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I went to Jeanty at Jack's for the first time last night. The restaurant is located on Sacramento above Montgomery. Parking is available next to the restaurant for $10.

The restaurant presents as a casual Parisian Bistro. Jeanty cleaned up the interior of the restaurant however it still reminds me of how the prior Jack's appeared after it was remodeled in 1996. Service was somewhat slow.

Some tables are so close together that it is impossible not to hear snippets of conversation from other diners. In fact in the middle of the meal, a diner from another table across from me answered a question I asked of my dinner companion. Dining on the second floor of the restaurant is recommended to avoid this problem.

While the food is for the most part upscale bistro fare, the prices are more in line with a higher level of cuisine. Dinner for two (two courses and a shared single cheese course) with a $88 bottle of wine and tap water came to $198.

The food was well executed and enjoyable. Sweetbreads and rabbit with truffle oil was excellent although the portion was small ($24). A single cheese course of L'epoisse ($9) was excellent. The cheese was very mature - a bit of a risk on Jeanty's part since Americans for the most part still prefer cheese to be less than optimally mature. Escargot was served still in their shells ($12) and were well prepared. Steak tartare ($16) was enjoyable but is really better suited as a first course as opposed to an entree. Seasonal salads were forgettable for the most part.

The wine list is priced favorably and includes a large and varied selection ranging from cheap Cotes du Rhone to three mature Domaine de la Romanee Conti Red Burgundies. A number of rarities were available on the list at reasonable prices.

Overall an enjoyable experience. Not a value (for a little more one can obtain a much higher level of cuisine), but the restaurant delivers on what it promises.
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Good write up Jones. Haven't been there yet, but have been to Bistro Jeanty in Yountville. Recently went to Acme Chop House at Pacbell park, before a giants game. Started with Steak Tartare (amazing how this is coming back) very good. Went on to warm spinach salad, and finished with the new york steak and the scalloped potatoes. All very well prepared. Not cheap, since all the sides are extra (like all steak houses). We brought some great wines. Started with a Chambolle Musigny, then a '94 Pichon Lalande, '90 Pavie, '90 Ridge Lytton Zin and finished with an '82 Ch. du Tertre. The Pavie won the night. They were great and didn't charge corkage (we did give a glass of each to the Gen. manager and the chef. And the Giants won! What can be better?
Have been there a couple times--both on the top floor, which is less confining than the mezz and the 2nd floor. I rather prefer the rustic, back room ambience of Yountville, but I would also recommend the top of floor of the Jack's location.

The "Crab Caesar" is a bit of a puzzle, and not sure if it will surivive. The boneless pig feet seemed less seasoned than at Yountville, but still quite tasty. The rabbit/sweetbreads were bathed in a spicy thyme-based sauce, and the monkfish in a bouillabaise broth was as good as the one in YV.

On both occasions their dramatic crepe was a bit too dry, and we mentioned it to the server.

We ordered a couple of the Crus Beaujolais, and at the price they were quite complimentary to the food.

The place will be quite popular, and it's satisfying to see Phillipe succeed after being dumped by Dom Chandon several years ago.

I went to Osteria for dinner tonight. Osteria is a fairly small neighborhood italian restaurant located in Pacific Heights at the border of Presidio Heights (corner of Presidio and Sacramento). Street parking is all that is available and it is generally difficult but not impossible.

The restaurant presents as a single room holding approximately 40 people. While from the street the restaurent looks fairly non-descript, the interior is well lit and inviting in a clean modern Tuscan style. Most of the patrons are older monied residents of the area.

The wine list while quite limited is very reasonably priced. Corkage is $10 per bottle.

Courses are very reasonably priced for this part of the City. Artichoke hearts and shrimp in a basil dressing ($8) is surprisingly enjoyable with clean fresh and direct flavors that exemplify italian cuisine. Classic french cuisine makes an unusual appearance as sole meuniere ($15). The sole was generously portioned and the sauce was balanced and not cloying (as it often can be). Veal tortellini was freshly made and the sauce was much more authentically italian then one generally fins in the states. Again, it was reasonably priced at $12.

For three with tap water and bringing one bottle of wine in the cost was only $97 after tip. Extremely reasonable for Pacific Heights. Service was efficient and friendly. Three glasses of Graham's Six Grapes Port were provided at the end of the meal on the house.

The restaurant is exactly what one looks for in a quality high level neighborhood restaurant. Its reasonable prices only make it more attractive. Recommended.

[ 05-02-2002, 10:19 PM: Message edited by: JonesWineNo1 ]
Jones, good to see your posts on SF restaurants, especially neighborhood ones. Ate at Florio's in the Fillmore district since one of the part owners, Barnaby Conrad, mentioned it - fun place, good food. We have two relatively new neighborhood restaurants in Danville - 301 Bitro and La Salamandre. Both are excellent, although only had a preset brunch at the latter. At the former, my wife had ostrich, my friend from Italy had venison and I had the rack of lamb. They said that you have to eat the ostrich rare or medium rare and match wines like you are eating beef. All three were outstanding. Total bill including tip was $181 for 3 including a $50 bottle of wine.
I am a huge fan of ostrich and I don't understand why it is not more readily available at restaurants. I have heard good things from friends in the East Bay about La Salamandre.

I am looking forward to tomorrow's dining impression at Julia - Julia McClaskey's, late of Dine, new restaurant in lower Pacific Heights (if you live nearby) or Western Addition/Japantown (if you don't). The restaurant just opened yesterday and I loved her cuisine at Dine so I have high expectations.
I went to Julia last night. Overall, I think the restaurant is doing a fine job especially in light of the fact that it has only been operating for a few days.

The place was packed and unfortunately we did not sit down for dinner until 30 minutes after our scheduled reservation. Valet parking is available and only costs $7. The interior of the restaurant is either "eclectic" if you like it or "jumbled" if you don't. Lots of competing themes are present in the decor from a touch of French boudoir to Americana to nautical. The restaurant is a little dark and tables could use added illumination. Tables also need to be rearranged to better take into account the staff's work pattern. Clientele has more than its fair share of "Sex and the City" types. The noise level was loud but that is to be expected on a Friday night.

Service was friendly. Some courses came out from the kitchen in staggered order - a problem that will probably resolve in time. A request for a menu substitution was handled well.

The wine list had some interesting selections but is priced unattractively. Wine brought in to the restaurant was handled well. Corkage is a reasonable $15. Wine glasses however need work. The bowls are much to small for fine wine.

The cuisine however was both exceptional and very reasonably priced. For 4 with $30 for corkage, tap water, two courses per person, tax, and a generous tip, the tab came to $190. A great value indeed.

A starter of seared chicken liver with bitter greens, bacon (Hobbs?), and warmed marinated grapes was a perfect blending of tastes and textures. Priced at $6 it was the bargain of the night. Thin asparagus served with brioche pudding and braised pork belly ($9) also showed the kitchen's skill with non standard meats. Creamed cauliflower soup served with one seared day boat scallop ($6.50) was exceptionally pure and not at all heavy.

Main courses continued to impress. Braised short ribs in Chipotle sauce served with mashed potatoes and marinated slaw shows how good properly executed comfort food can be. At $20 it is is a bargain for the quality. Portion size was very generous. The grilled ribeye ($25) was a good piece of beef but needed salt. The only disappointment of the evening came from a slightly over cooked (served medium rather than rare) tuna served with a black olive tapenade ($21). Not bad but it paled in comparison to the other dishes.

I was impressed with the food and prices of the restaurant. Highly recommended.
I went to Sociale for dinner for the fourth or so time last night. Since the place opened last year, it has really improved. I recommend it as a moderately high end neighborhood restaurant. The only real problem with the place is that it is so popular that unless you have reservations you can't just drop in and get a table unless it is early in the evening.

Sociale is located on Sacramento in the middle of Presidio Heights. It is situated in the middle of a courtyard and therefore there is little to no traffic/city noise. It reminds me as more of a Berkeley restaurant than San Francisco. Parking is street only and is not that difficult on a relative basis.

Service is friendly and if anything over attentive. The wine list includes approximately 75 bottle with reasonable markups. The list is weighted toward unusual California bottlings and Italian selections.

Overall cost of the restaurant is pretty good. For two with tap water, two courses, espresso and a $33 half bottle of Barolo the cost was $130. Starters included quite authentic flash fried baby artichokes for $7.95 and a lobster canneloni in yellow tomato sauce for $10. Recommended main courses include lamb chops (two double chops appropriately served blood rare) with spring onion risotto ($20) and classic chicken under brick ($15). Roasted Halibut in red wine vinegar sauce ($19) shows the kitchen's skill with a preparation that can easily be off.

Overall, this wine continues to show improvement and can now be recommended without reservation.
$30 per is a great price for that wine.

Julia is at the corner of Sutter and Steiner. Reservations are a must. The top of Nob Hill is about 15 blocks away.

If you are staying in Nob Hill and you want a top of the line dining experience while staying in Nob Hill then I strongly recommend Charles Nob Hill at the corner of Jones and Clay. Reservations are basically essential.
Board-o Fringale is very nice but isn't quite what is was. Still pretty good though. I've been to Plumpjack for lunch and it is nice, I have never been for dinner. If you purchase a bottle of wine at the Plumpjack wineshop there is no corkage fee.

JW1, is Julia in the old Tre Fratelli spot?

Mountainman, there is a "where san francisco" at:;f=5;t=000091

Several folks posted to this (including JW1 and myself) with suggestions.
Fringale offers honest french cuisine. I have not been there in awhile because of its location.

Plumpjack Cafe is a regular stop for me. The wine list is outstanding and many wines are offered at retail. The new chef is doing well but I enjoyed Keith Luce cuisine more. Luce has opened a fairly new small italian restaurant called Merenda on Union Street. I recommend that restuarant as well (although the wine list is marginal - they promise to improve it soon).

Mountainman. I didn't purchase the Neyers that evening (I brought in a 99 Ode to Picasso). However Neyers Syrah has never disappointed me and I buy it every year without hesitation.
Went to Jeanty's @ Jacks for Lunch today (but didn't go back to work). We ate at the bar as that was the quickest way to get a table and we had no reservation. I had a tomoato soup with puff pasty covering. The pastry was very good, light a tasty. One problem was getting through it for the first cut to open things up. The bowl was very hot. I should have been given a knife. For the main course I had the beef stew which was fantastic. The beef was very tender and ready to just fall apart. The peas and carrots were not overdone and the mashed potatos were nice and smooth (I don't like them lumpy). Better than moms (and stew was something should could cook pretty darn good). I'd give Jeanty @ Jacks a thumbs up and will probably try it for dinner sometime.
Had dinner at the Village Pub in Woodside, CA last night and had a great meal. Started with 1995 Veuve Cliquot Champagne, very nice, but not great. I started with Sweetbreads and a poached egg over pea shoots with lardons, wonderful. Mrs. G. started with a beet and morel salad also great. Then I went on to the Quail and porcini mushrooms, great and Mrs. had the Black Sea Bass with favas. Washed this all down with a 99 Pommard from Dom. Monthelie, nice but very young and not showing much fruit at this point. Dessert was a chocolate pot de creme. Overall very good meal, but expensive. Will return. This weekend, heading up to Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, can't wait.

[Big Grin]
Well, was up in Healdsburg this last weekend and ate at Dry Creek Kitchen. This is the new Charlie Palmer place in the new hotel on the plaza. Have to say was underwhelmed. The restaurant itself is beautiful, but noisy. The wine list is very nice, but all Sonoma wines. They have some Marcassin and Kistlers at very high prices (as one would expect). Had a glass of some Sparkling Wine which is made for them, and this is where I wish they had Champagne. Nothing beats French Champagne. Started with seared sea scallop with caviar and then had a trio of soups, only one of which was very good. Then I had the Soft shelled crab with pea shoots. All very nice, but not what I expected of this restaurants' already high reputation. Service is very good and attentive. Then at the end of the meal find out I can't have a Calvados, since they don't have a liquor license. The big beautiful bar is full of wine bottles! Won't return soon.
I went to Charles Nob Hill last night. The restaurant was about half full. Charles is located at the corner of Clay and Jones in Nob Hill. Charles is a small restaurant consisting of two rooms. The front room is smaller and seats about 20. The back room seats 30 or so and is decorated in more somber tones than the front room. I prefer dining in the back room.

Valet parking is available and is a must ($8). Corkage is $25 (and the restaurant does not waive the fee if one buys a bottle off of the list - I am really not a fan of that practice). The wine list lots of rare finds and is not any more over priced the other restaurants of this level (for example, it is much cheaper then Danko's which imo is obscene). More half bottles especially of whites is needed however.

The nine course tasting menu is recommended if one has the time. Cost is $100 and worth it. Each diner gets a different course thus for a table of two you get 18 courses. Since it was a school night, we ordered a la carte. Main course prices have been reduced. Most entrees ar now between $28 and $32. Appetizers are mainly in the $15 to $20 range.

Amuse bouche was a (served way too hot) demitasse of very rich porcini mushroom and lobster broth. Cream of white asparagus with purple aspargus and parmegiano reggiano shavings was executed extremely well ($10). Getting to taste more than a half spoonful was impossible thus my companion thought the soup was excellent as well. I started with butter poached lobster in an english pea emulsion ($20). The lobster was perfection and further solidifies my feelings that the best way to prepare and serve lobster is via butter poaching. A main course of tuna and puy lentils was hearty and perfectly prepared ($32) but lacked a little excitement especially when compared to the other main course - Lamb. The lamb ($40) came to the table prepred in four ways - pasta was stuffed with braised lamb and truffles, two baby lamb chops were perched on arugula, tenderloin, and a tbone. Simply magnificent and it is tough to imagine a better lamb course that I have had recently.

Cheese plate was well done at reasonable at $12. Three cheeses came with individual accompaniements to highlight aspects of the cheese. Humboldt Fog (a great cheese but in danger of becoming almost cliche), red hawk, and magnum were what was available last evening. I

Overall, a fantastic dining experience in a elegant room where one can actually hear themselves think. Highly recommended.

[ 05-31-2002, 01:41 PM: Message edited by: JonesWineNo1 ]
I dined at Chez Spencer last night. Chez Spencer opened two weeks ago in the original location of Citizen Cake on 14th at Folsom. Laurent Katgely, late of Foreign Cinema and Alfy's, is the chef/owner.

The building was originally an auto repair shop. Despite its humble origins, I really like the space. 30 foot high ceilings. Modern yet surprisingly comfortable furniture. The restaurant concept takes open air kitchens to the extreme with a large pizza oven placed literally in the middle of the space. As a result, diners are interspersed with the kitchen throughout the space.

Prices range from between 10 to 16 for appetizers and 19 to 27 for entrees. The restaurant has no liquor license so at present it is byob with no corkage being charged. Seared foie gras with an apricot tart was an excellent well balanced starter. Lobster with avocado was bland and skimpy. I loved the classic french salad of greens, poached eggs, and lardon. White asparagus with black truffles needed more black truffles.

Entrees consisted of a very generous portion of rack of lamb coupled with potato pave and wild greens. A great dish indeed. Wood oven roasted squab with morels came to the table over sauced and the morels were reconstituted dried morels - a no no in my book consiodering the cost ($27) of the entree. Wild mushroom risotto was nothing special. Filet mignon came out undersauced, under seasoned, and on lentils. The combination did not work well.

Overall, I enjoyed the restaurant although it did not blow me away. I plan on returning but am in no rush to do so. 85 points.

[ 06-19-2002, 02:27 PM: Message edited by: JonesWineNo1 ]

read the last two in this thread:

"Charles Nob Hill: Corkage is $25 (and the restaurant does not waive the fee if one buys a bottle off of the list."

"Chez Spencer: entrees. The restaurant has no liquor license so at present it is byob with no corkage being charged."

Looks as if Charles is really 'corkscrewing' his patrons. that is about the highest fee I have seen, for a resturant where you buy their marked up wines.

Board-O found one here that only charges $15 for a bottle that you buy at the wine shop attached, but no corkage for one off the list.

Thanks for the reviews. Very detailed and entertaining.

PS: Going out on a school night?? Did anyone have filled diapers?? [Big Grin] Was Shanew with you? [Wink]
I'm driving down to Napa today or tomorrow. I'll be there until July 1st. I'm bringing my clubs and I plan on playing at the Olympic with some friends of mine from Berkekley. I'm going to see what I can do about getting in to the French Laundry, but its going to be hard with such short notice. People do cancel their reservations however, and being on waiting lists has gotten me in to many nice restaurants on short notice.

Jones, thats too bad about the dried morels. This time of year they are very plentiful. I can get fresh morels for less than $10 a pound and fresh porcini's for $10 a pound.
I lunched at Jeanty at Jack's today. The restaurant has improved since it opened and is doing a substantially better job then before. Service was excellent. The steak tartare that at dinner seems a little much makes a perfect lunch. I would suggest however that they substitute a raw quail's egg for the chicken egg they are currently using. The chopped filet was perfectly seasoned and paired well with the spiral cone of parslied fries that came along side the tartare. a very well excecuted bistro dish well priced for the quantity and quality of ingredients at $16. A double pork chop with potatoes was a touch over cooked but was also substantial and fairly priced at $17. Because of its location, the restaurant is a better venue for lunch then dinner but overall it is restaurant worthy of repeat business. 89 points.
We will be in Bay Area/Napa the week of Aug. 10-17 and will visit a lawyer friend, perhaps others. While his firm's main office is downtown, he has an office in Marin County that he spends considerable time at as well. Any local recommendations for dining there or are the best places in downtown SF?


[ 06-20-2002, 10:30 PM: Message edited by: dr.tannin aka x-man ]
In Marin County in Larkspur, there are multiple options. If you want to go to one of the strangest yet best executed restaurants I can imagine go to Roxanne's. A fantastic wine list is available to go along with the "raw food" (cooked by sunlight etc.) Charlie Trotter is a fan of the cuisine.

Bradley Ogden's Yankee Pier is close by and is really an excellent well priced restaurant. It is Bradly Ogden's take on an upscale east coast seafood shack.

A few doors down from Yankee Pier is Bradley Ogden's flagship restaurant - The Lark Creek Inn. Superbly executed California-American cuisine. A very nice wine list including well priced rarities like 1997 Marcassin Estate Pinot Noir for $200.

My favorites restaurant in Marin County is way out in Inverness. It is worth the 20 mile drive however. Inverness is right on Tomales Bay. In Inverness, there is an old turn of the century hunting lodge called Manka's Inverness Lodge. The restaurant is open to the public. The sommelier has great wines - I mean really great wines - at reasonable prices. The food comes from only local purveyors. Five course fixed price meal. No menu you get what they are cooking that evening (a la Chez Panisse). Every dinner I have had there has been great. Ask to be seated at the Chef's table. The Chef's table is for eight and usually is filled by multiple groups of diners as opposed to a single large party. More of a tasting menu is served at the Chef's table.

For casual dining, Sam's is great to kick back at and enjoy the water.

Left Bank Larkspur is also worth a stop. It is my favorite location for Left Bank.
Chapeau in San Francisco was great! It is owned by a true food and wine lover who ran out to the street to help us park, poured us champagne while we were waiting for our table, and gave us extra wines and deserts. I haven't seen too many restaurants with this owner's attention to detail. I had the King salmon appetizer and the rack of lamb. both were excellent. Phillip, the owner also owns a wine shop and sells some the wine in the restaurant at close to net prices. The food prices are also very reasonable.
Mr. Jones: Most of my Manka's exoeriences are
from the late 70s to early 80s. Has there been a
change in ownership? They really nose-dived in the
time period above, and I recall something about the owners' son trying to take over......In the
early 70s, it was about as great a place could
be to spend a romantic evening. If it has made
a tangible come back, boy, I'll head on over there
next time I'm in the states.
And, Chapeau is indeed wonderful!
I did not experience Manka's back then but I do believe ownership of the lodge changed hands quite some time ago.

In any event, I dined at Masa's last evening. The six of us had early reservations (6 p.m.) so that we could make it to the theater. Despite the time pressure, the staff did an admirable job of coordinating the six course tasting menu. For example, when we did not have time for post dessert candies and petit fours, they packed them for us in deep blue chinese carry out boxes so that we could enjoy them during intermission. Overall, the service was excellent and it seemed that at least four people waited on our table throughout the evening. Special accolades should go to the bartender. He is one of the best in the City and provides virtually perfect seamless service every time.

The 2001 redesign of Masa's has done wonders for the space. The wine cellar seats 12 while the main dining room seats 65 (the main dining room can be taken over for private parties). Chocolate brown walls are adorned with subdued modern art. Royal Doulton china, Christofle flatware, and for our table at least Riedel stemware. Overall, the interior of the restaurant comes off as "classically modern".

Wines of the evening were 1997 Leroy Montagny Premier Cru (by the glass $18), 2000 Flower Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($85), 1997 Fonsalette Cuvee Syrah ($78), and a sparkling muscat dessert wine from Italy (gratis). My only complaint about the wine service was the assistant sommelier pouring himself a small glass of every wine ordered prior to presenting it for tasting. I hate this practice.

Three of the six of us opted for the six course tasting menu (not enough time for the nine course although from past experience that is the best thing to order while at Masa's). The other three ordered the three course tasting menu (i.e. a la carte). Two separate amuse bouches were served to all of us. The members of the party who did not order the six course menu ended up getting one anyway. The chef sent out different courses for the three so that they would have something in front of them while the rest of us were enjoying the additional courses. The six course was $79. As a result, dinner ended up consisting of eight courses plus the afore mentioned take out containers for intermission at the theater.

The first amuse bouche was a perfectly clear essence of asparagus. The peppery aspects of this grass was highlighted by this presentation. The second amuse bouche was a single Santa Barbara dayboat prawn served on top of pepper confit and chive oil - the perfect expression of summer. The first course on the tasting menu was raw wild line caught Copper River salmon with avocado and white truffle oil. Ron Siegel, the chef at Masa's (and one of the few to win the Iron Chef competition in Japan) shows his affinity for asian techiniques with this dish. The salmon showed pure clean flavors that can only come from the most fresh fish. A spectacular yet restrained first course.

The second course was the now almost cliche poached lobster (but it is so good I don't really care that it can be found on many menus) served with corn pudding and english peas. A beautifully rendered dish that recalls Siegel's stints at the French Laundry and Daniel. It matched perfectly with the Flowers. Third course was a breast of squab served with squab liver mousse and bacon jerky. Slightly whimisical but the depth of flavor was surprising. At this time I also tried an asian inspired dish of slightly steamed tuna belly (the plate actually incorporated a small steamer - another nod to the orient) with huge (at least three inches long) slices of black truffle. Another freebie dish was a cold octopus and chanterelle salad that was an amusing play on traditional "surf and turf".

The fourth course coupled a new york steak that had been cut very thick to appear like filet. The meat was topped with an entire roasted bone marrow that ran the length of the steak. The bone marrow was divine even though I knew that every bite meant another 15 minutes on the treadmill. At this time, I also sampled one of the best duck dishes I have had in a long time. Duck breast was shredded to resemble confetti along with cepes and a reduced duck stock. The plate looked so much better than the typical fanning of thin duck slices. The fifth course was blueberry sorbet and mascarpone cream - this worked well as a palate cleanser. The final course was an ethereal chocolate cake. The cheese cart was well stocked with some unusual cheeses including a natural blue cheese from France that came from a small producer who only owns six cows. The tatse of naturally occuring blue versus the more typical artificially induced was quite surprising.

Overall, the experience was very fine. Masa's has again rejoined its place as one of the best restaurants in the country. Siegel (34 years old) does not get the credit he is due - I would love for him to produce a cookbook. 95 points.

[ 06-26-2002, 12:31 PM: Message edited by: JonesWineNo1 ]

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