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san jose recommendations

My new-favorite-place in San Jose is Blackbird.

Outdoor seating, indoor seating, music most nights that's well curated.

about 11 hours ago
bbulkow in San Francisco Bay Area

Umami Burger SOMA-Seriously? (Long Review)

But now, do you still eat them? Where else would you compare them to?

Umami Burger SOMA-Seriously? (Long Review)

As a guy who likes his burgers, I don't eat at umami.

I've tried it about three times, once in so-cal, twice at the palo alto location near my house.

I like more heft in my patty.
I find the umami additions subtle - overly so
the price is high
the bun is too big for the burger

On the cheap side, I like Five Guys, Jefferey's, In n Out (to a lesser extent).

In the middle, I like the Creamery in Palo Alto, at Strich in San Jose, and Stein's in Mountain View.

There are a lot of good expensive burgers. Places like Village Pub, Refuge (pastrami on top), Mayfield, Martin's West.

I even like my home burgers better than umami, for all its extras. My mexican butcher actually grinds his chuck daily out of real meat, the fat content is such that a "medium" is super juicy and unusually flavorful - even over gas, and when I do charcoal or wood, so much the better.

I am not a fan of the Counter. The burgers are only OK, the toppings can be fun, but the service is generally so slow it's not worth it.

That's just greater palo alto. Umami is nowhere, man.

Old Port Lobster Shack - Downhill alert or just wildly inconsistent? [Redwood City]

Visited, one data point, didn't find anything amiss.

As a new-englander for some of my life, I've road-tripped to maine from boston for some of that succulent, succulent lobster. I've had clams on the beach in Rhode Island.

OPLS seemed "fine".

What boggled the mind was prices. $20 for a roll. $20 for a basket of clams.

Were the clams just right? Well, I do like my clams cooked a touch more, but the taste was spot-on. Not greasy, low breading quotient. I don't know why there's no clam roll.

Was the lobster just right? Yes. Nothing was black or shriveled, taste was just right.

Was the atmosphere pleasant? Sure, if sitting on a parking lot overlooking a fast food burger joint is pleasant.

But, man, $70 out-the-door for two people, for what I consider cheap beach food. A bit shocking.

Fine brisket at Memphis Minnie's (SF)

I have been to Salinas City BBQ. Enjoyed. I found Trail Dust smokier.

I attended this event in houston. I understand that everyone in texas thinks houston's BBQ is inferior, I got to believe out of the 20 places sampled, some were as good as the Lockhart places.

Fine brisket at Memphis Minnie's (SF)

1. I haven't tried MM. It's just not in a part of SF that I've ever frequented (sure, now and then, for the Toranado).

2. I didn't have the brisket at Smokestack, but was very impressed by the pulled pork. If you're in SF, I think it's really worth a try.

3. There are a couple of places in berkeley/oakland I haven't tried. I have tried perdition.

4. The best brisket I've had, especially if you like the high side, is Smoking Pig in SJ. That's a long trip.

5. If you like smoke & lean brisket, get thee to Trail Dust in Morgan Hill. You'll be sweating smoke for 24 hours.

Bay Bridge lights restaurant [San Francisco]

I have seen them from the south.

As stated, it's a dim shadow of the north-facing view and I wouldn't recommend it to someone wanting to "see the view".

My Hunt for a California Burrito in the Bay Area.

On 16th between Mission and Valencia roughly across from Pancho Villa. In SF.

Fine brisket at Memphis Minnie's (SF)

The bay area seems to have a serious surge of BBQ. There's always a long-simmering BBQ capability, but with Smokestack, Perdidtion, 3 Pigs, probably others in addition. I think these places would be in the mid-range in texas.

Bay Bridge lights restaurant [San Francisco]

Waterbar and Epic Roasthouse are really the only restaurants with that kind of view. Sinbad is further away (and likely has food a step down), MarketBar really doesn't have the same view (if it has a good view, it would be few tables), Chaya might have a view at one or two tables and probably has better food, one not mentioned might be Harry Denton's (don't they have a view in that direction?) but food there would be sub-par.

Haven - Oakland

Had a nice brunch there, saturday noon-ish. The menu was nice and short, GF liked her johnnycakes, I liked my chorizo hash. No service problems or timing problems, as we ordered only one course, and were looking for a snappy meal (had another mission in the early afternoon). Sitting outside was pleasant, food was more than good, place was nearly empty, surprisingly so. It's a better place than that, although maybe a really nice saturday, everyone was off kiteboarding or something.

Our other options were chop house, hopscotch. I know the food would have been better at Hopscotch, but I was happy with the pleasant seating.

Organic/Farm-to-Table Chinese Restaurant in SF?

Garden Fresh in Palo Alto makes a point of fully vegan and "compassionate", but does not claim either organic or "farm-to-table". If you're really interested, you might mail and ask them.

Looking for the best Polish restaurant

I like the Russian Family restaurant in RWC. It has the real eastern European feel.

3 Pigs San Carlos :: any notes?

Well put to all of these. I hope for their BBQ improvement. The beer selection really is impressive.

One suggestion I should have made to them (perhaps they're out there): in Oakland-style, one can get a "plate" with 1-way, 2-way, 3-way combos (Flints I miss you).

Similarly, at Smokestack on 3rd in SF, you've got a great beer selection, and BBQ, and they do the BBQ by the pound - pick as much of whatever you want. Smokestack is (currently) better than 3 Pigs.

3 Pigs, to taste the most, you might get a sandwich of any single type, then you can have a "taste" of a different meat for an extra $5 (a big taste). Too much. I did see you can get 3 tacos of different meats for fairly cheap.

3 Pigs San Carlos :: any notes?

I stopped by.

First, they've been open only a few days (like, 5). They opened a few weeks ago, found they weren't ready or trained up, and closed again to sort things out.

Beer: clearly a focus. Some really unusual beer (even compared to Steins), but only a few taps (7 or so). Pretty good. BIG bottle supply, they rather suggest getting a large bottle.

BBQ: I had an error on my order, so only got to taste the brisket and pulled pork. Each was OK. The brisket was chopped not sliced; I prefer sliced. There was a mix of fatty and lean, I prefer calling how much of what (lean by default). Even though there was a visual smoke ring, there was _NO_ taste of smoke, which is disappointing. The pulled pork had a nice crunch and general piggy taste, but was on the dry side (not succulent).

Prices are fairly high when you add everything up (beer, sides, whatever).

Worth further investigation, but not an immediate must-go. If the BBQ improves....

Help a pressed for time NY Hound find the Asian food of her dreams?

Yes, No, No, which is to say, iDumpling doesn't go in for much frippery. They will give you proper scallions n vinegar with your dumplings.

Need Serious Help - Party of 10 for Tomorrow Night

The three times I've been there in the last year did not have deafening noise. Once was at the bar, twice was in the side room. It wasn't silent, mind you, but plenty of conversations happened (at elevated talking levels). If you've been there, you know the scene, so you'll make up your own mind.

Let me give you another shot: Gitane. They seem to often have last minute space, the food's decent. I've always eaten at the bar there, so don't know the noise level of the main room. I think they have patio space, too.

Two other points: AQ isn't that far away, nor is the old-heaven's-dog space (don't know what's in there now). Prospect should be on your list even though it's not a board favorite. Probably RN74 too, although I dislike taking anyone to someplace as chain-ish in SF.

A little further away is Chaya, which can often be a "port in a storm" for dinners like this. I had a very interesting "take on a hamburger" off the bar menu a week ago, and it's a gorgeous room. Main menu is a little dull. Good drinks.

A rarely-mentioned sleeper would be Fringale. I haven't been there in over a decade, and french isn't that challenging. Yank Sing hasn't been mentioned; it's not that far. I've always disliked the service in the evening. You might also consider Straits. The menu is much better than the food, but if it's like the other straits, your honor will be intact.

Help a pressed for time NY Hound find the Asian food of her dreams?

The favorite beef pancake closest within 5 miles of my house is at iDumpling in RWC. It's savory and drippy and the crust has a nice crunch. It's not rolled, though.

Need Serious Help - Party of 10 for Tomorrow Night

I've also done 10 at Fly Trap, including discerning japanese guys, and all had a good time & meal.

3 Pigs San Carlos :: any notes?

Anyone try 3 Pigs in San Carlos yet?

I ran into it (apparently now owned by The Office people) a week before opening at Johnston's Salt Box, where I saw folks loitering about on the sidewalk --- they were pre-opening.

Yelp reviews are, well, yelp reviews.... any locals ready to opine?

Martins West (Redwood City)

MW still putting out good food. I love they have good specials - had an amazing grilled carrot dish, and hamachi kama. I love how they keep their food and menu up to date, and keep working with new ideas.

On a saturday, could just walk in. Surprising. Prices are still reasonable - $50/pp with beer, wine, cocktail, desert (although only one entree).

Freewheel brewery, RWC

Had another visit.

These guys specialize in cask-pulled, with about 6 casks simultaneously. It's pretty danged good, if you like british beer, as stated before, you'd like it.

The food menu is pretty broad now, with BBQ and Fish and Chips.

This summer they have a thursday evening music series. It's a partnership with the taqueria next door, it seems, and you can sit on the patio and order food & beer from each. Swank.

My Hunt for a California Burrito in the Bay Area.

That's the spot, but the in-person menu is very different from the online. In-person, the "Cali-burrito" is loud-n-proud at the top of the board.

Here's the y*lp

Doughnut Dolly, Berkeley

As long as Gilman St is still blowing punk, you'll have a little cred. If that shuts down, it's over.

Help a pressed for time NY Hound find the Asian food of her dreams?

Besides saying Tommy Thai is actually good, which it is, let me clue you in on their "heat scale" (something I detest at these kinds of restaurants. I greatly prefer Night+Market in LA, which says on the menu "we cook each dish as it is prepared. We don't take special orders. If you don't like spicy food, ask your waitperson, and they will directly you to less spicy dishes. Would more restaurants did that.).

At TT,

10 means "cook like you mean it". Do not be afraid to order 10, but you might get your face blown off (which that regional food should do).

8 means "turn it down a little but give me serious kick"

6 means "barely tasting any kick"

4 means "bland".

I had this tasting at TT where we had a company lunch there (one of the bangalore guys chose it), and I had a chance to sample several dishes at several settings.

My Hunt for a California Burrito in the Bay Area.

I'm late to the party again.

I finally had, after all these years, a cali burrito (see other thread where "californians don't say cali"... guess not, dudes).

Angelos is a good old fashioned late night (till 3am) taqueria just outside the bar district of san jose. After catching a late set at the SJ Jazz festival, and not having eaten since a small lunch, I was ready for a few calories, and a "cali-burrito" was first on the menu.

I got mine Al Pastor, and it was delightful. A saucy mess (but expertly wrapped). Spicy, crunchy (al pastor and fries), tasty.

Being new to the genre I can't rank it, but you know all be on the lookout.

We seemed to hit the place at a bad time, and it took forever for us to get through the line, and served. Place is clean. Yelp gives 4.5 stars, likely due to the late night drunk factor (see el faralito). Compared to Faralito, the place is cleaner. GF had a regular chicken, which was poorly assembled. Tasty rice, but all rice and beans, didn't find much chicken or salsa.

Visiting Restaurant Recommendations

According to OT, there are no tables between 6 and 8 at trou normand for weeks. If one goes early, 5 or 5:30 or 6, it seems possible to snag a table, and probably the bar will be open.

Visiting Restaurant Recommendations

Evening dinner at Revival after coming back on BART. Sit at the bar.

Okonomiyaki: SFBA Dish of the Month August 2014

I wouldn't go as far as to "terrible" and "nasty" but it didn't work for me.

Lunch spot with great food and beer for group of 7-9 [San Francisco]

The two places I was going to recommend are dinner only.