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I dined at Chenery Park on Tuesday night.

Chenery Park is located in the "downtown" area of Glen Park, a less than desirable neighborhood of San Francisco. Chenery Park was opened about a year ago by an alumni from Boulevard. Cuisine is comfort food that claims to be oriented to the Southeast. The space is three levels and very open and inviting. Prices are generally between 15 and 22 dollars for an entree.

Service was very poor. The red haired harpy that runs the front of the room needs lots of work. For a party of five, we were seated at 9.15 with 8.30 reservations. Food was mediocre at best. Fried catfish was cut to resemble Gordon's fishsticks. Gumbo was a thin slick of red sauce with two shrimp and a half cup of under cooked rice. Double cut porkchop with bacon mashed potatoes was very tasty and worth the $17 they cahrged for it. All of the specials of the evening were sold out by the time we got seated - however they didn't tell us this until 10 minutes after we put or order in to the kitchen.

The wine list had about 100 selections of decently priced but banal selections. Corkage was $15 on the Turley Zin Toffanelli 1999 I brought into the restaurant. Given that the restaurant is in San Francisco, the wine list really needs some work.

Overall, this place could be pretty good if everything worked. Unfortunately, they don't. Glen Park is so starved for a decent restaurant of this level that the restaurant owners do not need to put any effort in to improving their business. Not recommended. 78 points. The last time I had such a poor dining experience was at Bacar, by far the worst high priced restaurant in the City.
Last night I dined at Delfina. Delfina is on 18th in the middle of Guerrero and Dolores in the Mission district of San Francisco. The restaurant does not offer valet service and parking is difficult in this area. I recommend taking the taxi.

Delfina opened a few years back as a very small restaurant offering California/Italian cuisine. Two years ago it took over the business next door and now there is a little more elbow room. Despite the addition the restaurant is still usually packed and requires reservations at least a few weeks ahead of time.

The restaurant is clean and modern styled. Lots of Blair on the walls. They have done a good job of hiding what was here before.

The wine list only offers about 60 selections but they are well chosen and reasonably priced. Corkage is $15 per bottle. We brought in a 99 Beaux Freres Estate Pinot Noir and a 98 Martinelli Blue Slide however we could just as easily have gotten wines one would want to drink off the list.

Service was attentive, friendly and excellent. Items were brought (such as extra glasses so that the wines could be tasted side by side) before we even asked for them. The waiter had tasted many of the things on the menu that day and was able to assist some of the more timid diners into finding things they would like.

Based on last night's menu the retaurant is morphing into slightly more cutting edge cuisine. Prices at this restaurant are very reasonable for this level of cuisine. Entrees were almost all in the high teens. Appetizers were usually in the high single digits. I started with a fritto misto consisting of five main ingredients all of which start with the letter B. The playful twist was well executed with very light almost greaseless frying technique displayed. Beans, Breast of poussin (?), Blossom (Zucchini), and a B leafy green vegetable I don't remember the name of were very enjoyable. However the sine qua non of the dish was the fifth B - Bunny Brains. Whole deep fried rabbit brains were exquisite in texture. Soft and creamy on the inside with sage overtones coupled with the crispy outer shell. Someyhing I would order again. $12 for this course and that was the most expensive appetizer available. Halibut in caper butter ($17) was well done but the portion was small. Two squabs with squab liver crostini brought me back to italy the falvors were so true ($21).

Overall, I highly recommend Delfina. Prices are very reasonable, service excellent, the wine list a perfect example of how a small list can still be interesting, and well done cuisine. But for its location (I live on the other side of the City) I would be a regular. 92 points.

[ 07-17-2002, 09:49 AM: Message edited by: JonesWineNo1 ]
Usurping the thread....

Went to "The Dinning Room" at the Ritz Carlton Hotel here in San Francisco wednesday evening with a couple of friends. There were a total of four of us and we brought three bottles. We were informed when we sat down that they only allowed two bottles per group to be brought in. So the 1988 Krug Clos Mesnil would have to wait until the next evening to be consumed (they had it on the list anyways so we probably wouldn't have been able to consume it). So we were "stuck" with a 1970 La Mission Haut Brion and a 1989 Haut Brion.

The Menu is in two pieces, a 3/4/5 course tasting menu and a Prix Fixe. There is also a "Chef's Degustation" menu. We ordered the Chef's Degustation and picked a white Burgundy (1980 something Puligy Montrachet from Lefaive IIRC). The Degustation menu is not necessarily fixed so we asked to get them to match food to the wines we had brought and bought. I don't recall alot about the food, it didn't seem as good as the last time I was there. Here is what I do remember. The first course was a seafood salad for myself and the other gentleman. The Ladies got tomatos served five ways. The second to last course was from the Cheese cart and went quite well with the Sauterne we picked out. We were allowed to pick several cheeses and there was a very helpful "cheese dude" to explain the cheeses (a nice Irish fellow, one of the Ladies pointed this out and he said "extra cheese for you"). The last course was some chocolate, how it was prepared I don't recall but it was pretty good (I'm not one who particularly likes chocolate).

Wine service was very good until the Sauterne. They had Speigelau glassware as is pretty standard for restaurants in San Francisco. The Haut Brion was decanted while we were drinking the Lefaive, the La Mission was just opened and not decanted.

Toward the end of the meal we ordered a Sauterne (the name escapes me). This is were the wine service got a bit odd. We were given glasses there were like small champagne flutes. This seemed a bit odd so we requested some chardonnay glasses so we could get the full aroma of the wine. These were immediately brought to the table and used.

Cost for the meal was $100/plate for the Degustation menu, $280 for the Lefaive and $190 for the Sauterne. Overall a nice evening but the food was a bit disappointing from what I remember last time. I was expecting something really great and it didn't live up to it. Service was great as I remember from last time. It was fairly quiet so conversations could be held easily. I would consider this a place to go if you really want to splurge. If it was "on" like the first time I went then it is a definite. If not then I would recomend something else as there are plenty of places in the San Francisco area to get great food (but typically not as good of service).
It was wonderful to step into the new Fleur de Lys the other night.
The new floor design is great with the bar now on the right side
as you enter. There is a new private room where the old bar was,
and it is beautiful, lined with wine storage and a fireplace.
We were greeted warmly as always and proceeded to the main dining
area. The menu is different now with you choosing from different
sections to create a 3, 4 or 5 course dinner. But first Chef Keller
sent out two amuse bouches, the first a spoon of lobster with a
carrot-cardamon gelee. Then he sent out a single malpeque oyster
with casino butter...wow both were great and both were getting
us hungry. Then some of the first courses (there were 3 of us),
Foie Gras 2 ways...one on a mini "hamburger" and one in a Baekeoffe.
Crayfish salad with corn, and quail with choucroute, all fantastic.
Then second course we all had the day boat scallop with caviar
on a blini with buttery leeks. The main courses were Monk fish
with serrano ham and figs, skate and squid ink pasta and veal loin
with truffles. We had a trio of desserts which were great and warm
fresh madelines with coffee and calvados. You can't do any better
than that. But we did, afterwards Hubert Keller showed us around
the new interior and then sat with us and told us of the hassles
involved with reopening the restaurant.
Reopening was not a foregone conclusion. A couple
times Hubert was ready to pack it all in. Thank goodness he stayed
in there fighting the city. Good news also, he has not abandoned
the idea of a Brasserie. He is waiting for the right location and
better economic times. To us he seems re-energized and is cooking
better than ever. Go there yourself, you will love it. Oh yeah the wine! We started with Veuve Cliquot NV, then had a '97 Kistler Durell, and finished with a '94 Leoville Barton.

[ 09-22-2002, 05:25 PM: Message edited by: gfroerer ]
In July I celebrated my 40th birthday at Restaurant Gary Danko. Bumping this thread has prompted me to publish my notes.

I haven't had a dinner experience like this since I was in Paris. It was almost worth turning 40....

The restaurant is located one block from Ghirardelli Square, in an old house that looks pretty run-down from the outside. But when you step inside, it's a completely different world -- all shiny wood, plush leather, soft lighting and, unlike the tourists outside, everyone is dressed up. The effect is shocking, like a science-fiction film where you step through a portal into a different dimension.

Although the atmosphere was ultra-fancy, it was not stuffy. The staff were all very friendly, and the table next to us was celebrating a birthday by wearing silly hats and being merry.

The decor and the menu are chic American, but the service was totally European -- our table was tended by no fewer than 4 waiters at once, and our dinner lasted over three hours, with long pauses between each course. (I must say this is not a bad thing. Since moving back here to America I always feel rushed in restaurants. One time I was in a place that brought out our main courses before we had even finished the appetizers. I prefer European service; they allow you to enjoy the dinner and some conversation.)

I had a martini while perusing the menu and the staggering wine list, which comes in a leather-bound book with a table of contents. Then we were served an amuse-bouche: a chilled asparagus-puree soup, with olive oil and marinated raw scallops. Very delicate, and a subtle-yet-firm demonstration of Mr. Danko's talents.

Dinner was a five-course meal that went from fish to meat to dessert. For the fish courses we drank a 1998 German riesling (sorry the name is lost!), which was a bit too sweet for my taste, but my friend enjoyed it. For the meat courses we had Chateau Pavie 1995 -- which is not a great wine, but it was appropriately delicate and light to match the food, and did not require a home equity loan. (I resisted the temptation to order the Chateau Latour 1926, which was available on the menu for $5,000. [Eek!] I think I'll save that wine for when I win the lottery.)

First Course: Risotto with lobster and black truffles. The lobster was soft and sweet, and the truffles addictive as always. We could taste the distinct flavors of each ingredient, but they also came together beautifully, playing games on the tongue. At this point in the meal we seriously discussed the possibility of eating here every night, or at least getting a standing reservation once a week.

Second Course: Seared ahi tuna. It was a rectangular block of tuna that had been rolled in black peppercorns and seared in sesame oil, warm on the outside, raw on the inside, sitting on a bed of greens and carrots. The fish would melt in your mouth, leaving the crunch of the peppercorns, and was sublime when washed down with the riesling.

The third course (sort of the main course, I guess) was a garlic- and soy-glazed filet of beef, tender enough to be cut with a fork, served with green beans and potatoes au gratin. The flavor of the beef was so intense, I was at a loss for words. I'm not sure if this is because it was the first beef I had eaten in several months, but it was just incredible.

The fourth course was an assortment of cheeses. Just like in Paris, they wheeled a cart to our table that was practically a cheese shop, and cut pieces of the ones we chose. We had a goat cheese from Spain, a sheep milk cheese from France, a 2-year-old cheddar from Canada that was marvelous, and a beer-soaked soft cheese made by Belgian monks. Spectacular.

The fifth course was dessert. I had a lemon tart with fresh blueberries and strawberries; my friend had an incredible chocolate souffle with a chocolate sauce and a creme anglaise. The souffle was like a cloud.

This was a very memorable meal that has now increased by desire to go back to Paris. It is expensive, even by San Francisco standards, but definitely a good choice to celebrate a special occasion.
Moved from its own topic since it fits better here.

Went to The Slanted Door in San Francisco Thursday night. We left a bar after the 6th inning of the world series game and were able to be seated immediately. For those of you who haven't been to the restaurant in awhile things have changed. They are no long in the Mission and are currently located at 100 Brannan which is at Embarcadero and Brannan. The new space is much larger than the old space. We were seated at a community table but there was plenty of space between parties so this was not a problem. There were two of us and we had four total dishes. Things are served family style so they encourage sharing of the dishes. The menu is divided into about five sections, appetizers, salads and salads, meats, seafood, and vegie. This division is not well labeled and we had to ask our server about this (the different sections are just indented differently on the menu).

We had the following:

Spring Rolls with peanut sauce: There were two spring rolls each about 6 inches long and these were then sliced in four pieces for easy eating with fingers. The rolls are tightly wrapped so they do not fall apart if you bite into one. The peanut sauce is fantastic with a bit of spice to it. There were shrimp and a bit of meat (pork?) along with rice and a couple of greens (leafy type stuff). I'd recommend this dish.

The second item we had was the Hot and Sour soup. We got one order of this and they brought it to the table already served in two bowls. This was the spicest dish of the meal and the soup was served hot. There were vegatables mixed through the soup (mostly squash). The vegies weren't overcooked and squished, they still had some firmness to them which I thought was very good. Another good dish if you like hot and spicy soups.

The final two items we had were the Shaking Beef (a signature dish) and Onion Glazed Shrimp. These were brought to the table at the same time. The Shaking Beef is filet migion cut into cubes and cooked rare. It just melts in your mouth. This comes with a lemon peper dipping sauce which in small quantities is good but too much can make the meat seem a bit tart. The Shrimp was very delightful with the onion glaze on it and various small strips of onion on the dish. It came on a leaf of lettuce which was damp and wilted (from the onion glaze it looked like). I didn't eat the lettuce. The onions added a nice flavor to the shrimp and the glaze was a bit sweet which was nice after the tartness of the lemon dip used with the beef dish. The Shaking Beef is a must have if you are a carnivore and the Onion Glazed Shrimp is also very well done.

The wine list is fairly small, about 40 selections or so. Pricing seemed fair to me without the huge markups typical of most restaurants. The list is heavily weighted toward whites as that is what will go best with most of the food (which typically has some spicyness). We had a bottle of 2001 J. & H.A. Strub Niersteiner Brucken Riesling Kabinett. This had 9.5% Alc which seems high for a Kabinett to me. There was a fair amount of sweetness in the wine which nicely offset the spicyness of the food. Cost was $29 with a half bottle available for $17.

The beer list on the other hand is fairly large and has several Belgian and Belgain style beers on it (along with other regional favorites like Anchor Steam and Sierra Neveda). If you like Belgian beers this is a good place to stop.

Service was a bit slow at first but picked up. The courses were nicely spaced and it didn't seem like they were in a hurry to get rid of us (although it started to fill up once the game was over).

Overall I'd recommend The Slanted Door to someone who wants to try some sophisticated southeast Asian cuisine. If you go make sure you get the Shaking Beef.
to gusbo,
don't bother with charles, unless it's nob hill crowd you are dying to dine with.food is good,but it's not rons cooking.they do take out, though. 5th floor is not a contender either. head straight to danko's, the food is as close to perfect as can be and NO, IT DOESN'T REMIND OF PARIS., thank god. it is a SanFran experience, totally.(i like when people compare everything to paris or tuscany, as you can tell, but thats anoter topic entirely) enjoy, but watch out when order by glass, i caught bartender subing champagnes- nv for v. good luck.
cave girl -

I have been, and in short - GO!!! You will not be disappointed. The food is good. Not stellar, not close to the best dining in SF, but darn good, and surprisingly so for a venue such as this. The wine list is short, but it’s got some great choices (such as Pine Ridge Dijon Clones Chard) – Wine prices are a little high, but shy of uncomfortable.

But the show….is….Awesome.

Good food, good wine, GREAT show. Don’t miss it.
Skwid, thanks for your comments regarding the Slanted Door. Your recommendation of the Shaking Beef is much appreciated. Also agree that the dipping sauce is too tart and has to used lightly. Very nice dish overall.

The spring rolls were decent. They were tightly wrapped - not an easy task if you've tried to make it at home. However, as my wife pointed out, they were made well ahead of time because the rice paper wrapping was hard and brittle. Also the meat inside (thin slices of pork) were dull and washed out. We also thought the peanut sauce was dominated by peanuts and not as good as a typical fish sauce dip.

The grapefruit and jicama salad with candied walnuts was fantastic. The combination of the jicama, carrot shavings and red cabbage in the light sauce (fish sauce with a little balsamic vinegar?) plus the candied walnuts was a great refreshing combination.

The rice noodles stir-fried chicken, shiitake mushrooms, carrots and egg dish with chicken, recommended by the waiter, tasted like pad thai noodles. The rice noodles were a little clumpy, again reflecting that the rice noodles were made well ahead of time. Decent dish, but so-so by southeast asian standards.

The deserts, $6 each, all looked good and the combination desert that we shared was very good.

The tea (the waiter recommended an oolong tea) for $6 was a joke. Way too bitter and $6 for a pot of tea? Even at dim sum restaurants, the only other asian restaurants that you even pay for tea, only charges the cost of the cheapest dish (usually about $1.80) and I usually specify chrysanthemum tea.

If you frequenty Vietnamese restaurants, you will be disappointed in the typical Vietnamese dishes because the spring rolls, pho, noodle dishes are not as good as your typical hole in the wall (at half the price).

Kind of reminds me of Barbara Tropp's restaurant, where the fushion dishes were okay, but the chinese dishes were dismal at twice the price of regular chinese restaurants.

Overall, it is a fun place and I would highly recommend the fusion type dishes.
To grunhauser -- Perhaps in my excitement about Gary Danko I failed to convey my feelings clearly.

Gary Danko is not a French restaurant; I did not mean to imply that. However, the overall dining experience (atmosphere, quality of food, level of service) for me was equal to what I frequently enjoyed when living in Europe. There are not many restuarants in San Francisco that reach that level.

San Francisco is so many different things to different people. To me, Gary Danko is way above average, and is not a typical San Francisco experience. When east coast friends and relatives came to visit me this year looking for a taste of what it's like to live here, I took them to Boulevard. Restaurants such as Boulevard, Bix, Delfina, or Rose Pistola evoke a stronger sense of San Francisco for me, along with neighborhood stalwarts like Ebisu, The Elite Cafe, Golden Deer, and Old Shanghai.

I am sorry to stray off-topic here, but I just wanted to say I agree with grunhauser that Gary Danko is not like Paris or Tuscany, and to clarify my earlier post.
Skwid-
Thanks for the heads up on Fifth Floor.
Very good service, there when you needed them, no rush, quite nice.
The decor and food were made for each other [Wink] .
All appetizers were great, for the main course we had two great(duck and fish), one good(venison) and a looser, a lukewarm fish(bass?) topped with cold oystiers.
Dessert was a winner as was the cheese plate I had with half a dozen different kinds on it.
Wine list wasn't bad either, had a bottle of Frederic Emile '97 ~$60-65 and a '99 red Burgundy by Bouchard Pere&Fils for about the same price.

Could not get reservation at Gary Danko on about a 5-6 day advance request. Maybe next time I should plan ahead.
Gfleener, much appreciated. I took a peak at this thread before I posted and got some good ideas. However, I'm not an expert on San Fran so it's tough for me to tell what's near Nob Hill and Union Square. Just curious to see if anyone knew of any great restaurants near the hotels I named.

Oh well -- still makes for great reading!
kimber:

not sure when you're going, but we just got back from a long weekend. i obtained jones' recommendations and one was indeed the fifth floor, which he indicated was located in the tenderloin (not the nicest area if you venture toward 6th), south of market. it's roughly at 4th just south of market in the palomar hotel. i agree that it's great food. i had the chef's specialty on jones' recommendation, which is poached pork belly with black truffle sauce paired with a red burgundy. the sommelier there was quite helpful since my knowledge of red burgundy was less than complete to say the least!! have fun!

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