeing plenty of slams on Yelp, which
isn't encouraging.

Am curious especially about their non-sushi offerings.

Thanks,
J.

Jan 15, 2007
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Recommendation for small group dining in Palo Alto?

Just booked reservations for dinner tomorrow at Tamarine.
Any specific dishes worth trying?

(I see the recs at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/357365 , but
am always up for additional feedback).

Many thanks to all!
J.

Jan 09, 2007
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Good straight-forward bento box in San Francisco?

Thanks for the suggestion. Spelling is "Ichiraku".

Also, in searching to get the spelling, I found this link:

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/37063

Poster's query is similar in spirit to mine -- i.e. non-sushi-Japanese -- and many suggestions are given here too, though
the bulk appear to be outside of San Francisco.

J.

Jan 09, 2007
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Recommendation for small group dining in Palo Alto?

Could be good, though I'm seeing some mixed reviews. How is the
noise level?

Also, the last time we went out with this group, we ate
and Brigitte's in Santa Clara (though I think that's closed now...).
Could feel like French overload, even though technically that Brigitte's meal was many months ago.

J.

Jan 08, 2007
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Recommendation for small group dining in Palo Alto?

Some colleagues will be in town this week, and we're planning
to get together for a group meal, most likely in Palo Alto.
I live in San Francisco, and haven't eaten more than a handful
of dinners on the peninsula. Think I ate at the Palo Alto Straits Cafe once many years ago... but that's it.

Anyway, we'll be dining as a group of 5 or 6, and I'm looking for good recommendations. Criteria is pretty broad, but I'm thinking:

- Not insanely expensive... maybe no more than $60 - $70
per person when all is done.

- Not anything too overtly trendy. Would prefer a place
with excellent food and comfortable ambiance rather than
a bustling meat market of loud voices and colorful drinks.

- Any ethnicity is fine, as long as it's good. Though I think
we should probably avoid Indian (which is eaten often for
lunch), and pure sushi (though a Japanese restaurant with
a variety of items could work well)

- Nothing super-fancy or ultra-casual.
We're aiming for pleasant ambiance,
though would prefer a notch above shorts and sandals
(e.g. something a little slicker than a brew pub).

Many thanks for any suggestions!

J.

Jan 08, 2007
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Good straight-forward bento box in San Francisco?

Am looking to find a good simple bento box dinner in SF.

Have looked into some of the "not just sushi" recommendations
here, and many sound wonderful (Kyo-ya, Kappa, Bushi-Tei, ...).
But most of these restaurants seem to have a creative flair, and I'm aiming for something fairly straight-forward, like a bento box with
shrimp tempura, beef teriyaki, some sashimi, and maybe a salad, with a good bowl of miso soup to start and a side bowl of white rice.

Any suggestions?

Many thanks,
J.

Jan 08, 2007
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Cajun somewhere in San Jose, San Francisco, or on the Peninsula?

Tried Andrew Jaeger's last night and was very happy with the experience. The large dining room was suspiciously empty upon
arrival, with a lone couple dining in the corner, though the main lounge area was a bit busier. Suspect lots of folks were drawn by the live music, though my associate and I preferred the dining room given that the volume-level in the lounge would've all but killed potential for conversation. Even the carryover of sound into the empty dining room could challenge conversation some, but I still saw this as a festive upside to what would've been one giant quiet space otherwise. Voices had to be raised only slightly.

Wish I had more menu items to discuss, but the appeal of the
"special" tempted both of us. Apparently on Wednesday and Friday nights they offer a plate with crab-stuffed lobster tail and an 8oz NY strip steak for 19.95. Unbelievable value, and the food was outstanding.

As part of the special, we were given small bowls of lobster bisque soup to start. And while I initially thought this seemed a bit thin, the full-bodied flavor and hints of spiciness made up for it. Thoroughly enjoyed dipping a couple pieces of bread in the soup beforing finishing off the soup standalone. Reminded me of how much I can enjoy lobster bisque (which I remember really liking at Rocco's on Van Ness several years back... but this has been closed for some time now).

A salad was also included as a starter, and while this wasn't bad, this was the low-point of the meal. Very forgettable, with greens that seemed just a bit soggier than
would've been optimal.

But the entree dazzled...

The steak was very tender and fresh tasting, and when I requested it rare, it actually came _rare_. The steak was lightly seasoned, and had what appeared to be a seasoned butter on top. Really good, and one of the better steaks in recent memory.

The lobster tail was equally well-prepared. Of course, the portion here probably wouldn't satisfy any serious lobster craving, but given the steak and 19.95 price tag, I wasn't dissatisfied. The tail was cut lengthwise (so was really more of a "half tail"), and the upper body of the shell was filled with a seasoned crab meat. Drawn butter was served on the side. Couldn't have been more than 3 or 4 ounces of lobster and crab meat total, but very tastey.

Opted to finish off the meal with a single malt and the massive apple gallet. Personally have an aversion to many desserts because I don't typically enjoy sweet foods, but this was great. Not overly sweet in the least, with very fresh tasting apple and firm perfect pieces of banana. Definitely enough for two though. My colleague thankfully had no aversion to polishing off the other half of it.

Also enjoyed our waitress, who was very attentive and just a bit coarse at times (which was an attitude that blended perfectly with the surroundings).

Gotta say I'm pretty excited by this place, and look forward to returning to try some of the other more traditional Cajun-leaning entrees.

Many thanks to those who recommended this!

J.

Nov 17, 2006
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Cajun somewhere in San Jose, San Francisco, or on the Peninsula?

Really enjoyed the pics and would be interested in any
additional detail on menu items. Current leaning is to try
this place out in a couple of weeks, and I always enjoy visitting restaurants armed with item recommendations.
Food looks good, and the venue appears reasonably entertaining and convenient.

Thanks,
J.

Nov 02, 2006
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Cajun somewhere in San Jose, San Francisco, or on the Peninsula?

By "traditional eaters" do you mean fans of simple or minimalist preparations, without a lot of "creative" flourishes? Or does this mean something else?

Not turned off at all by this kind of "traditional", but am
getting the feeling that many responses to Kingfish have been luke warm at best, and driving out to San Mateo for a so-so meal doesn't make much sense.

J.

Nov 02, 2006
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Cajun somewhere in San Jose, San Francisco, or on the Peninsula?

Just glanced at the menu and this place does look good.
Will definitely plan to try it. Current thinking is that
we'll be dining on a Wednesday, which means it may not be open, and the location is a bit out of the way, so I'll probably sample this another time.

Could you provide more detail on the "Dungenes Crab fest"?
Is this a seasonal offering of several crab dishes? At
a "somewhat discounted" price (never sure if "fest" implies "reduced cost")? May be interested in heading out there for something like this...

Thanks,
J.

Nov 02, 2006
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Cajun somewhere in San Jose, San Francisco, or on the Peninsula?

I've got a colleague flying into the Bay Area in the next couple
weeks, and he's expressed a non-specific interest in Cajun dining. Hunch is that this isn't the best part of the nation for that kind of food, but I'd be interested in any current recommendations. Searched the board a bit but see lots of mostly older postings.

He'll be staying in San Jose, but I live in San Francisco, so something in either town or on the peninsula would be fine.
Would lean toward a place that works well for a decent sit-down
meal.

What's the story on this Kingfish restaurant in San Mateo?
Am seeing some mixed reviews, though some may be targetted at
the now-closed San Francisco location. Many of the older
postings on the San Mateo location sound positive. Any recent
experiences?

Thanks,
J.

Nov 01, 2006
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Cluster of restaurants at 22nd & Guerrero?

Yeah, an accessible Fri/Sat bar would be a plus. Used to visit
Lone Palm all the time and enjoyed a seat at least 80% of the time, but it could still get very loud and crowded. Never visitted The Liberties. Do they serve food there too or just drinks? And is it a full bar? Kinda thought this might be a fun place to pop into for a beer and a snack on a Saturday afternoon, but never considered it for more elaborate evening
indulgence. But if I won't have to stand with an elbow lodged in a stranger's rib cage, it could have some appeal...

J.

Sep 26, 2006
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Cluster of restaurants at 22nd & Guerrero?

Plenty of enthusiasm for Lotus Garden here too. Am currently visitting or getting LG delivery/to-go about twice a week these days, and I'm not feeling any need to experiment with other Vietnamese unless the menu is substantially different.
Is Tao offering similar fare?

And -- a little off-topic -- does Yo's offer a to-go option? Tend to rely plenty on LG and GFC for quick food, and wouldn't mind another option in that immediate area...

Sounds like Kijii may still be worth popping into given its
proximity, though my hunch is that I'll end up trying La Provence first.

Sep 26, 2006
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Cluster of restaurants at 22nd & Guerrero?

I'm curious about this cluster of restaurants near 22nd and Guerrero, as I live just a few blocks away but have surprisingly
never bothered to try ANY of them, though I've enjoyed drinks at Lone Palm on many occasions (though not recently).

Are any of these guys worth trying? Am especially curious about
the Japanese place that popped up within the last year or so.
Think it begins with a K... (Kirri? Kimi? Appears to have sort of a pinkish hue from the outside...) How is it?

Also curious about La Provence, and Tao Cafe, and any other part of that cluster that I've overlooked. Any of them noteworthy?

Many thanks,
J.

Sep 26, 2006
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Alfred's update

Thanks -- had seen these too (and participated in the second one). And while I see scattered praise for Alfred's here and there, I don't see many recent comprehensive analyses / reviews. Would like to decide if Alfred's is worth revisitting. Suspect you're right though that other threads are already handling "general steakhouse recommendations", e.g. Harris', Ruth's Chris, Izzy's, Bob's, etc...
J.

Sep 25, 2006
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

Alfred's update

I visitted Alfred's for the first time this last weekend. I'd been tipped to it after reading a number of positive comments here, though I note that many of these posts are fairly old.

Unfortunately my experience wasn't entirely positive, though much of what I complain about could be easily remedied or may just be unique to the individual night I visitted.

I'm interested in hearing details from others with recent dinner experiences there.

First, our waiter was uniquely bad -- almost comically bad. This contrasts sharply against the "friendly" service I'd been expecting based on previous posts. The waiter would literally run to our table and arrive looking very agitated and nervous. He'd then stand near our table speaking very quickly, with his eyes occassionally darting off in various directions, rarely making eye contact. What's more ridiculous is that the restaurant didn't seem especially busy; many of the tables were occupied, but most of those appeared to be handled by other waiters. My hunch is that this guy either had some overwhelming parties to handle in another part of the restaurant, or -- and this seems very likely -- was a couple days into a methamphetamine run. The sweatiness and agitation seemed excessive, even for waiters in the busiest situations.

About 5 minutes after ordering, my associate realized he hadn't
been asked to select side dishes with his filet. This could have been easily corrected, but our waiter was nowhere to be found. He didn't walk by again until AFTER the server brought
our meals some 20 minutes later. The sides that arrived were
arbitrary selections (and not the same as the sides that
I ordered). Only plausible explanation is that the waiter
or kitchen decided to simply "fill in the blanks".

But the discomforting mannerisms were only one aspect of the
weak service. After our meals came, our table wasn't visitted again until after we were finished. No water refills, no checking in to see if we wanted additional wine, and no query about the quality of our meals.

Can't imagine that the other staffers are this scatterbrained.

But onto the food: I started with a Caesar salad and thought it was quite delicious. This was essentially the classic Cardini prep with additional anchovy flavor representation. Romaine was crisp and fresh, temperature was just right, and the dressing was flavorful. Did have high hopes
after reading another post that we'd get to experience the
"table side prep", but unfortunately that wasn't performed.

Is the tableside Caesar prep still happening at Alfred's or has this been jettisoned?

My executive cut filet was very good, though both my associate and I felt that our meat was just a bit overcooked given what we ordered. I ordered my filet medium-rare, and the meat was gray all the way through on the perimeter and pinkish toward the very middle of the cut. The quality of the meat itself was top notch, but a little bit drier from cooking than I would've expected, especially given that I'd read earlier Alfred's understands the importance of not overcooking. If "rare means blue" I would not expect that "medium rare means gray". Wasn't so overcooked that I would've sent it back, but given the waiter's absence, that wouldn't have been an option. But the sides -- baked potato and sauteed vegetables -- were surprisingly good. Simple, but executed well.

Overall I think this place has enough potential to warrant revisitting. The quality of the meat was great and the Caesar was solid. I also really like the red "old school" interior and am excited about their reportedly large single malt collection. Quality of service was a huge issue though, and
I was surprised that the meat was overcooked. But if these two
problems were corrected, I'd return with enthusiasm.

Is my experience unique or does Alfred's have trouble executing consistently? Or have they gone downhill since some of the more gushing reports were posted?

Would also be interested in any other steakhouse recs here in San Francisco.

J.

Sep 25, 2006
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area

ISO Italian Cured Meats in SF

I recognize that I'm responding to a post that's a year and a half old. But I just saw this post today and called Lucca to see if I could get Molinari salami there -- I live just a couple blocks away. Was told they did not carry this anymore.
Ended up having to drive to Molinari's for the goods.
J.

Sep 20, 2006
jflesh in San Francisco Bay Area