Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >

alina555's Profile

Title Last Reply

Red Sauce Italian with Booths?

+1 on Bertolucci's rec. It wad the first place I thought of when I read this thread.

Chef Gator Thompson - Now at Caprino's in Belmont

Gosh, so I wonder how long he will stay at this venture? The guy changes jobs like he's running from the law.

French laundry reservation

That must be new....when I went in September, I secured my dinner reservation for 2 via OT (9:30 seating). It was quite serendipitous - I checked it the morning of my wedding anniversary (which fell on a Friday) and lo and behold, it was there for that evening!

Bayonne, SJ, closed

Agreed....and this isn't the first sudden unamicable departure. As much as I do enjoy his food, I have to always wonder about his business practices.

Scratch in downtown Mountain View

I had high hopes for this place based on these initial reviews, but unfortunately my experience was incredibly disappointing. My husband and I came in to enjoy an early dinner - there were only two other tables eating when we were seated, and the restaurant had a staff of about ten wandering around - everyone was still clearly in training mode. Wait staff was nervous but friendly; we placed our order and I received my soup a few minutes later. The soup was a butternut squash with bacon - the bacon ended up dominating the mild flavor of the soup, but the taste was interesting enough for me to finish.

And then we waited. And waited. We had ordered a margherita pizza and the rotisserie herb chicken - nothing too outlandish. After a half-hour the server came to tell us it would be a couple more minutes. Fifteen minutes after that, our dishes were served - only to find the chicken so dried out, it flaked into little pieces as you cut into it. We would have immediately ordered a replacement, but after waiting so long for our meal, we tried to make the most of the pieces of chicken that had some moisture and split the 10-inch pie for two. We kept looking for the manager - who we had seen circle the floor - but he was now out of sight. We finally brought it to the attention of the server, who promptly took away the plate but then awkwardly avoided eye contact for the remainder of our meal.

When our server came by with the check, we were shocked to see that the charge for the chicken was still there, despite us sending it back 20% eaten. We asked for the charge to be removed, which he did begrudgingly. On the way out, we finally saw the manager and explained what had happened. The manager was incredibly apologetic and comped the remainder of our meal, which was incredibly kind. My guess is that my pizza had taken a couple of tries to get right, and in the mean time the chicken was under a warmer for an extended period of time. We were more upset at how the server handled the situation (no explanation for the long wait, assuming we'd still pay for dry chicken, and then not fully explaining to the manager what had happened) than anything else.

Now I totally understand they are new and working out the kinks. The food certainly has potential (although clearly needs some fine tuning and quality control) and I love the space. I'm hoping that my experience is a complete anomaly, but I have to admit I'm hesitant to give it another shot. I'll have to keep my eye on this thread to see if they continue to get solid reviews from other CHs here.

Gator’s at The Grill – Starting Next Week in San Mateo

I was able to visit them for lunch today and asked about their schedule. It didn't really seem like they knew what they wanted to do, except that "down the road" they were looking at doing an all you can eat Southern buffet, and that dinner service would eventually become a regular event. Kind of lines up with what my experience at their Back Porch BBQ was - they would tell me they'd be open certain days/hours and then change their mind (or I guess Bayonne came into the picture). It boggles my mind how a chef/restauranteur with this much experience could still seem like such an amateur when it comes to business venture choices and decisions.

Oh, but the BBQ meal I had was good. :) A bit cold, but still good nonetheless. I was still able to taste the smokiness on my lips an hour later. I'm looking forward to trying out the full menu....whenever and whatever that looks like!

Gator’s at The Grill – Starting Next Week in San Mateo

I came by last night to give it a shot and was disappointed to learn that the BBQ menu does not go into dinner. The Persian folks behind the counter said it was only for lunch time. Does anyone know when it will officially go into dinner service?

Gator’s at The Grill – Starting Next Week in San Mateo

Thanks for the update and in depth interview! Looking forward to trying it out. I'm hoping he's not trying to bite off more than he can chew - while my initial trysts at Back Porch were good, as he started to prepare for Bayonne, the quality of the food suffered tremendously.

Cajun/creole BBQ with possible Mexican flavors alongside koobideh and grilled-to-order crab? Sounds like it could be a hot success or a hot mess. :) I'm hoping it's the former!

Dungeness Crab Prices '10

Safeway in San Mateo/Belmont - $3.99 cracked and cleaned.

Good southern fried chicken in South Bay or Peninsula?

Piccadilly Catering now offers their fried chicken at lunch (used to only be during their Sunday cajun brunch). Much better than Lil Biscuit House's (in my opinion).

Piccadilly Catering
1072 Shell Blvd, K Foster City, CA

Bocce, Beer, Burgers! The Office, San Carlos

Ended up going tonight (we drove by and there were empty tables, so we decided to go for it). The spot was previously our old real estate agent's building, and I had assumed they had sold it - nope, I saw them making the rounds and behind the counter. (Super nice people, by the way.) They did a great job renovating and the crowd was lively, making it a nice environment to hang out in.

Unfortunately I thought the food was just okay - everything was cooked properly but way underseasoned. Both the burger meat and fries tasted a bit bland; not bad per se but I like my meals with a little seasoning (at least some salt and pepper mixed in). The service was good, though, and we got our food relatively quickly so it sounds like they are getting their act together.

I still have hopes for this restaurant - if anything, the owners' ties to the community will keep them afloat for a while. Both Jack's Prime and Godfather's Burgers made tweaks to their original menu that made them better, and I can see The Office doing something similar.

Jack's Prime
3723 S El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA 94403

inexpensive persian kabobs in the peninsula? (RWC)

Yup, still open - you may be referring to the new cafe that is coming in next door to Bangkok Thai.

Bocce, Beer, Burgers! The Office, San Carlos

Thanks for the review...I was excited to see the place come in but the Yelp reviews made me hesitate coming in. I'll have to give it a shot after the big San Mateo family crowds die down a bit. How do their burgers fare against Jack's Prime and Godfathers?

Jack's Prime
3723 S El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA 94403

inexpensive persian kabobs in the peninsula? (RWC)

My favorite kabab restaurant is Paradise Kebab House in RWC - at lunch you can get their koobideh with salad/rice for $7.50. They'll give you 10% off your first pick-up order. Great food, even better service - the owners are so friendly.

Paradise Kabab House
2653 Broadway St, Redwood City, CA question (use in either Shiok or Sumiya)

You will have to redeem them for a specific restaurant before you can use them. I've used it at Shiok with no issues at all.

best burger in Palo Alto?

Eh, I'm not sure why people like Marvin Gardens - yeah, the environment is divey but the food is just blah. I much prefer the burgers at Ausiello's Tavern on El Camino - no patio, but at least the food tastes good.

Marvin Gardens
1160 Old County Rd, Belmont, CA

recommendations for special occasion dining on the peninsula / South Bay

Have never been, but you can probably add Baume in Palo Alto to the list.

It's not fine dining, but the atmosphere alone makes The Mountain House in Woodside a nice special occasion spot.

201 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306

Good Eats close to San Mateo Event Center?

Izakaya Mai fits your bill, with the exception of the full bar w/cocktails....but if your group could make do with sake, beer, and wine, you could have some good food there. They are open until midnight (along with a few other Japanese restaurants in downtown SM).

Izakaya Mai Restaurant
212 2nd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

REALLY spicy food in the Bay Area?

Since we're dragging up this old thread again, just wanted to comment that I tried Ruen Pair after seeing this and you guys are RIGHT. I've been able to easily handle spicy foods everywhere, but when you say it here they mean it. I ordered a couple of dishes at their spiciest level and by bite four we were all in tears and hiccuping. But the flavors were so good that we powered through the pain and really enjoyed our meal. Once you start, you can't stop anyway because the fire just builds in your mouth if you pause. I loved it!

Ruen Pair
1045 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706

Flavor Brigade: Philly Italian Water Ices and Frozen Custard in Oakland

Oh my gosh, frozen custard and Italian ice has been this close to me and I've missed out for seven months?! Thanks for the tip - I'm making a special trip out there tomorrow!

San Fran Suggestions for dinner to celebrate in-laws' 40th anniversary

I'd also throw in Zuni Cafe into the mix, seems to fit your requirements.

Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Cannoli in the East Bay?

+1 recommendation for Romolo's if you want to cross the bridge. Awesome cannolis, and they have a fresh kit they'll box up for you if you want to bring them home and assemble them yourselves.

Whole wheat pizza joints in the City or on the Peninsula?

Thumbs up for Patxi's whole wheat, whose taste I actually prefer to their original crust. I like to order their Chicago deep dish with the whole wheat crust and low fat cheese and pretend like its somehow "healthy" food.

Fresh & Easy stores - when will they open?

This guy's blog has been tracking Fresh and Easy's progress since Day One, and speculates that they may open their first NorCal location in SF by the end of the year (or early 2011). It seems that the rest may continue to stay vacant until next year.

What's missing in SF?

I'm shocked that there's not one Mongolian BBQ restaurant in the entire city. (Hey, you didn't say it had to be good food!)

ISO a restaurant with a great view of the SF and under $50 per person

One Market has a three-course prix fixe dinner for $39, with wine pairings an additional $13. That puts you over budget, but for a pretty decent dinner at a one-star Michelin restaurant, I'd make the splurge. You can also just order mains (no apps) and a glass of wine to make it under your $50/pp rule. The restaurant doesn't have an immediate view but is next to the Ferry Building and you can wander around the waterfront afterwards.

I also agree with the Boulevard rec (just don't order apps or dessert and request a table with a view of the Bay bridge) and will throw in Lafitte even though I personally didn't care for my meal (others have had better luck). None of these suggestions have "easy parking" though, although if you get an early reservation you may have an easier time getting street metered parking.

Boulevard Restaurant
1 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94105

One Market Restaurant
1 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

5 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105

Best to-go fried chicken in Oakland / East Bay?

Caesar's Chicken in Hayward. I like mine spicy.

Caesar's Chicken Take Out
19450 Hesperian Blvd, Hayward, CA 94541

New Sandwich Truck in Redwood City!

Thanks for the heads up! Looking forward to trying them out soon.

Lafitte - Has anyone been?

They undercooked my pork sausage when I was there. I won't go back until I'm more confident that they've gotten more consistent with their execution - based on Bauer's review, it sounds like that may be a while.

Underground Market

I got there around 5:30 and was able to make a couple of rounds in the market before the crowds built up. I liked the first pulled pork sandwich (I believe the one with drunk whisky sauce?), the margherita pizza created in a cut-out Weber grill, and of course the sticky buns. I wanted to go back in to get a list of the vendors I liked, but by then the lines had gotten so insanely long that I left. I'm surprised that the website doesn't post a list of vendors so we can go back and sample their wares after the event. All in all, I'd return, although I'd definitely make sure to show up early and leave early like I did this time around.

Here's a link to some great shots of this month's event - it's the only way I was able to find out who made those lovely sticky buns. :)