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San Francisco Restaurant Reviews & Recommendations


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#31 rslux

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 08:38 PM

If you are looking for a great Chinese meal, however, don't bother. There is no great Chinese restaurant in SFO. Catch a plane to Hong Kong instead.

I'm very partial to the dim sum (and just about everything else) at Tong Kiang out in the Richmond District.

But generally speaking, Chinese food in SF is not that fabulous.

#32 dvs

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 12:55 AM

If you are looking for a great Chinese meal, however, don't bother. There is no great Chinese restaurant in SFO. Catch a plane to Hong Kong instead.

I'm very partial to the dim sum (and just about everything else) at Tong Kiang out in the Richmond District.

But generally speaking, Chinese food in SF is not that fabulous.

so not true... you need to come out with me :D

#33 Stone

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 10:00 AM

dvs -- where would you suggest for Chinese food?

#34 dvs

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 01:26 PM

dvs -- where would you suggest for Chinese food?

erik's chinese on church at 26th
koi palace (daly city i think)
yank sing for dim sum

#35 Stone

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 01:33 PM

I agree that Erichs is probably the best in SF proper. It's just not great. A little too fusion. (Is zuchhini a tradiational veggie in Chinese cooking? I don't think so, but it's all over SF chinese food.) Although possibly the best sizzling rice soup I've had. Clean subtley flavored broth, ample quantities of fresh, sweet shrimp and scallops (the chicken is usually dry) and fresh, crisp veggies (yes, an SF chinese restaurant that serves crisp veggies).

I also like Yank Sing, but others with much more dim sum experience tell me that it's not authentic.

Considering that almost every SF person I've talked to lists the same 4 or 5 restaurants (Erichs, Elizas (which is all flash and no substance), House of Nanking, Yank Sing and Ton Kiang), and in my humble opinion none of these is great, I'd say the city needs some Chinese food help.

Pardon if I repeat myself, but Shen Hua in Berkeley is fantastic.

#36 Stone

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 02:20 PM

I lunched at Henry's Hunan today. It wasn't great. The hot & sour soup just wasn't hot and sour enough. It looked great, had terrific texture and a good supply tofu, fungus, shoots, scallions. Just needed a bit more oomph.

The fried rock cod fillets were pretty good. A tad heavy on the breading, but the fish was otherwise light and tasty. The fillets came with a spicy coating of hot bean sauce, copious garlic and ginger, and scallions.

The Henry's Special -- little shrimps, scallops and chicken in mixed veggies -- came in the same sauce as the fish. (Odd.) It was a littie much.

And the fish and the special both glowed an eerie red color.

#37 mixmaster b

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 05:24 PM

I am not a resident, but from recent trips, I like Lulu's a lot. Have had a few good meals there, and the atmosphere is really fun and lively.

Plouf is wonderful fun, too--you feel like you are in a special hidden spot--though I've only had appetizers at the bar.

Heehee-It is fun for an Angeleno to read the Chinese debate. SF kicks LA butt in restaurants, but we do have some great Chinese down here. :biggrin:

#38 rslux

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 06:09 PM

I used to eat lunch at House of Nanking when I worked in that part of town. It was good, very fresh food, but not a place I'd go out of my way for.

#39 mosnow

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Posted 20 September 2002 - 01:48 PM

A big No vote on Brandy Ho's. Any casual list must include "Delfina" and "Slanted Door" . SD's new location makes the restaurant much more accessable.

#40 Jason Perlow

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Posted 20 September 2002 - 03:12 PM

A big No vote on Brandy Ho's.   Any casual list must include "Delfina"  and "Slanted Door" .  SD's new location makes the restaurant much more accessable.

By New York standards I think Brandy Ho's is a particularly good Hunan restaurant. Whats up with you guys? Sure, it mostly caters to white people, but that doesnt necessarily make it bad.

Mind you, I've had a awful lot of Chinese food in SF (although, for the most part Cantonese) and in NY.
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#41 Stone

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Posted 20 September 2002 - 03:27 PM

I've been to House of Nanking a few times, and I think it's got some very good food. Simple, straightforward, tasty. I had a soup there, It think it was a version of crabmeat and asparagus with chopped thai chillis, that was fantastic.

Jason -- I generally prefer Chinese food for Jewish people over Chinese food for Chinese people. Perhaps therein lies the source of our schism.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Slanted Door is the most overrated restaurant in San Francisco. You can get the same or better food from almost any Vietnamese restaurant in the tenderloin without the arrogance and for a lot less money. You will have to give up the wine list, but you're eating Vietnamese food.

#42 Jason Perlow

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Posted 21 September 2002 - 05:14 AM

Jason -- I generally prefer Chinese food for Jewish people over Chinese food for Chinese people.  Perhaps therein lies the source of our schism.

.

So you consider it to bee too authentically chinese?
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#43 Toby

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Posted 21 September 2002 - 07:46 AM

Is the Mayflower (out on 27th and Geary???) still there? They had good dim sum. (Yank Sing (sp?) isn't real dim sum.) I haven't lived in San Francisco for a while, but the Chinese food out in the Avenues was usually much better than in Chinatown. (With the exception of Yuet Lee on Stockton & Columbus (or Broadway)?? -- I'll repeat, best salt and pepper squid I've ever tasted -- they used to have a restaurant in the Mission near my house painted the most appalling green, but great squid, village-style braised duck, white cooked chicken.) There was also a Chao Chou-style restaurant in Chinatown -- I think on Stockton? It was upstairs in a corner building -- they had Chao Chou braised goose.

I thought the Slanted Door was terrible, food had no taste; anywhere in the Tenderloin was better. Also, wonderful Cambodian food in San Francisco -- a little place in the Outer Mission (around Mission and 34th Street) -- don't know if it's still there; a couple of places around Larkin Street. Cambodian food may be the most delicious of all the Southeast Asian foods -- very delicate, lots of herbs.

For non-Asian casual food, is Liberty Cafe in Bernal Heights still there? She made great chicken pot pies.

#44 Stone

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Posted 21 September 2002 - 04:12 PM

Jason -- I generally prefer Chinese food for Jewish people over Chinese food for Chinese people.  Perhaps therein lies the source of our schism.

.

So you consider it to bee too authentically chinese?

Actually, since I grew up eating Chinese food in the NY suburbs, I don't really know enough to say what's authentic and what's not. I just know what I like.

I agree with Toby that the Asian food in the Avenues is generally better than the stuff in town.

I always welcome Slanted Door bashers into my heart. But to be fair, I need to give it another try someday.

#45 Jason Perlow

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Posted 21 September 2002 - 04:19 PM

Jason -- I generally prefer Chinese food for Jewish people over Chinese food for Chinese people.  Perhaps therein lies the source of our schism.

.

So you consider it to bee too authentically chinese?

Actually, since I grew up eating Chinese food in the NY suburbs, I don't really know enough to say what's authentic and what's not. I just know what I like.

Truthfully, I didnt start eating "real" Chinese food until maybe 8 years ago, about the time I was first dating Rachel.

I too grew up on NY suburbia Szech-Jew-an Palace food. I still like it.

You could probably do a whole thread on the merits of King Yum on Union Turnpike in Hollis Hills.
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#46 mosnow

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Posted 23 September 2002 - 05:37 PM

I don't know how you can bash Slanted Door. Not sure what "attitude" could have been thrown out. They are super accomodating and the food is incredible. Ok, so it is not authentic Vietnamese but it is a great interpretation.

Your are correct about the Chineses in this town. I have ben looking for a good Chinese restaurant since I got here.

#47 Stone

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Posted 23 September 2002 - 05:45 PM

I don't know how you can bash Slanted Door.  Not sure what "attitude" could have been thrown out.  They are super accomodating and the food is incredible.  Ok, so it is not authentic Vietnamese but it is a great interpretation.  

I brief recap of my experience (and I admit that I should give it another chance):

When making reservations for a Friday night, my friend was told to leave a credit card in case anyone didn't show up. She was called on Wednesday to confirm the reservation. She was called again Friday around noon for yet another reservation and to request that we please arrive on time. this alone amounts to unacceptable "attitude" in my book.

We arrived on time for our reservation and, of course, SD was not ready. Let's just say the hostess was not pleasant. Their first suggestion was to wait outside in rain. We (six of us) were then shuttled to one corner of the bar, then to another. We were then asked to line up shoulder to shoulder with our backs against the wall facing the open kitchen. The hostess said, "I have an idea, perhaps you can . . . " My friend interrupted, "perhaps you can get us our table."

By the time we got our table it was at least 9:45 (9 pm reservations). The waiter was very good, but the food wasn't. The steamed sea bass was dry and tasteless and was served on a bed of shitakes that simply overpowered any taste left in the fish. The noodles were uninspired, and if I recall correctly, could have been purchased at any restaurant in the tenderloin -- except that SD added a "trendy fusion" veggie to justify the cost. A good but nothing special stir-fry was served in a clay pot/a good but nothing special grilled chicken (I believe) was served with lettuce leaves. Ooh. The shaken beef was very good, but not better than could be had at Sunflower down the block.

Yes, I had one bad experience, but at that price, with that "you're lucky we're serving you attitude", and with that reputation, I expected much better. And I find many people who, when hearing the words "Slanted Door," respond like P's dog, "the most overrated restaurant in town."

On the other hand, I admit that I can be an ornery, cynical bastard who likes to buck the trends. Maybe in November when I return from my vacation we can get an SF egullet dinner at the Door?

#48 mosnow

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 09:35 AM

Oh yes the old "when we give you a reservation it is really only a suggested time not the actual time you can expect to be seated policy". Enough to turn anyone off. It is one thing to wait for an epic meal but to wait for a disappointing meal is plenty enough reason to write off a restaurant.

#49 Stone

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 09:38 AM

I usually don't blame the restaurant for a wait, even with a reservation. They can't help it if the party that sat at 7 didn't leave at 9. It was the two confirming phone calls, the annoying request that we not be late and the unfriendliness of the staff that pissed me off.

#50 Margaret Pilgrim

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 06:52 PM

Have to agree with Dstone001 that Slanted Door is kept alive by tourists and those who haven't had the opportunity to experience (and be blown away by) real Vietnamese food. Sorry for the negativism, but SD is a sorry table.
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#51 mosnow

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Posted 25 September 2002 - 03:28 PM

OK, I am open to some suggestions for outstanding Vietnamese in SF. Give me some recommendations and I will try them.

#52 Stone

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Posted 25 September 2002 - 03:48 PM

Sunflower is my favorite (I started a thread on it). It straddles 16th and Valencia. I think it's at least as good as SD, at a much lower price, with a lot less hassle. Since I live a block away, it's where I go for vietnamese food.

I also love Tu Lan at 6th and Market. Although I guess I'll admit that at some level my appreciation of Tu Lan stems from its seediness, which is the analogue to those whose appreciation of SD is based on its trendiness. (see thread on reverse snobbery.)

Best is to try random places in the Tenderloin and out in the avenues.

#53 gknl

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Posted 26 September 2002 - 12:27 PM

OK, I am open to some suggestions for outstanding Vietnamese in SF.  Give me some recommendations and I will try them.

Does it have to be in SF proper? Anyone tried Le Cheval in Oakland? Probably not the most "authentic" depending on whether you include the French colonial influences in authenticity, but I like it. Too bad for you if you don't! :biggrin:

Vo's is supposed to be good too, though I haven't made it there yet.

#54 Toby

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Posted 26 September 2002 - 03:46 PM

I also love Tu Lan at 6th and Market.  Although I guess I'll admit that at some level my appreciation of Tu Lan stems from its seediness, which is the analogue to those whose appreciation of SD is based on its trendiness.  (see thread on reverse snobbery.)

My first experience of Vietnamese food was at Tu Lan in 1979. I've always loved the place, although I think it declined in relation to other Vietnamese restaurants that subsequently opened in the Tenderloin. But the palpable greasy mist that hung over the upstairs dining room made it really special and reminded me of my favorite coffeeshop in New York's Chinatown (now cleaned up), where it was the custom to throw one's used napkins on the floor, where they piled up like snow until the end of the day, and everyone chainsmoked.

#55 rslux

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Posted 27 September 2002 - 11:24 PM

I also love Tu Lan at 6th and Market.  Although I guess I'll admit that at some level my appreciation of Tu Lan stems from its seediness, which is the analogue to those whose appreciation of SD is based on its trendiness.  (see thread on reverse snobbery.)

I did not enjoy going to Tu Lan at all. I found the seediness to be off-putting rather than charming. Also, the neighborhood (6th and Mission) is not one I felt comfortable walking in at night, even when accompanied by two guys. Most of all, though, the food was not as good as I had expected it to be given its relatively high Zagat rating. I don't recommend it.

#56 Toby

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 08:52 PM

I also love Tu Lan at 6th and Market.  Although I guess I'll admit that at some level my appreciation of Tu Lan stems from its seediness, which is the analogue to those whose appreciation of SD is based on its trendiness.  (see thread on reverse snobbery.)

I did not enjoy going to Tu Lan at all. I found the seediness to be off-putting rather than charming. Also, the neighborhood (6th and Mission) is not one I felt comfortable walking in at night, even when accompanied by two guys. Most of all, though, the food was not as good as I had expected it to be given its relatively high Zagat rating. I don't recommend it.

If you think 6th and Mission is sketchy now, you should have seen it in the 70s.

Is Meade's Cafeteria still there? Talking about seedy.

#57 Kathy Kobata

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Posted 08 October 2002 - 04:54 PM

Boulevard is a favorite. Also just tried One Market for the first time and was quite happy with it. Also Jeanty at Jack's was very good, too.

#58 bcnchef

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 05:28 PM

It's taken longer than I thought to finish this list, but finally here it is. I could have added another 10 items I think, but just couldn't find the photos for them...

Take a look -- anything you think has been left off? Anything you disagree with?

:)

http://www.foodlover.../dining/sfobest

Jordi.

#59 docsconz

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 06:12 PM

Fantastic, Jordi. You made me hungry and I just ate!
John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

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#60 melkor

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 06:31 PM

Wow. That's outstanding.